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Tablet Sales Will Continue to Strengthen, Says Research Firm

With tablet sales topping that of laptops for the first time during October, a research firm has said that the commercial success of the product will continue to strengthen in the coming years.

Due to the greater variety and cheaper prices of tablets, IDC raised its forecast for the market for 2012 and beyond. It predicts worldwide tablet shipments reaching 122.3 million in 2012, representing an increase from its earlier forecast of 117.1 million units. 

"Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower price points, we expect demand to accelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond," Tom Mainelli, IDC's research director for tablets, said.

"Android tablets are gaining traction in the market thanks to solid products from Google, Amazon, Samsung, and others," Mainelli added. "And Apple's November iPad Mini launch, along with its surprise refresh of the full-sized iPad, positions the company well for a strong holiday season."

It expects Android's worldwide tablet share for 2012 to reach 42.7 percent, an increase from 39.8 percent in 2011, while Apple's iPad sees its share dropping to 53.8 percent in 2012 versus 56.3 percent in 2011.

IDC also raised its forecast for worldwide tablet shipments in 2013 to 172.4 million units. By 2016, shipments should reach 282.7 million units. When the latter year does arrive, IDC predicts both Apple and Google will experience their share in the overall tablet market decreasing to 49.7 percent for iOS and 39.7 percent for Android.

As for Microsoft-based tablets, the company expects Windows tablets to increase its share in the market from 2.9 percent predicted for 2012 to 10.3 percent in 2016.

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