The market for iPad-like tablet devices is set to explode over the next four years, according to IT analyst Gartner.
The company predicts that 19.5 million tablet devices will be sold before the end of 2010. That figure will rise by 181% to 54.8 million in 2011, and increase more than tenfold to 208 million in 2014.
Apple, whose iPad device turbocharged the tablet market, says it had sold 7.5 million of the devices by the end of September 2010. If Gartner’s 2010 predictions are to come true, therefore, either Apple will see a sharp uptick in sales over Christmas or competitors such as Dell, Cisco and Samsung will achieve significant market share gains.
The success of tablet devices will damage sales of other new form factors. “The all-in-one nature of media tablets will result in the cannibalisation of other consumer electronics devices such as e-readers, gaming devices and media players,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president in Gartner’s Mobile Devices team. “Mini notebooks will suffer from the strongest cannibalisation threat as media tablet average selling prices drop below $300 over the next two years.”
In the enterprise, tablet devices do not yet have the functionality to replace laptops, Gartner said, but they are nevertheless being adopted as business users’ second or third device. “Because of the convenience factor for travel and an ‘instant on’ for quick look-up functions, many users are paying for the media tablets with their own money to use both for work and pleasure,” it said.