New York, N.Y. The launch of the iPad tablet computing device kicks off the start of a new market segment for media tablets, helping to drive the market from four million units shipped in 2010 to 57 million annually by 2015, according to a new study from ABI Research.
The ABI study, “Media Tablets,” generally defines media tablets as having a touch-screen interface, 5-11 inches in size, with Wi-Fi Internet connectivity and video and gaming capabilities.
“Apple’s iPad is not the first media tablet,” says ABI’s senior analyst Jeff Orr, in a statement. “But it does help define this new device category. The main focus of media tablets is entertainment. A tablet will not replace a laptop, netbook or mobile phone, but will remain an additional premium or luxury product for wealthy industrialized markets for at least several years.”
ABI researchers say players in this market fall into two camps: traditional computer vendors such as Lenovo, HP, and Asus, and several new, smaller vendors such as ICD and Notion Ink. Apple is one part of the mix, and will likely be a fairly sizeable player, says Orr.
The biggest challenge for media tablet manufacturers is how they reach the market and generate awareness among potential buyers, says Orr. New, smaller vendors are at a disadvantage because they lack retail relationships and network operator agreements already in place by more mature vendors, he says.