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Gartner: Tablet shipments on pace to double from 2011 to 2012

Sometimes I feel like I can’t turn around without seeing another update on how tablet computers are doing. I tend to be morbidly fascinated with this particular topic because I have been covering tablets since Slate was bought by Compaq Computer sometime in the 1990s. Yep, I am really dating myself, I know.

In any case, I just finished writing up a story for about how adoption — sanctioned and unsanctioned — is creating services opportunities for technology solution providers. (Look for that story to publish soon.) Literally the day after I filed my article, research firm Gartner updated its projections for the category, suggesting accelerated adoption of these consumer-focused tablets within enterprise and business accounts.

Here are some highlights:

  • There should be approximately 118.9 million tablets shipped worldwide in 2012, which is almost double the 60 million tablets shipped in 2011.
  • Tablets using Apple iOS (the iPad portfolio) will account for 61.4 percent of the shipments this year, while Android tablets should capture 31.9 percent. Windows-based tablets could claim about 4.1 percent of the shipments.
  • The release of Windows 8 could change the equation for IT-supplied tablets, because it will include more enterprise-class features.
“This is exactly the same trends that vendors such as RIM had to face in the smartphone market,” said Carolina Milanesi, Gartner vice president, in a statement about the research. “The difference here is that tablets have been created for consumers first and then relied on an ecosystem of apps and services that make them more manageable in the enterprise. When the deployment will come from an IT department, we believe that operating systems such as Windows 8 will have an advantage as long as they are not seen as a compromise in usability for the users.”

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