Rise of the Tablets

Nina Spitofsky

Apple Inc.’s release of the iPad in April 2010 spurred what has become the age of tablet computers. Tablet computers, devices that enable you to do myriad things including read the newspaper, listen to music, and browse the internet, are now used by a variety of people ranging from high school students to corporate executives. In the past year, there has been an increase in demand for these computers, urging many well-known companies to release their own tablets.

For those unfamiliar with these devices, tablet computers are mobile computers, smaller than laptops yet larger than mobile phones. These devices are most often designed in the form of a flat touch screen, and are operated using a virtual keyboard or stylus. Some tablet computers have more functions than others. Tablets such as the iPad enable you to download and listen to music, play games, browse the Internet, use word processors, send emails, and read and download books, magazines, and newspapers, at high speeds. While owning a tablet may not be necessary to one who already owns a personal computer, many people like the portability that a tablet offers, as well as the exceptional Internet speed.

Because the tablet can perform such a large number of tasks, people of all different ages, who lead varying lifestyles, can utilize tablets in ways that benefit their individual needs. Its universality is one of the prominent reasons why tablets are currently in high demand. Retailers and manufacturers predict that tablet sales will surpass laptop sales as soon as next year. Michael Hurlston, a senior vice president at Broadcom Corp., a company that supplies microchips to many top computer and tablet manufacturers, including Apple, noted that “sales of tablets [are] growing nearly three times as fast as those of laptops.” A researcher from Gartner Inc. reports, “worldwide, manufacturers are expected to sell 50 million tablets this year, up from 19 million in 2010. In 2012, that number is projected to top 100 million.”

Despite its high price, Apple’s iPad still leads the tablet market share. According to Gartner Inc., Apple is expected to command more than fifty percent of the tablet market through 2014. Android-based tablets will only account for 11 million of the total tablet sales in 2011. Android’s market share will hit 17.3 percent by the end of the year. Although that may not be much compared to Apple’s success, Android’s market share has increased since last year’s 14.3 percent. Gartner Inc. predicts the tablet market will continue to grow, with overall sales at the end of 2012 expected to hit 103 million and 326 million by the end of 2015.

With the tablet computer market on the rise and the PC market declining, technology is rapidly changing. Who knows, maybe one day Harriton will be distributing tablet computers to students.