This week, VDC published the results of its quarterly device tracker, which follows both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year numbers for major OEMs both globally and by region.
Notebooks lag behind other form factors
The rugged market – including notebooks, tablets, handheld computers and forklift terminals – reached $4.1bn in 2013, a 6.1% year-on-year decline from a total of $4.3bn in revenues from 2012. Excluding notebooks the market increased by 1% over 2012. The strongest performing category was rugged tablets which grew by 22% year over year. The impact of consumer-grade smartphones and tablets being used in an enterprise setting continues to make itself felt on a global level, particularly among field mobile workers and for customer-facing applications.
Q4 continues the upward trend
Performance in Q4 2013 built on the improvements in market conditions we began to witness during the second half of 2013. During Q4 2014, year over year rugged mobile vendor revenues declined by 1%. Excluding rugged notebooks, the market grew by 4.2%. Performance during Q4 2013 was lead by the rugged tablet and forklift segments which grew by 31.6% and 13.1% respectively.
“The rugged mobile market is expected to continue to stabilize in 2014 and provide moderate to strong growth opportunities. We expect a stronger retail segment and improvements to investments in North America, which has recently lagged EMEA in performance,” states Kathryn Nassberg, an analyst for VDC. Continued strength in the rugged tablet segment, improved support and availability of rugged Android handheld and tablet offerings along with first generation rugged handheld Windows Embedded Handheld 8.1 will fuel much of the 2014 opportunities However, headwinds and downside risk clearly still exist, especially in the form of adoption of lower cost consumer mobile devices and overall access to capital.