Gartner: Tablet Sales to Double in 2012

Researcher projects by 2015 enterprises will account for 35 percent of tablet sales worldwide.

Media tablet sales worldwide will double in 2012 to nearly 119 million units, with the market still dominated by Apple Computer Inc.’s iPad, according to data compiled by researcher Gartner Inc.

The researcher expects global tablet sales to end users to exceed 369 million units, based on operating systems sold, by 2016.

Apple’s iOS, which accounted for about 66 percent of the tablet market in 2011, is expected to command 61 percent of the segment in 2012, with Google Inc.’s Android a distant second with a 32 percent share, slowed by a lack of tablet-dedicated applications, Gartner said.

The researcher forecasts Apple’s dominance of the tablet market to remain relatively steady in 2012 despite the entrance of Microsoft Corp.-based devices to the segment and the expected arrival of the Kindle Fire. Gartner projects Microsoft to hold a scant 4 percent of the tablet market in 2012, growing to nearly 12 percent by 2016.

"Despite PC vendors and phone manufacturers wanting a piece of the pie and launching themselves into the media tablet market, so far, we have seen very limited success outside of Apple with its iPad," said Carolina Milanesi, Gartner research vice president.

Milanesi said that Gartner believes that a number of vendors are waiting for Windows 8 so they can enter the market with a “dual platform approach” to reach both the enterprise and consumer markets. Windows 8 is Microsoft's official entrance into the media tablet market.

"IT departments will see Windows 8 as the opportunity to deploy tablets on an OS that is familiar to them and with devices offered by many enterprise-class suppliers," Milanesi said. "This means that we see Windows 8 as a strong IT-supplied offering more so than an OS with a strong consumer appeal," she said.

By 2015, enterprises will account for approximately 35 percent of all tablet sales, although a percentage of that will consist of employees bringing their own devices (BYOD) to the workplace, Gartner said. The trend towards BYOD will challenge tablet makers to serve the tablet needs both of consumers and enterprises, a problem companies such as Research In Motion Inc. (RIM) already have encountered with smartphones, Gartner said.

“The difference here is that tablets have been created for consumers first and then relied on an ecosystem of apps and services that make them more manageable in the enterprise,” Milanesi said.

“When the deployment will come from the IT department we believe that operating systems such as Windows 8 will have an advantage as long as they are not seen as a compromise in usability for the users," she said.

TAGS: Android,Microsoft,iPad,Windows 8,tablet,Gartner,sales

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