Recently released Canalys (www.canalys.com) estimates show that 1.74 billion smart phones, tablets, two-in-ones and notebooks shipped in 2015, a year-on-year increase of 5%. Growth was driven by two-in-ones and smart phones, while tablets and notebooks declined. Microsoft has taken the biggest hit from the pivotal shift to mobility. Its share of the total mobility market was just 12%, against Alphabet at 70% and Apple at 17%.
Shipments of mobility products running Linux-based operating systems increased by over 200%, albeit from a small base, notes the research group. This was primarily driven by YunOS shipments, which became the third largest smart phone platform in China in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The industry is also grappling with other shifts in dynamics, according to Canalys analyst Wilmer Ang. Android grew only 6% as tablets went into a decline, denting the 10% growth from its smart phones alone, which was driven by Alphabet’s vast base of original design manufacturers. Conversely, despite Apple also suffering heavy declines in tablets, iOS grew 10% and OS X notebooks 7%.
“The tablet market declined throughout 2015 as replacement cycles lengthened. Tablet vendors need to get people excited about the category once again. A good start would be to make these products more versatile. Apple is now emphasizing productivity on tablets, an area where Microsoft arguably leads and Android trails,’ says Tim Coulling, Canalys senior analyst. “Apple is off to a good start with the iPad Pro, which outsold Microsoft’s Surface in quarter four. There is work to be done to maintain this momentum, and numerous trade-offs must be made when trying to use the iPad Pro as a notebook replacement, which Microsoft’s Surface undoubtedly is.”