Tablets to sell big in 2010, report says

Devices that are smaller than a netbook but larger than a smartphone will prove popular this year, a report predicts

We already knew that 2010 will be the year of the tablet, thanks to rumors of an impending Apple tablet and all of the gear previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month. Now, a new report is backing that up with some hard numbers, saying that tens of millions will sell over the next 12 months.

The Freescale tablet design aims to sell for $US200 when launched later this year.

NetTabs, devices smaller than a netbook but larger than a smartphone, which have wireless connections and a touchscreen, will "break out" this year, the annual report from Deloitte predicts.

Tablet computers, which the report dubs the "Goldilocks of devices" because they're not too big and not too small, "will likely be purchased by tens of millions of people in 2010." If that rings a bell, it's because a rumour was circulating late last year that Apple ordered 10 million of its yet-unannounced tablets.

Now, the Deloitte report doesn't mention Apple, or any manufacturer, but explains that this time round tablet computers will be more successful than the initial Windows XP tablets because they are consumer focused, primarily intended for media and Web browsing, rather than for work-oriented data entry.

"Leaked information suggests that custom-designed tablets are likely to be released by start-ups, some existing phone and PC makers, netbook leaders, and various smaller manufacturers using open-source operating systems," the Deloitte report claims.

Again, names are not clearly spelled out, but the start-up mentioned is FusionGarage with their JooJoo, the netbook leader might as well be Asus, which already sells notebooks with a touchscreen, and the smaller manufacturer using the open-source system is Archos with their Android tablet.

The report rightfully notes that existing smartphone and PC makers are unlikely to be threatened by the new tablets arriving on the market, as they are more of a premium product, and they are too big to fit in your pocket. However, stand-alone e-reader makers such as Amazon and Barnes&Noble could take a blow from the emerging tablet category, which have colour screens and can display video among others.

Follow Daniel on Twitter @danielionescu

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
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