It seems every major tech manufacturer has jumped into the hybrid tablet market, bringing some competition to the Microsoft Surface. Over the last couple years Apple, Huawei and Samsung have all joined the hybrid tablet market with a range of devices that offer the flexibility of a tablet and the function of a laptop in one device. And now, as we eagerly await the next big flurry of products, here are six hybrid tablets we hope to see in 2017.
iPad Pro 2
Everyone loves hypothesizing about the next Apple device. In fact, sometimes it feels like we’re already looking to the next iOS device before the new one is even released. The iPad Pro is no exception, and rumors are flying about what we’ll see from the next hybrid tablet from Apple possibly as soon as this spring.
Mac Rumors reports that Apple will release three iPad Pro models in 7.9-inch, 10.1-inch and 12.9-inch form factors. Sources also indicate that the display will see some changes, with Apple ditching the physical home button in favor of either a thinner bezel or no bezel at all. Mac Rumors also reports that, per Barclays Research, you can expect a more traditional tablet with a bezel, in the 7.9-inch and 12.9-inch models, but that the 10-inch design will include an edge-to-edge bezel-less display.
Surface Pro 5
The Surface Pro hybrid tablet has improved in functionality and performance every year, but the design has remained mostly the same. And, while the design certainly serves its purpose, it’s starting to feel a little stale. We are hopeful that 2017 will finally bring us an updated Surface Pro 5.
When Microsoft unveiled the Surface Studio, Windows Creative Update and Surface Book i7 with Performance Base, it was suspiciously mum on the Surface Pro. That suggests we’re overdue for a Surface Pro update, and if the rumors are true, we might see one as early as the first quarter of 2017, reports DigiTimes. Rumors also point to a 4K-capable Ultra HD display and a new, rechargeable Surface Pen with a charging dock built into the device.
[ Related story: Enterprise tablet wars: Galaxy TabPro S vs. Surface Pro 4 ]
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 brought stiff competition to the iPad Air 2, and keep your fingers crossed that the rumored Galaxy Tab 3 is even better. It was originally anticipated to arrive before Christmas, but now experts think it will be announced in the first quarter of 2017.
However, beyond a potential release date, it seems the company is remaining tight-lipped on the potential device. Trusted Reviews reports that the tablet is expected to have a Exynos 8890 chip, which is the same chip found in the powerful Galaxy S7 smartphone, but other than that, the rumor mill remains quiet.
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S2
In other Samsung news, the International Business Times reports that Samsung will release two new devices under the Galaxy TabPro S. The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S was the first Windows 10 hybrid device from Samsung — a big departure from their traditionally Android-based devices. It’s aimed at the enterprise and feels like a cross between an iPad Pro and a Surface Pro 4. While there aren’t too many leaked rumors about this device just yet, it’s expected that the updated TabPro S will be released in two different sizes.
Google Pixel 7 or Nexus 7
You’ll see Google’s rumored tablet referred to as the Nexus 7 or Pixel 7. Originally thought to be another Nexus device, the release of the Google-made Pixel smartphone has experts thinking the next tablet will follow suit. Whether it’s the Nexus 7 or Pixel 7, the International Business Times reports that the tablet is rumored to include 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.
It is also rumored that Google will release two versions of the tablet — one running the new Andromeda OS and the other running Android OS. Andromeda OS was anticipated to be a cross between Chrome and Android, but late last month, the Google vice president of Android, Chrome OS and Play, Hiroshi Lockheimer, announced on the Android Authority podcast that the rumors were false. The new Google tablet, whatever its name, was originally anticipated in late 2016, but experts now think the device will arrive in early 2017.
[ Related story: 5 reasons the Surface Pro 4 is fit for the enterprise ]
Huawei Matebook 2
The Huawei Matebook was a great first attempt at a Windows 10 hybrid device, but the high price tag didn’t make sense when you compared it to the competition. Hopefully, 2017 will see an update to this device, bringing more power and performance to an already sleek design.
If the rumors are correct, then Huawei has its eye on releasing two new models in the second quarter of 2017, a 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch model. According to GSM Arena, the updated devices will include Intel Core i-series processors, which will hopefully offer more performance than the current Matebook’s Core M processor. No word yet on pricing, but with a focus on keeping the first Matebook affordable, hopefully the second generation of devices will follow suit.