More Than 100 New Tablets to Be Displayed at CES


Companies take aim at Apple's iPad as sales for the devices are expected to nearly double in 2011.

LAS VEGAS -- The market for tablets will grow 75% this year, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and director of research for the Consumer Electronics Assn., said Tuesday on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show.

An estimated 17 million tablets were sold worldwide in 2010, and CEA expects sales of more than 30 million for 2011. DuBravac predicted that more than 100 tablets would be displayed at CES.

"They are going to be seeking ways to differentiate themselves," he said, suggesting that variables will include screen size and pricing. The optimal price for a tablet, according to CES research, is $350.

Since the category is still new, tablet makers also will be looking to define the space, with CEA research suggesting that main applications will include Internet browsing, e-mail, watching video, e-books and games.

Consistent with other new product category launches, DuBravac suggested that tablet prices will come down and there will be consolidation in the space. According to some reports, Apple has a 95% market penetration with its iPad. And he questioned whether tablets will cannibalize other categories such a notebooks.

Dubravac reported that sales of Internet-enabled TVs are on the rise, predicting that by 2014 half of TVs that are shipped will have that feature. He also identified a shift in that consumer electronics device makers are primarily pushing connected TVs, which also do 3D. He suggested that the reverse was true a year ago.

About 3D, he said: "We expect to see 3D show up in other parts of the ecosystem -- the rear seat of automobiles and portable devices such as mobile phones."

Sensors -- which enable features such as gestural interfaces -- are being used to create new consumer experiences. As an example, Dubravac cited the motion-based controller Xbox Kinect, which had sales of 2.5 million in the first 25 days of the release. He related that apps will take advantage of sensors, and they will go beyond gaming into a wider range of consumer devices.

Handsets are in decline, DuBravac reported, with growth in mobile phones coming in the smart phone category.

Meanwhile, the CEA projects that global consumer electronics revenue will grow to $964 billion this year and could reach the $1 trillion mark. Revenue in 2010 was $873 billion worldwide, rebounding from a dip in 2009.

Blu-ray saw "slow and steady growth," with 23 million in unit sales in 2010. That is expected to rise to 30 million in 2011. North America dominated the Blu-ray market with 15 million in unit sales, with the format not yet available in all regions of the world.