Tablet PC shipments go from strength to strength -

Tablet PC shipments are going from strength to strength with a predicted year-on-year increase of nearly 200 percent to 55.7 million units expected in 2011.

According to the DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report although growth rates will slow over the forecast period, the slate PC share of the overall mobile PC market will rise to nearly 35 percent or 172.4 million units, by 2014.

It adds that total shipments of the mobile PC market, which also includes netbooks and laptops, are expected to reach 503.8 million units by 2014.

Richard Shim, mobile computing analyst for DisplaySearch, said: “The upcoming product announcements, introductions and demonstrations in the coming weeks will build on the tremendous momentum that the market has already seen and will lead to segmentation in the tablet (slate) PC market.

“This segmentation translates to significant shipment growth and proliferation in the short and long term.”

He adds that segmentation can also be seen through the numerous screen sizes expected to be supported by the many devices that will become available in 2011. And specific size does matter in this industry, with the company predicting that seven inch wide, 10 inch standard, and 10 inch wide screens will be the dominant sizes and most likely be used in products over the next few years.

The iPad, according to DisplaySearch, shocked many industry observers by providing a standard (4:3) aspect ratio device, even as notebooks, monitors, and TVs were moving to wide (16:9 or 16:10) formats.

However, Apple seems to be having the last laugh as its iPad success has now sparked a debate about the best display format for slates; combined with screen size.

DisplaySearch adds that the significant growth of slates is expected to "cannibalise" the mini-note and notebook mobile PC categories, but this will vary by region.

It said this "cannibalisation" is expected to be most noticeable in mature markets where the percentage of households that already own PCs are highest.

In emerging markets, the take-up is expected to be negligible because PC penetration rates are relatively low as compared to mature markets.