The tablet market is a new category and one that people are still figuring out, but the iPad has been a definite success story. The market really took shape in 2010 when the iPad launched, although similar devices have been around before as well, and Internet market research firm eMarketer predicts that tablet sales will grow from 15.7 million units sold in 2010 to 81.3 million units sold in 2012, a total growth of 400 per cent for the segment.
It predicts that over the next two years, tablet sales will continue to grow worldwide. 2010 has seen worldwide sales of 15.7 million devices, and the company is predicting sales of 43.6 million in 2011, and 81.3 million in 2012. eMarketer is also predicting that Apple will continue to dominate, and will represent 69 per cent of total sales in the category.
The numbers may well be incorrect, since more and more competitors are lining up to take on Apple in the tablet market, but the iPad and its related App Market both remain the leaders for now, so perhaps the researcher is onto something.
Tablets were a breakout device for 2010, and CES has already declared 2011 The Year of the Tablet, so many new devices are going to come around next year to suit a variety of budgets and needs. Form factors have not been standardised yet either and in many ways we’re in the wild west, frontier territory where it’s hard to predict what will happen next in terms of price, size, platform or any other variable.
It is a safe bet to say that the tablet market will expand over the next few years, and that 2011 should see mass adoption of the little devices, but remember, it took a few years for netbooks to standardise on components and sizes, which has allowed developers to create programs for them as a category, instead of device specific apps.
This is a problem which is already affecting the Android app market – the fragmented device base means that a program on the market which runs of one device might be too taxing on another. Apple has managed to avoid this largely by restricting the ecosystem, but with a number of high profile Android tablets expected, this issue can only become more pronounced, and needs to be addressed by Google for the tablet market to flourish.
Source: eMarketer report [http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008098]