At the Consumer Electronics Show last January, all the buzz was about tablets and smartbooks, inexpensive and highly mobile devices. The idea was that these devices would be used for web browsing, email, games, social networking, and online applications such as Google Docs or Microsoft Live services.
As 2010 actually developed, however, hardly any of these products made it to market. Instead, the story of the year was the runaway success of the Apple iPad, announced just after CES ended.
Next year is likely to be very different, as the iPad gets a lot of company. Gartner predicts sales of 19.5 million tablets this year, about 80 percent of them iPads—not surprising since Apple had the field to itself for most of the year with a few competitors, such as the recently released Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Next year, Gartner sees sales jumping to 54.8 million and soaring to 154 million by 2013.
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