On Friday (Oct. 15) research firm Gartner predicted worldwide media tablet sales, driven largely by sales of the Apple iPad, would reach 19.5 million units by the end of the year.
Gartner says tablets are poised for strong growth with worldwide end user sales projected to total 54.8 million units in 2011, up 181 percent from 2010, and surpass 208 million units in 2014. Analysts believe the impact of tablets on other devices will vary among segments.
“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 statement. “Mini notebooks will suffer from the strongest cannibalization threat as media tablet average selling prices drop below $300 over the next two years.”
Gartner also predicts that:
Low-end consumer notebooks will only marginally suffer from cannibalization.
Smartphones will suffer very limited cannibalization..
The majority of the impact will be from 7-inch media tablets on high-end smartphones as it will be hard to justify owning both devices; users buying a 7-inch tablet might opt for a lower priced, more compact smartphone.
North America will account for 61 percent of tablet sales in 2010, eventually dropping to 43 percent in 2014, as the devices appear in more markets.
“(Carriers) who have so far subsidized mini-notebooks to drive mobile broadband uptake will shift their marketing spend to media tablets,” Milanesi added. “Such subsidies will help drive adoption among those consumers who see the initial hardware cost as a hurdle. For the rest, the freedom of paying for cellular only if and when needed, and not having to add another contract to the one a user might already have on his or her phone, is a great advantage and has so far proved successful for Apple.”
Speaking of Apple, just a few days ago (Oct. 19), Sarah Yin of PC Mag reported that Apple CEO Steve Jobs quashed rumors of a 7-inch iPad release, claiming that the small screen “isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps.”
Jobs said, “We think that the current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be D.O.A.: Dead On Arrival. The 7-inch tablets are tweeners – too big to compete with a smartphone, and too small to compete with an iPad.”
To round up the current lineup of tablets available in the U.S., Yin writes: “At the moment Apple's 10-inch $699 iPad 3G and $429 Wi-Fi model are the only significant players on the market, but other manufacturers have announced alternatives – like Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Tab, Research in Motion's PlayBook, and Velocity Micro's e-book reader-tablet hybrid, the Cruz Reader.
“Meanwhile several low-cost tablets are already available, though you'd be hard-pressed to find a long line for them, including the Fusion Garage JooJoo, the Archos 7, and the Cisco Cius,” she adds.
Verizon Now Offering the iPad
Verizon Wireless recently announced that it, too, will be carrying the Apple iPad, making it available to customers Oct. 28.
“Verizon and Apple announced it will cost $20 for 1GB of data per month under the Verizon plan, but the cost per gigabyte drops to $35 for 3GB and $50 for 5GB, according to Verizon’s online FAQ about the offer,” wrote Matt Hamblen of Computerworld (Oct. 15).
“(This MiFi bundle, as Verizon calls it), will be a better deal for heavy data users because it costs $10 less per month for 5GB of data than Verizon's current MiFi-only service,” Hamblen added.