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Tablet sales to spike, iPad stays supreme

Posted: 24 Feb 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:tablet? market share? Android?

Tablets are, without a doubt, one of the hottest gadgets to have arrived in the recent years. Having a solid market performance last year, the devices are sure to feel more love from the market this year. In fact, TrendForce Corp. forecasted that tablet sales will approach 9.4 million units this year, a 53.1 percent increase compared to 6.2 million units last year. In the same way, iPads will continue to lead the pack with a predicted 5.9 million units this year, a 60 percent market share.

Apple's high tablet market share can be attributed to its tablet competitors failing to catch up with iPad's advancements, noted the market research firm. Although various Android phones carve up a certain amount of market share, iPad's domination remains unshaken. iPad 3 will further secure its leading status with its solid hardware-software integration and high resolution display, which will give iPad a leg up on other tablets in the market in terms of 2012 sales. The only concern is that iPad 3's high resolution panel comes with a low yield rate. Whether or not the panel production will be enough to supply the market demand remains to be seen.

tablet market share

2010-2015 tablet market share and iPad market share projections (total tablets projected include all tablets and color e-readers)

Amazon fueled Kindle Fire's sales in 4Q11 by lowering its price along with the help of its online bookstore. At first, the strategy panned out well and generated quite a buzz. However, Kindle Fire, designed as an electronic book reader, still does not quite match consumers' expectations for a tablet. In addition, according to the component makers, Amazon's orders for panels in 1H12 decreased, which suggests at the time being, Kindle Fire is still unable to threaten iPad's leading position.

At present, Android is unlikely to intimidate iPad, and for this reason, certain tablet manufacturers begin to slow down its development of Android tablets and shift the focus to the Windows 8 tablets set to release at the end of the year. The makers are counting on Windows users' high commitment to Microsoft Office to spur the sales of Windows 8 tablets. But several issues persist, such as whether or not the ARM Windows 8 tablet is able to release as scheduled, the weight and battery life, and whether the software compatibility and interface design cater to the users' preferences.

As for the talks about smaller iPads, these mini versions are still in the testing stage. Whether or not these prototypes will enter mass production remains unknown. If production ensues, the release time will possibly be in 4Q12, right before Christmas. With a smaller size and a resolution of 1024 X 768, as opposed to iPad 3's 2048 X 1536, the small iPad will not hurt iPad 3's sales this year and will have a bigger impact in 2013. In other words, iPad will still hold the No. 1 spot in the tablet market, dominating more than half of the total tablet market share well into 2013.

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