Until a couple of years back, the world hadn’t seen a noteworthy tablet. And then, Apple changed the game with the introduction of the iPad, thereby creating a new business segment for tablets.
Since then, the iPad and the tablet market in general, has gone from strength to strength. Earlier this year, Cisco published a report which indicates that smartphones and tablets will outnumber humans by 2016. Gartner predicts that Apple will continue to dominate the tablet market for the next few years, although Android and Microsoft will start to mount a significant challenge.
Earlier this week, research firm NPD published a report which suggests that tablets are expected to overtake notebook PCs by 2016 as consumers shift to newer devices like the Apple iPad. In fact, tablets will be ‘the growth driver’ for mobile computing devices over the next few years.
NPD says overall mobile PC shipments including tablets will grow from 347 million in 2012 to over 809 million by 2017. While notebooks are expected to increase from 208 million in 2012 to 393 million by 2017, tablets are expected to grow from 121 million to 416 million in the same period. Geographically, North America, Japan and Western Europe will continue to be the largest consumers in the tablet segment.
NPD acknowledges that Apple’s dominance in the tablet segment and the Cupertino giant holds 62.8 percent of the tablet market, with Samsung a distant second at 7.5 percent. However, that may change with the launch of Microsoft Surface which blurs the line between a notebook and a tablet by running a full version of Windows 8. The Surface tablet will be able to run a host of laptop applications which are currently not available to other tablet users.
Research giant Gartner says that the explosive growth of tablets has been a blessing in disguise for our environment. Tablets play a key role in reducing the amount of paper that we use in our daily lives with an increasing number of people choosing to read their news, magazines and books on a screen, rather than paper.
While that’s encouraging news for all tablet manufacturers, as a consumer, I for one, am not prepared to replace my notebook with an iPad, Microsoft Surface, the Nexus 7 or any other tablet for that matter, at least for now. What about you?