The hype about tablets simply didn't become a reality, according to ABI Research...
Tablet sales took off last year but failed to vanquish alternative mobile computing devices, such as the humble netbook.
The tablet market surged in the second half of last year, according to analyst house ABI Research, but it noted that alternative device types such as netbooks and ebook readers also grew in 2010.
"The hype that media tablets were displacing portable computers and dedicated CE device purchases simply didn't become a reality," said senior practice director Jeff Orr in a statement.
The analyst reckons tablets and other mobile devices will coexist for the foreseeable future. "With increasing choices for consumers and greater opportunities for businesses to consider ultra-mobile devices, we expect multiple device categories to benefit in the near term," Orr added.
According to the analyst, the top three tablet vendors last year were Apple with its iPad, Samsung with its Android-based Galaxy Tab, and Archos with its Internet Tablet range of slates which together accounted for about 95 per cent of the media tablet market. The iPad grabbed the lion's share of the market with 85 per cent, while the Galaxy Tab ranked a distant second with about eight per cent and Archos took a meagre two per cent.
Orr said ABI expects many new entrants to the tablet market to compete on price this year, with low-feature, low-cost designs set to become common. It reckons between 40 and 50 million media tablets will ship worldwide in 2011.
Announcing its second-quarter financial results yesterday, Apple reported it sold 4.69 million iPads during the quarter, which ended on 26 March.
Ian Fogg, principal analyst at Forrester Research, described this figure as "impressive for an about-to-be-updated model". Apple launched the iPad 2 on 11 March in the US, and 25 March internationally. Last year, Apple sold some 15 million iPads.