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Market research firm ABI feels pretty confident we're on the cusp of a tablet frenzy that will see the number of units shipped catapult from 4 million in 2010 to 57 million annually in 2015.
"Apple's iPad is not the first media tablet," said senior analyst Jeff Orr. "But it does help define this new device category. The main focus of media tablets is entertainment. A tablet will not replace a notebook, netbook, or mobile phone, but will remain an additional premium or luxury product for wealthy industrialized markets for at least several years."
It's worth noting that ABI Research defines a media tablet as having a touchscreen interface 5-11 inches in size, Wi-Fi connectivity, and video and gaming capabilities.
But no matter how you define them, will tablets remain relevant in the years to come? With Apple on board and Google not far behind, it's very likely. Then the question becomes, is there enough room for all these portable devices? Netbooks, e-book readers, and smartphones have proven that there's room for all three, but it will be interesting to see if the same holds true for tablets, or if one of these market segments end up falling by the wayside.