Tablets No Real Threat to Hard Disk Drive Sales for Now, Researcher Says

An expected meteoric rise in media tablet sales is unlikely to make a significant dent in the hard disk drive market for at least the next three years, according to IHS Inc.'s iSuppli research arm.

Global shipments of tablets are forecast to spike some 270 percent in 2011 to 63 million units--while mobile PCs with hard disk drives are expected to move ahead at a far slower 15 percent clip to 235 million units worldwide--but the leap forward by tablets will not significant retard hard disk drive sales, the researcher said.

Indeed, iSuppli figures that even by 2014, when the gap in shipments between mobile PCs and tablets should noticeably narrow, hard disk drive units shipped still will double the number of tablets. By 2012, hard disk drive shipments should approach about 300 million, iSuppli said.

Were it not for a recently shaky netbook market, the difference in tablet shipments compared to hard disk drives would be even more noticeable, said the researcher.

iSuppli believes that with the tablet's limited storage and productivity, predictions that it will overtake PCs may be somewhat overaggressive, and, despite forecasts of strong tablet growth, hard disk drive unit shipments are likely to remain healthy in the near term.

Still, online storage available through cloud computing could negatively impact hard disk drive sales in the future, iSuppli said.


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