Gartner: 54.8 million tablets will be sold in 2011

Research firm forecast that worldwide sales of media tablets will hit 54.8 million in 2011--largely driven by the iPad--and hinted of a threat to netbooks.

Gartner on Wednesday hinted that media tablets--think Apple's iPad--may test sales of mobile devices in 2011 as 54.8 million units are shipped.

The research firm provided its tablet outlook almost in passing as it handicapped smartphone sales for the third quarter. However, that passing line raises an interesting question. Will tablets ding smartphone sales? Apple's 10-inch iPad won't hurt smartphones because it's too big. But if 7-inch tablets take off--an assumption where the jury is still out--it's plausible that some of those sales will come at the expense of smartphones.

One reader of ZDNet Asia's sister site, ZDNet, noted recently: The best move may be a dumb phone and a smart tablet.

Read more of "Gartner: 54.8 million tablets will be sold in 2011" at ZDNet.