Thanks in part to industry efforts to make tablets both magical (video) and affordable, Forrester Research predicts that tablets will become the preferred computing device for millions of people by 2016. Global tablet sales have been steadily climbing and there's no doubt the futuristic form factor has found its way into many homes: over 56 million tablets were sold in 2011. However, will tablets really supplant laptops as the mobile computer people turn to?
In a recent market analysis labeled, "Tablets Will Rule the Future Personal Computing Landscape", the research firm projects tablet sales will top 375 million units by 2016. In addition, Forrester Research generally expects tablets to last about three years before the aging devices are replaced by their owners, meaning about 760 million tablets will be in use by 2016.
Globally speaking, about 40 percent of sales are expected to be driven by "emerging markets" while nearly a third will be pushed by businesses.
For those who are skeptical, the principal analyst involved with the study had this to say:
"I agree that laptops are still preferred today, if you had to pick one device," he notes. But he is firm in believing that preference "will flip in the next few years. Tablets will get good enough at many, but not all creation tasks — plus they'll become so important and convenient for every day use and consumption, that they become an individual's primary device."
"Over the next four years, tablets will gain new sensors, processing power, and better wireless capabilities for connecting with nearby devices," Frank Gillette, principal analyst on Forrester's business technology futures team, wrote in the report. "This will enable full voice control and dictation, increased gesture control, more situational context, better accessory integration, and software that anticipates a user's needs."
Source: cnet.com, Frank Gillette (Forrester Research analyst)
It may be important to note the firm counts hybrid or convertible devices as tablets. Examples of such devices include the Asus Transformer and the Lenovo Yoga.
Forrester Research also predicts the introduction of a new tablet-like device intended for larger-scale applications. The firm is calling this device a "frame" and expects the device to sport a far larger display and higher-end hardware. Such a larger may be useful for presentation, entertainment and business applications.
The Apple iPad (3rd-gen) includes a Retina Display operating at a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. Powering the new iPad is a dual-core A5X processor with quad-core graphics, it also gets upgraded optics in the form of a 5MP backside illuminated sensor that features a 5-element lens, IR filter and ISP built into the A5X chip. Apple claims The new iPad is good for 10 hours of battery life and nine hours when using 4G LTE.
Amazon sent a wave crashing through the mobile industry when it announced its Kindle Fire would land with a price of $199. This is likely the best value in a tablet on the market, and will make tablet computing accessible to many people that either couldn't afford an iPad or couldn't tolerate Honeycomb tablets.
The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime sports a very high-resolution 1920 x 1200 pixel 10.1-inch Full HD display, it is powered by either a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 or dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processors depending on configuration. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and has an optional keyboard dock like the other Transformer tablets from Asus.
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