Tablet Shipments Expected to Top 11 Million This Year
More than 11 million tablets will be shipped worldwide this year, says ABI Research.
The market research firm also revealed that 43 million netbooks will be shipped, which is lower than originally forecast.
ABI Research said tablets were partially to blame for the drop in netbook demand.
"43 million netbook shipments are good growth, just not the meteoric pace of the past couple of years," said ABI Research principal analyst Jeff Orr.
However, tablets are still a long way from the 40 to 50 million annual shipments that ABI Research considers the threshold for a "mass market" product – a definition that netbooks still fit.
"Apple has sold a few million iPads in its first quarter, which is great for creating a new market," Orr says.
"But early adoption of media tablets is not outpacing netbooks. The iPad average selling price of above £400 (US$640) isn't driving mass adoption. Competition, especially on price, is needed."
However, Orr noted this competition could come in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
ABI Research said that to date, the use of tablet PCs is almost entirely consumer-based as the market for tablets as a real replacement for laptops and smartphones in business is almost non-existent.
"RIM's new PlayBook tablet may be more palatable to IT managers because at this point it's not a standalone device: it needs to be paired with a BlackBerry," said practice director Kevin Burden.