Was it just a few years ago when netbook manufacturers saw their sales plummeting while tablets were becoming more and more a productivity and leisure necessity? Now the tables have turned, sort of. Data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker have forecasted that by the end of 2015, tablet sales will be down 8% compared to last year’s figures. What they are predicting is that the demand will shift to detachable tablets that will be used more for productivity.

Based on three consecutive quarters where tablet shipments have continuously gone down, the forecast is that by the end of 2015, there will be 211.3 million units shipped, which is down -8.1% from 2014. According to IDC research director for Tablets, Jean Philippe Bouchard, what is driving this switch is the “proliferation of detachable offerings from hardware vendors.” We are seeing more and more of these detachables challenging market leaders, and the three major platforms (Apple, Google, Microsoft) offering physical products in this vein as well.

The IDC is looking at detachables to almost double in size by next year, with an expected 75% growth compared to 2015, just when devices were starting to be introduced in the market. Senior Research Analyst Jitesh Urbani said that this trend will also bring about the reemergence of Windows and a turnaround (for the good probably) for the iPad device line.

What impact this will have on the Android platform still remains to be seen. We have not seen that many detachable devices on this platform, but you can bet that OEMs are paying close attention, especially if they are feeling the effect of the declining tablet sales on their bottom line.