Figures from various analyst houses may vary, but there lies no doubt tablets have carved out a niche market and presented operators with a new avenue for increasing ARPU.
The tablet market, headed by Apple’s iPad, was labelled ‘promising new talent’ by ABI Research. Q3 last year saw 4.5 million devices shipped globally, according to the analyst firm.
More than 90% of tablet shipments were iPads, but Jeff Orr, a senior practice director at ABI, said Apple’s first-to-market iPad advantage would ‘erode to some extent’ as competing devices came onboard.
Research and Markets concurs, and estimates Apple’s share of the global tablet market will drop from 78% in 2010 to 47% by 2014.
Zooming in on a regional scale, IDC research manager Melissa Chau said tablet shipments in the Asia Pacific excluding Japan hit 1 million units in Q3 last year, driven mainly by the iPad and similar devices manufactured in China.
As the iPad launched across more Asia Pacific markets in Q4 last year, Chau said tablets were likely to continue gaining ground in the region. “More vendors are getting onboard and the popularity of smartphones and mobile apps will help drive healthy interest in these gadgets.”
Meanwhile, Ovum has forecast annual shipments from tablets and other ‘lite OS’ devices in the Asia Pacific will grow from 2.8 million units in 2010 to 52 million by 2015.