Tablets Taking Over, Analyst Says

Lots of people believe that tablets will replace desktop and laptop computers in the not-so-distant future; count Frank Gillett of Forrester Research as one. But his vote counts for a little more because his job is to forecast tech trends.

In a blog post, he ticks off the many advantages of tablets: they’re small and light (but not too small), have excellent battery life, have swift always-on capabilities, are ideal for casual sharing in meetings, have delightful delivery systems for consuming content, and in some instances can be used for meaningful content creation.

Because of the above, he predicts that tablets will become the preferred computing device for millions of people. He does note that Forrester maintains that 2 billion PCs will still be in use by 2016, so tablets won’t destroy the PC market; still, tablet sales will cannibalize laptop sales while actually boosting desktop sales, as plenty of people will still need the juice of a bigger machine for work (and play).

ASUS Transformer Pad 300

That said, he sees tablet sales rising from 50 million in 2011 to 375 million in 2016, leaving a total installed base of over a quarter billion tablets, with businesses and emerging markets driving sales.

It’s hard to disagree with Gillett’s assessment; as we’ve seen with devices such as the iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy series, and others, tablets are getting powerful. We’re seeing quad-core processors, HD cameras, 4G LTE performance, and other delicious capabilities. At the same time, prices are dropping--for example, the newly-released ASUS Transformer Pad 300 costs $100 less than its predecessor.

The low prices coupled with the increased capabilities are exciting for another reason: as the cost barrier to entry drops, many, many more people worldwide will be able to participate in the computing world, and that’s an exciting proposition.