updated 08:05 am EDT, Wed March 14, 2012
NPD shows tablet demand not reflecting buying
Many tablet buyers want a keyboard even if they're not acting on it, the NPD Group found from a study. About 40 percent of those who were planning to buy a tablet reportedly wanted a hardware keyboard. "Most" of that subset wanted the keyboard fully integrated, the NPD said, favoring devices like the slow-selling ASUS Eee Pad Slider but ruling out detachable or docking keyboards like the same company's Transformer Prime.
The desires mostly contradict actual buying habits. IDC data showed that the majority of tablets sold, 83.3 percent, were from companies like Amazon, Apple, and Samsung that either don't have any option for a keyboard or for whom a keyboard model is an extremely small portion of their sales, such as the Sliding PC 7 Series.
Regardless of keyboards, analysts ruled out particularly large tablets like the Eee Slate or a rumored 11.6-inch Samsung tablet. Among those asked who had any screen size in mind, 40 percent wanted a screen under 10 inches.
With the exception of Amazon's Kindle Fire, most tablets sold in the fall have typically been at or near 10 inches, such as the iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1.
The preferences may play a significant role in adoption of Windows 8. While the desire for the OS itself is still up for debate, its emphasis as a traditional PC with tablet elements might see more users looking for familiar elements like keyboards or larger screens than on traditional PCs where other platforms are designed to go without.