Is 2010 the year of the tablet?

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Will the adoption of media tablets reach a mainstream tipping point during 2010? Well, not according to principal ABI researcher Jeff Or, who predicts the devices will likely fall short of "mass market" adoption.

"A market size justifying that term probably won't be reached before 2013. Much depends on Apple's distribution reach - which is still quite limited - and the relative success of its eventual competitors," Orr told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

Is 2010 the year of the tablet?"In addition, a number of competing tablets were to have been launched by now, but the global recession, implementation of the most suitable operating system and the challenge of matching the iPad's user experience have all caused delays."

Orr explained that the ubiquitous "buzz" around tablets had definite "implications" for other parts of the consumer market.

"In particular, the surge in interest in media tablets is impacting the MID (Mobile Internet Device) category. 

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"Most of the volume that we've projected for the MID category since 2007 is now being taken over by other device form factors: media tablets, but also smartphones, which are assuming more and more of the functionality that was envisioned for these 'non-voice handsets'."

Nevertheless, Orr projected that 11 million tablets were expected to ship by the end of 2010.

"Our forecast of 11 million media tablet shipments in 2010 is based both on the broader availability of the iPad and on the delayed introduction of competing products. 



"Assuming that competing tablets from other vendors do arrive in the second half of the year as expected, we believe that the iPad will account for a significant portion – but not all – of the projected 11 million units. To capitalize on the usual fourth quarter sales boom, other tablets need to reach retailers' shelves by early September."