Tablet computers are a hybrid of the classic PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) and a mobile phone. It is in short a computer that is ‘mobile’ with no keyboards or any other computer hardware attached to it. With a sensitive touch screen, tablet computers have an onscreen keyboard and some use a stylus pen for navigation purposes or handwriting recognition.

Recently tablet computers have been high in demand because they are highly portable, not to mention lightweight and their battery life is much longer than that of laptops. They are much more user friendly with the added advantage of being faster to boot. The latest tablet computers also have high quality cameras for taking pictures and directly uploading it anywhere you want to.

Tablet computers are way more expensive than traditional PCs or even laptops. The interesting part is that even when tablet computers are ‘pricey’ people are willing to spend more money in buying them, even when some broadband companies that are giving away a free laptop with their connections.

The tablet market first sparked by the launch of Apple’s iPad in 2010 has continued to grow drastically. Since then, almost every major mobile company like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Blackberry etc has jumped on the bandwagon. As we have now entered 2012 the market is anticipated to keep growing and has almost overtaken the laptop market. There are almost 3.62 million tablet users in the UK.
According to a recent market research by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. 73% of UK’s market share in tablet computers is held by Apple iPad. But with the increasing variety in tablets, Apple’s market share is destined to erode over the coming years. It will take time because almost 75% of the Apple iPad owners say that they are ‘very satisfied’ with their choice of device and their word of mouth is strong.
The biggest competitor to the iPad has proven to be the Samsung Galaxy Tab which is cheaper and has the Android operating system. But, the fact remains that Apple is the leader and will continue to be for a very long time. Though, it is expected that many of the other companies who have been hopeful of entering the tablet market might have to fall out of it altogether because the competition is only going to get tougher.

Tablet computers are most commonly used for reading e-books and newspapers, emailing and playing games. An interesting fact is that most tablet owners use them mostly for playing games as compared to all other uses. This shows how interactive a tablet computer can be and how it has also become a partner in increasing the games market drastically.

Extensive marketing campaigns by companies like Apple and Samsung have created a vast awareness among computer users about the tablet computer. Regarding their future plans, there are 28% of the computer users who intend to buy a tablet in 2012 in UK, but aren’t sure of which brand. This presents a great opportunity to all tablet producers who will surely be fighting to grab this market share.
However, the older generation is less penetrated by the tablet computer market. The older generation has less understanding of the differences between a tablet computer and laptops. This generation is still more comfortable in using laptops with larger screens and bigger keyboards. Senior executives have been known to prefer buying broadband packages that offer a free laptop, than thinking of buying a tablet computer. Plus, for them they have much more use of a smartphone and choose to buy that instead of a tablet, which they consider as a large-sized smartphone.

The market for tablet computers is anticipated to increase drastically this year with the introduction of better tablets by companies competing for the market share. There is still a large chunk of the computer-user market that does not own a tablet, presenting an opportunity to these companies. Especially since only 3% of the respondents of the Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. survey did not know what a tablet computer was. Then there is the older generation that could really benefit from a portable tablet computer instead of using the same old heavy laptop. It is fair to say that tablet computers are only moving up from here with no looking back. Laptops can be expected to become obsolete, but hopefully no time soon.


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