has published a new study, “Tablets: Market Shares, Strategy, and Forecasts, Worldwide, 2012 to 2018.” The 2012 study predicts the worldwide tablet market will reach US$181.5 billion in sales by 2018.

“The tablet market promises to eclipse the PC market, providing vivid images on modern displays,” says Susan Eustis, lead author of the study. “Tablet devices are used to write an e-mail, send a text, search the web, or create a note. Portability and ease of use is featured. Units are evolving the capability to be controlled all with the voice, providing the ability to embed more capabilities that people have not even thought of yet. The ecosystem is a significant part of the tablet market.”

All computer makers have to switch to making tablet computers, she adds. Computers aren’t going away, but they become significantly less important in a relative manner.

“Tablet and smartphone shipments have already eclipsed PC shipments and the trend is anticipated to continue,” says Eustis. “Tablets are mobile computing devices that provide Internet access and ultimately will do everything a PC will do, faster, cheaper, better.”