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Small Form Factor Tablets Set To Be Bigger Than PC's

By David Richards | Tuesday | 22/10/2013

Tablets not PC's are set to be one of the hot gadgets this Xmas according to new research with several vendors including Apple, Nokia, Microsoft and possibly HTC set to launch new tablets prior to Xmas.

Research Group Gartner claims that the burgeoning tablet market will continue to expand over the next few years. 
At the 2014 CES Show in Las Vegas several TV manufacturers including Hitachi will bundle a tablet with their new TV offering. These tablets will be used to access and deliver content to the TV. 

Gartner said that Tablets will almost equal the traditional PC market by 2014. Tablet shipments grew 53.4 percent in 2013, according to Gartner, while the PC market shrank by 4.5 percent. Gartner also sees Google's Android operating system's dominance over the new computing landscape continuing to expand, even as Apple catches up with long time rival Windows.

Samsung Note 8

In 2013, desk-based and notebook PCs shipped 303 million units worldwide, while tablets shipped 184 million. By next year, Gartner expects that PCs will move just 282 million units. Tablets, meanwhile, will ship 263 million units, pulling just about even after having shipped only about one-third of total PC shipments in 2012. 

The smaller tablet form factors appear to be grabbing consumer interest, as Gartner cites an internal study that found smaller devices like the Samsung 8" Note, iPad mini and Amazon's Kindle Fire line to be the preferred type for consumers in several Countries including Australia.

 Gartner's survey of 21,500 consumers showed that 47 percent owned a tablet that was eight inches or less. 

The boom in demand for tablets is putting Microsoft under pressure as consumers ditch their Windows OS for Android and iOS based devices.

Android devices surpassed PCs running Windows earlier this year,Googled delivered moving 500 million units of Android in 2012 compared to Windows' 347 million units. That gap continued to grow in 2013, with Android-powered smartphones and tablets shipping 880 million units compared to Windows' 332 million. By the end of 2014, Gartner expects that Android will ship on 1.115 billion units, while Windows will be on 364 million shipped units. 

Driven by the continuing success of the iPad and iPhone, Apple will see further growth in terms of operating system market share. Devices running either iOS or OS X accounted for 272 million shipments in 2013, according to Gartner. By 2014, Apple will approach Windows in terms of shipments, with iOS and OS X devices moving 338 million units. 

Meanwhile, Gartner sees lower consumer adoption rates in the wearable computing segment typified by devices like Samsung's Galaxy Gear smart watch and Google Glass. By 2017, the research firm sees the percentage of consumers replacing their mobile phones with a combination of a wearable device and a tablet at just one percent.

About 120 million tablets were shipped in 2012, nearly seven times as many as in 2010, when the Apple iPad was first released and generated wide interest, according to Gartner, a market research company.in between, according to Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

In such a fast-changing market, however, that could quickly change. What appears certain is that consumers will be hearing much more about tablets this spring, and particularly this week.

"A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category," Tom Mainelli, a research director at IDC, said in a statement. "And traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors.".

Gartner expects Apple's share of the tablet market to fall below 50% this year, from 65% in 2011. Competitors are starting to squeeze the Mini with larger-screen smartphones, so-called phablets that bridge the gap between smartphones and smaller tablet computers. Meanwhile, tablet prices are steadily declining, further pressuring Apple to engage in the type of price competition that it has avoided historically.

"It will become harder to sell to new customers where price is important, and Apple doesn't compete on price as much," said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research.

South Korea's Samsung is mimicking in tablets the strategy it used to grab market share in smartphones: covering the spectrum of sizes and offerings. With its main tablet brand, the Galaxy Tab, Samsung offers five screen sizes, from 7 inches to 10.1 inches. (All tablet screens are measured diagonally.) There's also an 8-inch and 10.1-inch Galaxy Note, under Samsung's large-size smartphone brand.

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