Media tablet shipments in EMEA are forecast to more than treble this year as competition between the major hardware vendor and different operating systems heats up, says IDC.
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Around 6 million units were sold last year with Apple's iPad accounting for the lion's share, but this year the market is projected to reach 22 million as the buying fever that gripped North America and Western Europe spreads to other geographies.
"A plethora of new products is expected to hit the market in the coming months and will drive further buoyancy around the media tablet category," said Eszter Morvay, research manager at IDC.
She added that tablets will create "an additional demand vacuum in the second half of 2011 from the back-to-school and next Christmas seasons."
Samsung mounted the most serious challenge to Apple last year with the launch of its Galaxy Tab but IDC said the release of Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb will result in a number of new entrants including Acer and ASUS, HP and RIM.
"Increased competition will lead to more aggressive pricing, and as vendors further ramp their production in 2012, media tablet ASPs are expected to fall significantly, which will fuel accelerated media tablet adoption as well as fast renewal rates, amd support continued market expansion," IDC said.
The analyst reckons that although consumer is expected to remain the main target audience, user types will diversify in 2011 as businesses, rather than just business leaders, assess the utilisation of tablets in the workplace.
It also believes channels will expand with telcos aiming to take a slice of the action, extending their smartphone and portable PC portfolio.
"Media tablets clearly represent a maor new opportunity and IDC expects the market to reach close to 60 million units by 2012 in the EMEA region," said IDC.