Gartner Research Predicts 20 Million Media Tablet Sales

Analyst firm Gartner says global media tablets sales will hit nearly 20 million in 2010, and predicts sales will top 54 million in 2011 and 208 million by 2014.

Gartner research vice president Carolina Milanesi said the boom in media tablets, like Apple's iPad, Samsung's Galaxy and the enterprise-focused Cisco Cius, could spell bad news for certain consumer electronics devices.

"Mini-notebooks will see the biggest threat as media tablet average selling prices drop below $300 (£187) over the next two years," said Milanesi.

"The all-in-one nature of media tablets will eat into the market share of devices such as e-readers, gaming devices and media players," added Milanesi.

Gartner expects the biggest impact will be from 7-inch media tablets on high-end smartphones, because it says users will find it hard to justify owning both when they are both used for similar tasks.

By comparison, low-end consumer notebooks will see only a marginal drop in market share.

For the immediate future, the enterprise's main use of media tablets will be as notebook companions, said Gartner.

It will also be used as a secondary device for people on the road, or those wanting fast access to email, a calendar, web applications, or PowerPoint presentations.

Gartner points out that most knowledge workers cannot use media tablets to replace their notebooks, and because these workers usually also have smartphones, media tablets become their third device.

Most firms will not buy that third device; however, because of the convenience factor for travel and its 'instant on' function, many users are paying for the media tablets with their own money to use for both work and pleasure.

Gartner also expects cellular and Wi-Fi media tablets currently having a 55 per cent market share to account for over 80 per cent of sales in 2014.

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