2011: A Look Back at the Rise of Tablet Devices

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In 2011, there were tablets that flunked- HP TouchPad, RIM Blackberry Playbook, and the Motorola Xoom (just to name a few); there were tablets that beat the odds and flourished- Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook; and there were those that remained leaders, most notably the Apple iPad followed by the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that Apple continued to lead the way in the tablet race with 64% tablet market share, followed by Android who captured around 35% market share in 2011, on average. Compare these figures to the previous year when Apple captured around 85% of the market.

And while Android tablet devices, most notably the recently released Kindle Fire, continue to gain in popularity this year, iPads continue to dominate tablet web traffic. According to comScore, 97.2% of all tablet traffic in the US came from iPads in 2011, a number slightly higher than the amount of Internet traffic from iPhones.

So what were users doing on their tablets in 2011? According to AdMob (Google), tablets were used primarily for 1) Playing games; 2) Searching for info on the Web; and 3) Emailing. Other activities included shopping, reading e-books, and consuming entertainment. The study also found that 43% of tablet users spend more time on their tablets than on their desktops/laptops.

It’s an understatement to say that tablets are growing in popularity. In 2010, there were 17.4 million tablet shipments. The following year, the number of tablet shipments more than quadrupled with 72 million tablets shipped worldwide. In 2012, it is estimated that tablet shipments will grow to 95 million units, surpassing netbook sales; and in 2015- 262.1 million units, a 1,442% increase in 5 years.

With the tablet market predicted to surpass $2 billion in worth by the end of 2012, the competition for a piece of the tablet market will be more intense than ever before.

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