Apple currently has the market cornered on tablets, constantly selling millions of iPads quarter after quarter. Other tablet makers are struggling to keep up, with most others selling by the thousands (if even).
And then there are those that arrive with a lot of hype and are dead within in weeks. (See: HP TouchPad.) Based on all of this, the future for the tablet industry might look bleak with only one solid manufacturer.
But all of that is expected to change within the next five years. A recent survey from research firm In-Stat argues that tablet shipments will topple 250 million units by 2017.
That assertion seems plausible as that gives other tablet makers some time to catch up (particularly those working within the Android ecosystem) and figure out what is missing in this market to make things competitive.
More importantly, the tablet market is expected to grow as tablet manufacturers are expected to lower prices from the standard $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only tablet at some point. That point-in-time could be very soon given the recent example of the now $99 TouchPad. That product was actually considered by many to be the second best tablet available (after the iPad), yet it could not sell at $499, $399 nor even $299.
More highlights from the study:
- The 9-inch to 11-inch form factor is will be the dominant form factor with 56 percent of the market by 2017
- iOS and Android are expected to control 90 percent of the market share with Windows in a distant 3rd place
- Wireless providers could have a tremendous impact on tablet demand
- In the consumer market, tablets are competing against all computing devices -- not just PCs
- Expect more and better things from Samsung, Motorola, BlackBerry, LG, and HTC
Most strikingly, In-Stat believes that none of the leading OS platforms will likely cause "the failure of several companies in the tablet market due to lack of application support."
Jim McGregor, chief technology strategist for In-Stat, explained in a statement:
The tablet market and its associated ecosystem are still evolving. Over the next few generations we will see more differentiation between devices that are targeting different market segments and usage models. In addition, competitive device and service pricing will bring tablets into the mainstream consumer and enterprise markets.
Tablets are joining an array of smart-connected devices that allow users almost unlimited access to content and communications. These new devices mark a significant change in the value change of the electronics industry where the content and applications are now the key differentiators and innovation drivers.
The ball should get rolling more seriously next year. A recent report from DigiTimesposited that non-Apple tablet shipments are expected to rise by 134 percent in 2012. Specifically, DigiTimes suggested that shipments of Android tablets will surge to 44-45 million units shipped, while Apple’s iPad shipments will nearly double to 54-55 million units in 2012.