Who knew? Analysts with IDC are predicting that sales numbers for popular Android and Apple tablets will be greater than previously thought, with an estimated 122.3 million devices sold worldwide (up from the previously estimated 117.1 million). These trends are expected to continue though the next few years, with forecast numbers published through 2016. Market share is expected to be largely dominated by Apple products, with Android devices coming in 2nd place, and Windows devices a (very) distant 3rd. A whopping 282.7 million devices will be in the hands of consumers by 2016 – a number that is mind boggling to me right now. But if folks are getting as much enjoyment as I am out of my tablet, perhaps this isn’t such a huge surprise after all.
Mobile computing and web content consumption is on the rise, especially in the global market, and tablets (as well as smartphones) are an alternative to get this content at a much more cost effective price point than a traditional home PC or laptop. Google’s $249 Chromebook notwithstanding, most people have to have a mobile phone for a host of other reasons, and when it comes to spending discretionary cash, a lot of folks are going to choose what they need first. And that means that the mobile phone (or smartphone) comes before a laptop or PC. And it looks like the tablet is quickly growing into the “need” category from the “want” category.