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CES Feature Articles

January 04, 2011

CES Sure to Focus on Tablets

Apple set a whole new pace in consumer electronics with the launch of the iPad. Now, according to this Market Watch report, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is sure to feature a full range of new tablets ready to hit the market.

The tablet market is certainly exploding, especially for Apple. The company has already sold roughly 14 million units since its debut last April. November saw the launch of the Samsung (News - Alert) tablet in the U.S. and in the initial weeks since its launch, already moved roughly one million units. RIM is already promoting its Playbook and other device manufacturers are readying their own launches.

According to industry analysts, tablets will be the big sellers this year and next, displacing a fair number of PCs in the process.

Analysts at ISI (News - Alert) Group, on Monday, raised their global shipment forecasts for tablets by 9 percent to 50 million units. Shipments in 2012 have been projected to hit 92 million units. The brokerage group trimmed its forecast for PC sales in the same period.

With so much promise, there are a number of players from the PC and mobile-phone industries planning to launch their own tablets. Many of these devices will make their debut at CES this week.

Motorola, HTC and possibly even Palm are expected to unveil new tablet devices at the event. The Research in Motion Playbook tablet is also expected to be on hand for demonstration. Tablet products are also expected from Dell, Toshiba, Acer (News - Alert) and Asus.

Estimates from J.P. Morgan show the tablet market reaching $34 billion by 2012. If this level is achieved, tablet devices will likely cannibalize roughly 10 percent of total laptop PC sales, according to the research firm. This is expected to have the most impact at the low end of the spectrum in products such as netbooks.

Apple has chosen not to take part in the CES event, and given its success and the publicity of its own events, it really doesn’t have to. Analysts do expect the company to announce updates to the iPad later this month.

Android (News - Alert) is likely to be another feature player at CES as a number of manufacturers are making use of the mobile operating system developed by Google. Android is already a strong player in the smartphone market and with the launch into the tablet space, growth is sure to be strong.

Motorola (News - Alert) is one to be watched closely at CES. The company announced a split into two different companies today, and has also staged a comeback with its line of DROID smartphones. Industry analysts from Jefferies & Co. anticipate that it could be the first company to launch a tablet on the Android 3.0 operating system, known as Gingerbread.

A lack of available apps for non-iPad tablets could affect adoption, yet this could be offset by the devices’ ability to run multimedia content using Flash, which the iPad does not currently do. With the launch of more tablets on an open platform, any lack of available apps is sure to be a reversed trend as developers take hold of the growing opportunity in this space.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

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