With the first month of Apple iPad sales exceeding 1 million units, it's no surprise to hear that International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts there'll be 7.6 million media tablets shipped worldwide this year.
However, according to IDC, this is just the start of a trend that'll accelerate by a compound annual growth rate of 57.4% during the next four years. In 2014, the company says more than 46 million units will be shipped. That's equivalent to over 10% of the predicted market for portable PCs in 2014.
Susan Kevorkian, IDC's Program Director for Mobile Media and Entertainment, said "These are early days for media tablets, an altogether new device category that takes its place between smartphones and portable PCs. IDC expects consumer demand for media tablets to be strongly driven by the number and variety of compatible third-party apps for content and services. The availability of apps unique to media tablets and that differentiate the experience of using one compared with a PC or smartphone will be crucial for driving consumer demand. As the category matures and more media tablet-optimized apps become available, IDC expects that media tablets will evolve beyond nice-to-have devices and become necessities for many consumers."
IDC has defined media tablets as tablet-form factor devices with 7-inch to 12-inch colour displays, running 'lightweight' operating systems such as Apple's iPhone OS and Google's Android OS to provide a broad range of applications and connectivity.