Half of Britons have a tablet -

Latest figures in from the bean counters at Deloitte show that half of Britons are now using the keyboardless netbooks known as tablets.

Apparently there were more than 12 million tablets sold in the UK in 2013. By adding up the numbers and dividing by their shoe size this means that by the end of January, half of Britons will own or have access to a tablet, up from 36 percent from last summer.

Deloitte believed the tablets' growth had been driven by the value end of the market, which had made the touch-screen devices available as children's gifts and for those unwilling to pay for more expensive models."

The numbers were helped by the rise of budget tablets including Amazon's Kindle Fire, for which prices start at £199, Tesco's Hudl and Argos's £99 tablet. The last, as we reported, is now unavailable.

Paul Lee, Deloitte's head of technology, media and telecoms research, said that tablets had gained popularity with extraordinary speed, and manufacturers will have to work hard to stay on top of the evolution of the market.

It seems that people are finally starting to listen to Bill Gates who argued that that there were shedloads of uses for tablets. Now there appear to be more users and use cases for tablets than many had imagined, he said.

The key turned out to be getting the balance of form, function and price right.

Online retailers have been slashing prices and promoting e-books to appeal to those who received tablets for Christmas.