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IDC expects tablet sales to pick up later this year thanks, in part, to increased adoption by businesses.
The worldwide tablet market forecast for 2012, previously estimated to reach 106.1 million units, is being revised upward to 107.4 million units by IDC. Next year's adjustment is even more dramatic.
For 2013, the research firm is now forecasting that the market will hit 142.8 million devices, an increase of over 5 million units from a previous estimate of 137.4 million. Tom Mainelli, research director of Mobile Connected Devices at IDC, says corporate interest and the marketing machine behind that’s gearing up to promote Windows 8 will add fuel to the tablet-buying frenzy.
"Demand for media tablets remains robust, and we see an increasing interest in the category from the commercial side," Mainelli said in a statement. "We expect pending new products from major players, increasingly affordable mainstream devices, and a huge marketing blitz from Microsoft around Windows 8 to drive increased consumer interest in the category through the end of the year," he added.
In the meantime, iOS will continue to dominate the tablet wars.
Apple iOS-powered tablets -- the iPad, for all intents and purposes -- will claim 62.5 of the tablet market in 2012, up from 58.2 percent last year. That growth comes at the expense of Android, in part.
Google's Android mobile operating system is forecast to drop to 36.5 percent this year from 38.7 percent in 2011. Blackberry is barely a blip as it continues its precipitous slide from 1.7 percent to a mere 1 percent.
And look for iOS to gain even more ground if the long-rumored iPad Mini sees the light of day this year. "If Apple launches a sub-$300, 7-inch product into the market later this year as rumored, we expect the company's grip on this market to become even stronger," says Mainelli.
What about Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets? They'll have to wait a while to be counted.
Part of the reason is that Windows 8/RT tablets have yet to hit the market. Also, IDC is making changes to its Media Tablet Tracker in the next quarter to account for all types of tablets, regardless of OS or processor.
Nonetheless, IDC expects Microsoft's tablet-friendly OS to have a positive impact on the market as a whole.
"Our current thinking, based upon early pricing expectations for these products, is that Windows-based tablets will be largely additive to our existing media tablet market forecast," offers Mainelli. Just don't expect any seismic market share shifts.
Mainelli predicts, "We don't expect Windows-based tablets to necessarily take share from Apple and Android, but will grow the overall tablet market."