Tablet slowdown tipped

Sales of tablet computers are tipped to slow.
Sales of tablet computers are tipped to slow.

Global sales of tablet computers are likely to slow this year, hurt in part by saturation and adoption of large-screen smartphones or "phablets", says a market tracker.

Research firm IDC said its updated forecast sees tablet sales up 12.1 per cent this year, after a 51.8 per cent expansion in 2013.

IDC said sales are likely to total around 245.4 million units this year.

"Two major issues are causing the tablet market to slow down. First, consumers are keeping their tablets, especially higher-cost models from major vendors, far longer than originally anticipated," said IDC analyst Tom Mainelli.

"And when they do buy a new one, they are often passing their existing tablet off to another member of the family." The second factor is the rise of phablets - smartphones with 5.5-inch and larger screens, the analyst said.

The emergence of phablets is "causing many people to second-guess tablet purchases as the larger screens on these phones are often adequate for tasks once reserved for tablets".

In the past year, IDC said, the phablet share of smartphone shipments has more than doubled, from 4.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 to 10.5 per cent in early 2014.

IDC said consumers are now looking at tablets and related devices with larger screens like Microsoft's 12-inch Surface Pro 3.

- AFP

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