Will you be trading in your laptop for a tablet PC? Apparently there's a hidden market hovering somewhere between touchscreen handheld computers — better known as devices such as the iPhone and the Nexus One — and cheap netbooks. Netbooks themselves enjoyed enormous success in previous years capturing the market between said touchscreen handhelds and laptops. So is there another micro-market here waiting to blow up? Industry analysts think so.
A business advisory firm called Deloitte publishes an annual report known as the TMT predictions — pertaining to Technology, Media and Telecommunications — and the firm is saying that 2010 is going to be the breakthrough year for tablet computers. Or "NetTabs," as the report terms them.
"'NetTabs will be purchased by tens of millions of people in 2010,'' Deloitte's TMT report said. ''NetTabs are expected to meet specific consumer needs compared to smartphones on the one hand - which are still a bit small for watching videos or even Web browsing - and notebooks, netbooks, and ultra-thin PCs, on the other - which are too big, heavy, or expensive.''
Paul Lee, author of the TMT report, thinks that the first year of tablet computer sales will see the technology springing ahead of already established markets, such as personal navigation devices: "While it is difficult to forecast sales of devices whose specifications are unknown, some analysts estimate 12-month sales from launch of over one billion dollars. This is larger than global sales of personal navigation devices.''
Lee continues: "The tablet fills a hole, in terms of its size, that has existed in the market for a while. New technology seems to appear out of the blue, but it actually has a very long gestation period.''
There have been nine years of TMT predictions so far, with last year's predictions dealing with the solidified rise of the netbook and an increased public acceptance of nuclear power. Other than an interest in tablet computing, 2010's TMT predictions also see solar power struggling this year: "'In contrast, solar power technology could struggle in 2010 due to the cost of solar equipment, tools and raw materials, over capacity and weak economics.''
So, is there a spot in your life for a tablet? I guess that depends on what you already own, but with Apple's tablet set to be officially announced soon and everyone and their mother looking to get in on the tablet game, the computer industry is certainly hoping consumers will bite.