New York City A survey released Tuesday by ABI Research reported that, according to analysts, some four million media tablets are expected to ship this year, but by 2015, that number is projected to reach 57 million annually.
It was the high-profile launch by Apple last week of its long-rumored iPad tablet computing device that also launched the corresponding hype of the market segment, said analysts.
“Apple’s iPad is not the first media tablet,” said senior analyst Jeff Orr. “But it does help define this new device category. The main focus of media tablets is entertainment. A tablet will not replace a laptop, netbook or mobile phone, but will remain an additional premium or luxury product for wealthy industrialized markets for at least several years.”
ABI Research defines media tablets as having a touch-screen interface, 5-11 inches in size, with Wi-Fi Internet connectivity and video and gaming capabilities. Other features are available in some media tablets.
A number of other tablets were announced at the International Consumer Electronic Show 2010, among them traditional computer vendors such as HP and Asus as well as new, smaller vendors such as ICD and Notion Ink.
“The biggest challenge faced by the media tablet category is how they will reach the market and generate awareness among potential buyers,” Orr said. “New entrants to this market are at a disadvantage since they lack the retail relationships and network operator agreements already built by the more mature vendors. Surprisingly, Apple may have done them a favor by raising the public profile of the whole media tablet category.”