2012 shaping up as the 'year of the tablet'
LIMA, Nov 22, 2012 (The Lima News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
There's the iPad, iPad mini, Google Nexus, Amazon Kindle Fire and Samsung Galaxy, just to name a few. Tablets are all the rage this year, according to industry experts.
Not surpringly, the rise in the popularity of tablets coincides with the ever-growing market of gadgets and display sizes as consumers search for the devices that best fit their lifestyles, according to Kevin Tillmann, senior research analyst at the Consumer Electronics Association.
"I think it comes down to consumers are really demanding choice in the screen sizes they can have access to. As the first iPad was introduced, the key was finding something in between the smartphone and the laptop or desktop computer screen in terms of size," Tillmann said. "Even now this year you're getting into the nitty-gritty of display sizes within tablets themselves. You're seeing that consumers are really trying to figure out where the tablet screen fits into their lifestyle from a size standpoint and then they can make their decision from that. Portability being a huge factor as well."
The numbers show the tablet industry taking off, even from its position a year ago, Tillmann said.
"We're projecting well over 100 percent shipment growth this year and continuing it over 50 percent shipment growth next year," Tillmann said. "In terms of units shipped, we're looking at about 68.5 million tablets being shipped in retail channels this year and that's going to increase to a projected 105.6 million units next year. We're seeing fantastic growth for tablets."
Ethan Bollenbacher, assistant manager at the Verizon Wireless store on Elida Road, said the versatility of tablets and how they can be used has been a huge selling point in the Lima market.
"Usually what we see here and the big wow factor is what it can do for the family. That's what really gets the customers excited," Bollenbacher said. "It's not just getting email or browsing the Internet, but this allows me to do everything my laptop can do but I can also record events in high definition and play them back on my television. You can help create family game night.
"Instead of wasting time on board games you can have them right there on the tablet and pass them around while you're on the couch watching your favorite show or movie and eating popcorn."
Bollenbacher said more and more people are discovering the versatility and advantages tablets have to traditional desktop computers or laptops that often require expensive software to do much beyond basic Internet browsing.
"Any consumer can walk in, pick up a tablet and right away get free applications that can do things like Word, Excel, PowerPoint but they make it user-friendly too," Bollenbacher said. "Everything is icon-based. I can bring any customer over here, young or old, and teach them how to use a tablet within minutes. The sky's the limit when it comes to tablets and what it means to customers and what it means to the industry out there."
Tablet users appreciate the versatility.
"I love my iPad," Joyce Hunt Davis, of Lima, said in a posting on The Lima News' Facebook page. "It's my personal connection to the virtual world. It's so much easier to take along than a laptop and I can keep connected while watching tv, sitting at a restaurant or event at after school events."
When it comes to the holiday season and gifting not surprisingly tablets are at the top of many wish lists, Tillmann said.
"We just released our holiday outlook study about three weeks ago. The top product for wish lists was tablets by far and that's something consistent between last year and this year," Tillmann said. "Also, at the top for planned gift purchases for the holiday season you've got tablets and smartphones roughly neck and neck. This was from an open-ended question so tablets actually outranked cash, and peace and happiness for holiday gifts."
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