updated 05:55 pm EST, Mon February 7, 2011
Tablets to make up 35 percent of mobile by 2014
DisplaySearch, a market research firm focuses on the display supply and solar cell industries, predicts a near doubling of the tablet market in 2011, to 55.7 million units. The company forecasts that the arrival later this year of the first wave of serious contenders to the iPad -- as well as the expected second-generation iPad itself -- will build on the market momentum created by Apple and Google and the strong trend towards mobile devices of all kinds. DisplaySearch expects that by 2014, mobile computing devices (notebooks, netbooks, tablets) will ship over 500 million units, with tablets rising to nearly 35 percent of that total, or 172.4 million units.
The iPad itself, with its 4:3 ratio screen, surprised many in the display industry when it was introduced -- and DisplaySearch continues to believe that 7-inch wide (16:9 or 16:10 ratio) displays, along with 10-inch wide displays, will also find a market alongside Apple's 9.7-inch "standard" screen size, which is not expected to change for the next iteration.
The company predicts that tablet computers will continue to cannibalize netbook and even notebook sales, mainly in areas where desktop penetration rates are highest. When consumers have a conventional "work" computer such as a desktop or powerful laptop, they feel more comfortable using tablets to handle lighter chores, resulting in an overall increase in the mobile market with double-digit growth peaking at 30.4 percent year-over-year over 2011, and gradually declining to 17.7 percent year-over-year growth in 2014.