​Tablets with wireless data plans expected to gain share, says IDC

The tablet market is still sucking wind, but devices with wireless data plans are expected to gain share.

Tablet sales are expected to struggle, but devices tethered to wireless data plans are expected to pick up share, according to IDC data.

IDC reports that global shipments of tablets and 2-in-1 devices are expected to hit 221.8 million in 2015, down 3.8 percent from a year ago.

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The tablet market, led by Apple's iPad, has been sucking wind for a few quarters due to lighter laptops and the popularity of large-screen smartphones, or phablets.

Also: Tablet shipments fall again in Q1: Netbooks the sequel?

IDC estimates that cellular-enabled tablets are expected to end 2015 with 33 percent market share, but wind up with 40 percent share in 2019.

Wi-Fi-only tablets---by far the most popular option today---will have 60 percent of the market in 2019, down from 67 percent in 2015.

Meanwhile, small screen tablet shipments are going to fall from 64 percent of the market in 2014 to 58 percent in 2015. Why? Phablets are eliminating the need for a small-screen tablet, according to IDC.

The bottom line here is that the tablet market is shifting. Cellular enabled tablet popularity may also indicate that the devices are becoming more of an enterprise device. Workers need tablets to be connected just like a smartphone would be in the field.

IDC has Windows gaining share through 2019, but iOS and Android will continue to dominate the market.

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