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Cell-Connected Tablets a Bright Spot in a Slowing Market

Tablets and 2-in-1 devices that use cellular connectivity are a bright spot amid declining tablet and 2-in-1 shipments, according to new research from IDC. Worldwide shipments of tablets and 2-in-1 devices will decline 3.8 percent year-over-year (YoY) in 2015, totaling 221.8 million units, according to the latest IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Tablet and 2-in-1 device sales have declined for two consecutive quarters, prompting IDC to lower its 2015 forecast modestly, the market researcher explains in a press release.

Nonetheless, sales of tablets and 2-in-1 devices with cell service connections are growing, an encouraging trend for mobile broadband providers. Commented IDC Research Director, Tablets Jean Philippe Bouchard: "Those cellular-connected devices fill multiple needs for vendors and carriers around the world; they offer a quick solution to price and margin erosion, and when compared to smartphones, they offer a less expensive way for carriers to increase their subscriber base."

Tablets and 2-in-1 devices with cell service connections represent only a small portion of the overall market at present, but IDC expects that will grow through 2015 and beyond. The market researcher forecasts the market for cell-connected tablets will expand at a 5.6 percent five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Growth in sales of Wi-Fi-only devices, in contrast, will decline at a five-year CAGR of -0.4 percent.

"A transition around size of the displays has also begun to take its course, with the share of small-screen tablets expected to drop from 64% of the market in 2014 to 58% in 2015, and declining to just under 50% by 2019," commented Ryan Reith, program director for IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

"This illustrates the direct impact phablets are having on the market, as users with larger screen smartphones have tended to have less need for a tablet with a screen size comparable to their smartphone. This also has some impact on overall average selling prices (ASPs) as larger screen devices tend to cost more."

Chuck Harris leads the Alliance Development Team for NetAmerica Allaince whose mission it is to grow NetAmerica's 4G LTE footprint by working with wireless license holders across the U.S. interested in joining the NetAmerica Alliance to provide 4G LTE service to citizens in rural America.