Tablet Sales Expected to Soar in 2012

By Joe Eitel April 11, 2012

Sales of tablet devices are expected to reach about 119 million in 2012, according to IT research company Gartner. iPads are set to lead the trend, followed by Android tablets. Gartner released highlights of its tablet sale forecast Tuesday in a press release.

Gartner’s forecast for 2012 is up 98 percent compared to last year’s prediction. The research company states enterprise customers are one of the driving forces behind the popularity of tablets, and the enterprise market is predicted to account for about 35 percent of total tablet sales by 2015.

Apple iOS-powered iPads lead the way in Gartner’s forecast with an estimated 73 million units sold by the end of 2012. Android comes in second with nearly 38 million units predicted to sell the year. Microsoft, QNX and all other operating systems are estimated to round out the remaining tablet sales with a combined eight million units.

Gartner expects tablet sales to increase through 2016. It estimates sales of iOS powered tablets to reach nearly 170 million units in 2016, followed by about 138 million Android powered tablets. Microsoft tablets, with the introduction of Windows 8, are expected to compete with iOS and Android in the coming years.

"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,” Carolina Milanesi, VP of research at Gartner, said in a press release. “This means that we see Windows 8 as a strong IT-supplied offering more so than an OS with a strong consumer appeal."

Milanesi stresses the fact that focusing on the strong enterprise tablet market and ignoring the consumer market is a mistake for tablet makers. She references the struggles of RIM with its BlackBerry device in recent years.

"This is exactly the same trend that vendors such as RIM had to face in the smartphone market,” Milanesi 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. 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."

Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributing Writer

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