Apple’s iPad commanded 85% of the market for media tablets in 2010, according to full-year figures reported by ABI Research (http://www.abiresearch.com). The tablet market surged in the second half of the year, but it wasn’t just tablets: according to senior practice director Jeff Orr,
“Device categories including netbooks and mobile broadband-enabled eBook Readers showed gains in year-over-year shipment numbers in 2010,” he says. “The hype that media tablets were displacing portable computers and dedicated CE device purchases simply didn’t become a reality. With increasing choices for consumers and greater opportunities for businesses to consider ultra-mobile devices, we expect multiple device categories to benefit in the near-term.”
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab ranked a distant second to the iPad in market share, with about 8%, while Archos’s Internet Tablet range just barely moved the needle at 2%. These top three vendors accounted for 95% of the media tablet market between them. However that breakdown isn’t carved in stone, Orr says.
“Many new entrants are looking to differentiate themselves from the $600+ ASP of the iPad, so low-feature and low-cost designs will become common,” he says. “We expect between 40 and 50 million media tablets to ship worldwide in 2011.”
What of the more distant future? There are some scenarios suggesting a possible leveling-off of media tablet demand around 2015-2016, but market and economic variables will multiply with each passing year.
“With increasing choices for consumers and greater opportunities for businesses to consider ultra-mobile devices, we expect multiple device categories to benefit in the near-term,” adds Orr.