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Appetites for tablets will takeover in 2012 (and even defy the economic crisis). That’s according to Deloitte analysts who predicts a tab and smartphone takeover this year.
There will be “record numbers” of smartphones and tablets sold as well as PCs “of all descriptions,” according to Deloitte’s tech predictions for 2012, released today.

In fact, one tab will not be enough for many Aussies. Deloitte analysts are also predicting the rise of the”multi-tablet owner” here.

As many as five million tablets will be sold globally this year – many to people who already own one.

This tab revolution appears to have caught on with consumers quicker than any other  – it took several decades for one household to have more than one car, phone, radio or television.

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Apple introduced the iPad in 2010, which was followed by a stream of other brands running Android following suit, including Asus, Toshiba and Samsung to name but a few, and less than 2 years later they are set to become the norm.

“The tablet explosion has shown little sign of slowing since it hit the market in 2010,” says Damien Tampling, Deloitte Australia’s head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications.

And consumers will even forgo ‘big-ticket’ items, like holidays, a car or even a sporting event (really?), in favour of electronics.

In other words, we will be more concerned with the latest Android slate than a flashy BMW or tickets to the tennis.

And while the iPad 2 and Co do the business, global television and LCD sales will remain “modest,” although will be boosted by growing demand from emerging markets.

Average Oz households may spend as much as 2% of their weekly disposable income or under $24 per week, on home computer equipment totalling a whopping $5.44bn on computers and software alonge this year.

This is a whopping 80% of the estimated $6.8bn total consumers are predicted to spend on tech this year.

However, the “dollar value” of the market will be moderate, he added. 

 

So why are consumers spending more? Because electronics are cheaper than ever.

“Given the plummeting cost of technology over the past three decades, consumers can achieve an outstanding ‘bang for their buck,” says Tampling.

And more tablets per household and workplace could push consumers further away from print media, and towards digital forms, meaning more Aussies will move towards online magazines and apps.

Employees are also very quickly moving away from the standard office desktop and bringing their own tablets, smart phones and even laptops to work, Tampling noted.

They are also setting up their own ‘hot spots’ to access the internet from their preferred device and transfer data more easily between devices and colleagues.

But the iPad and Co is not just for personal use – more than 25% of tablet sales in Australia expected to be generated by companies seeking greater employee mobility.

“Any vendor that is able to offer seamless sharing among families of devices – as a well as a common user interface – is likely to get the competitive advantage,” he said.

With the rise of the corporate tablet, other analysts this week predicted the rise of Microsoft Windows OS, which would work seamlessly across tabs, smartphones and work PCs, 80% of which are Windows based. 

This tab-a-thon also has implications for network operators like Telstra, Optus and Co who will also need to evaluate the impact of this on connectivity and possibly new data usage plans, Deloitte warns.

2012 is also the year of ‘Big Data’ which is about to become “a big deal” although the concept is still new here in Australia.

Internet companies have led the way, but sectors tipped to follow will include the public sector, financial services, retail, entertainment and media.

The death of the hard drive is also forecast, while demand for the lighter, more power friendly solid state storage is to rocket. 

By the end of 2012, solid state storage for small devices such as MP3 players, smartphones and tablets will be likely to account for 90% of the market, compared to 20 per cent in 2006, and a sixth of the laptop segment.

 

3D printing is also said to catch on this year.

The ability to download designs for anything imaginable and create the product on the spot will become a viable segment in several niche markets over the coming years with ‘do-it-yourself’ enthusiasts set to invest in 3D printers as prices drop below $1,000 in 2012 in the US.

Sales in 2012 will be likely to remain below $200 million and anyone expecting the era of the Star Trek “replicator” may have to wait awhile yet.

Oh and one more titbit from the 2012 predictions: the Philippines are tipped as the new India for technology workers.  

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