The 2-in-1 laptop tablet hybrid has become a mainstream category, which is good news for the PC category overall, says Asus regional director Portia Chang.

Speaking at the launch of the Asus T300 Chi – the company’s newest 2-in-1 Windows laptop – Chang said that 2-in-1 devices have “definitely become a mainstream category” in part because product engineers and designers have worked hard to create gadgets which meet all the needs of a busy, mobile professional.

Asus Chi T300
Asus T300 Chi

Chang said the Asus T300 Chi ticks all the boxes for the end users — it’s thinner, lighter, has longer battery life and is more affordable than earlier models. This, she said, is drawing users’ attention back to the PC category which is having a stabilising effect on the overall PC industry and renewing consumer confidence in the products.

In 2014, Asus had 14.5 per cent retail share in the mobile PC category which covers notebooks, including 2-in-1 and hybrid laptops. Chang is confident that the company can claim a solid number one position in 2-in-1 device market in Australia.

Chang also talked up the market success of the Asus Transformer Book T100 as one of the most successful hybrid devices brought to the Australian market, stating it sold 60,000 units in Australia in 2014. As well as building Asus’ mass retail share the product also widened its channel coverage into education and commercial sectors.

On a global level, according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker (Q3 2014), Asus holds the number one spot in the 2-in-1 detachable category.

Chang quoted research from Gartner which ranks Asus at 5th largest PC manufacturer globally with 7.3 per cent market share. Gartner also put Asus’ year-on-year growth at 16.9 per cent, making it the fastest-growing PC vendor in the top five.

Commenting on the report from Gartner, research director Ranjit Atwal states that tablet early adopters are now looking to hybrid devices in a replacement market.

“Consumer demand has also improved. We’ve witnessed lower notebook prices and promotional offers on two-in-one hybrid devices attracting buyers back. Many tablet early-adopters are considering a hybrid two-in-one product as a viable alternative to a replacement tablet,” Atwal said.

A separate report from Gartner also predicts that after a troubled year in 2014, the global demand for tablets will continue to be slow in 2015.

“The collapse of the tablet market in 2014 was alarming,” said Atwal. “In the last two years global sales of tablets were growing in double-digits. The steep drop can be explained by several factors. One is that the lifetime of tablets is being extended – they are shared out amongst family members and software upgrades, especially for iOS devices, keep the tablets current. Another factor includes the lack of innovation in hardware which refrains consumers from upgrading.”

Prefect for professionals
Professionals are the target market for Asus

Chang is confident Asus will remain dominant in the 2-in-1 PC category.

“Asus has led the market in 2-in-1 laptop devices since the category emerged,” said Chang, “The Transformer Book Chi T300 is a result of pairing our winning design with the latest technology, to create the thinnest, lightest and most powerful Transformer Book to date.”

“We’ve designed the Transformer Book Chi T300 as the perfect companion device for highly mobile professionals. T300 Chi offers the versatility of a high-end tablet, with the practicality of an Ultrabook – a non-compromise solution whether you’re on the road for business, or relaxing at home web browsing or watching a movie.”

The new Chi range comprises two models, headed by the flagship 12.5-inch T300 Chi — available now from Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith, the Asus E-Shop and authorised Asus channel resellers from RRP $1,299 — and, the T100 Chi, a compact 10.1-inch model which will be available early April, RRP $699.