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By 11 April 2012 | Categories: news

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According to market research firm Gartner, worldwide media tablet sales to end users are forecast to reach 118.9 million units this year, a 98% increase from 2011’s sales of 60 million units.

The company believes that Apple’s iOS will continue to be the dominant tablet operating system (OS), projecting that Cupertino’s mobile OS will account for 61.4% of worldwide tablet sales to end users during 2012.

Android-powered tablets are forecast to account for 31.9% of tablet sales in 2012. The company’s analysts said that the main problem holding the adoption of Android-based tablets back, is the lack of applications that are dedicated to tablets and therefore take advantage of these devices’ capabilities.

Apple still leading tablet sales charge

Gartner believes that Apple will continue to be the tablet market leader this year, despite the arrival of devices that operate on Microsoft’s new Windows 8 OS, as well as the expected international rollout of Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, explained that despite PC vendors and smartphone manufacturers craving a slice of the tablet pie and launching new devices, there has been few examples of success outside of Apple and its iPad.

“As vendors struggled to compete on price and differentiate enough on either the hardware or ecosystem, inventories were built and only 60 million units actually reached the hands of consumers across the world. The situation has not improved in early 2012, when the arrival of the new iPad has reset the benchmark for the product to beat.”

According to Milanesi, it looks like Apple’s competition has adopted a wait and see approach this year, holding off on new device announcements until the new iPad was unveiled. She said that many vendors will wait for Windows 8 to be ready and then attempt to enter the market with a dual-platform approach, in the hope that the Microsoft brand could assist them in both the enterprise and consumer markets.

Gartner: Windows 8 powered tablets to have greater appeal for corporate sector

Gartner believes that tablets running on Windows 8 will account for 4.1% of tablet sales during 2012, and increase their slice of the sales pie to 11.8% by the end of 2016.

 
Table: Gartner (April 2012)

“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 stated. “This means that we see Windows 8 as a strong IT-supplied offering more so than an OS with a strong consumer appeal.”

According to the firm’s analysts, sales to the enterprise sector of the market will account for around 35% of total tablet sales within 2015. These sales will not be clearly defined as enterprise purchases, however, as Gartner expects businesses to enable their employees to obtain a tablet via buy your own device (BYOD) programs.

This is due to the fact that more tablets will be owned by consumers that utilise these devices for work, rather than just their own personal media consumption on the go.

In related news, Gartner also recently stated that it expects the personal cloud to replace the PC as center of users’ digital lives by 2014, when it identified the five megratrends driving a new era in IT.

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