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BizReport : Research archives : January 20, 2011

Are consumers really interested in tablets?

Of course, the answer is yes. Forecasts from several experts expect the tablet market to explode in 2011, with upwards of 2 million units purchased over the course of the year. The real question is how tablets will be used or if they are a fad-only option for a gadget-hungry world.

by Kristina Knight

New research from In-Stat suggests that the tablet may go the way of the laptop - a portable device that can do multiple things more easily than traditional PCs and more quickly than smartphone options. So, how will consumers use tablets?

Most will use tablets to read or view content, check email and manage personal information. Are those 'big enough' reasons to bet on the tablet craze? Possibly, especially as tablet functionality expands to include more applications.

How integral have tablets become? According to the report more than half of tablet owners are using them for nine or more hours each week. That is nine hours of primarily media consumption - reading newspapers, magazines or books, watching television shows, movie clips or original content and sharing information through social networks.

"Last year's small crop of tablets was being touted as potential e-readers; a way to compete against the extremely popular Amazon Kindle lineup," said Stephanie Ethier, Senior Analyst. "But this next generation of tablets is clearly being marketed as consumer multimedia consumption devices positioned to compete squarely against the Apple iPad."

As tablets become more functional, consumers are expected to purchase upgraded versions, spiking worldwide tablet shipment estimates to more than 58 million by 2014.

Tags: content, In-Stat, online publishing, Stephanie Ethier, tablet computers, tablet screens

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