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Enterprise Smartphones Gain, Tablets Wane

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Business users are flocked to Apple’s new iPhone 7 in the third quarter (Q3) of 2016, but the same can’t be said for tablets.

Business smartphone shipments surged to 112.2 million units in Q3, a 19.4 percent year-over-year increase. A healthy appetite for smartphones in select regions and Apple latest iPhone released helped the market notch those impressive gains, said Strategy Analytics senior analyst Gina Luk.

“Business smartphone growth improved due to a strong uptake among business users in APAC and the Middle East and Africa, combined with the launch of the Apple iPhone 7,” noted Luk in a statement. Other vendors didn’t fare as well, however.

“Android and iOS devices collectively claimed over 99.5 percent of worldwide business use smartphone shipments in Q3 2016, as Windows 10 smartphone shipments continued to slump and Blackberry announced its exit from manufacturing its own smartphones,” Luk added.

Meanwhile, the market for business tablets is shrinking.

Vendors shipped just 16.8 million tablets in Q3, a drop of nearly 13 percent compared to the 19.3 million tablets shipped during the same year-ago quarter. Describing the situation as “disappointing,” Andrew Brown, executive director of Enterprise Research at Strategy Analytics, observed that both iOS and Android took a hit. “While Apple and Samsung continued to lead the business tablet market, iOS shipments plummeted 20.4 percent [year-over-year], while Android business tablet shipments fell 14.1 percent.”

Although Windows is barely a blip on the smartphone radar, the operating system is making big inroads in the enterprise tablet space. Windows tablet shipments jumped 10.8 percent in Q3 on a year-over-year basis.

“Windows share continues to improve as more models are launched by traditional PC vendors,” Brown said. “While some of this is cannibalization of the traditional business notebook market, it also shows that in business environments, other vendors are struggling to make stronger inroads into Windows-dominated client environments.”

Paired with the tablet-friendly Windows 10 operating system, devices like Microsoft’s own Surface Pro and HP’s sleek Spectre x2 are blurring the lines between tablets and full-blown Windows PCs.

“Windows 10 has given vendors the power to position Tablets against PCs and given consumers the flexibility to do much of their daily activities on a 2-in-1 device,” blogged senior analyst Eric Smith recently. “For prosumers and enterprise users, processors for tablets have become incredibly powerful and enable high-end tablets to compete head-to-head with many traditional PCs.”

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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