Thanks to the strong mass-appeal of the Apple iPad, Gartner is predicting that global tablet sales will reach about 19.5 million this year.
The research firm is expecting the tablet market to blow up over the next few years, as it predicts tablet sales will shoot up to more than 54 million units this year and reach more than 154 million by 2013.
This isn’t all going to be the Apple iPad but it’s clear that this device has paved the way for a variety of what Gartner calls “media tablets” with a smartphone operating system. We’ll know how many Apple iPad units the company has sold during Apple’s earnings next week and some analysts are speculating it could be a high number.
“The all-in-one nature of media tablets will result in the cannibalization of other consumer electronics devices such as e-readers, gaming devices and media players,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, in a prepared statement. “Mini notebooks will suffer from the strongest cannibalization threat as media tablet average selling prices (ASPs) drop below $300 over the next 2 years.”
To be clear, 19.5 million units isn’t really that much compared to computers, phones or smartphones. Still, this does clearly point out that the tablet wars have begun.
Apple will likely refresh its iPad early next year to include cameras and the FaceTime video-chatting service. It kind of seems like Apple could slap its logo on a pet rock and still move a few million units but the Android wave of tablets is right on the horizon.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab will hit all four carriers soon and we can expect multiple Android tablet devices from the likes of Motorola, HTC and even from startups like Notion Ink.
This is leading some analysts to speculate that Android tablets will outsell the iPad. That isn’t too surprising though, as Apple is only one company and the little, green robot will be used by a plethora of manufacturers.
What’s your take on the tablet market – is it a fad or is this the real next wave of computing?