Tablets: Fad or phenomenon?
When the first tablet computer hit the market in 2010, a great deal of enthusiasm surrounded the technology. Despite this instant popularity, many were still unsure whether the new device would last.
Now that tablets have been around for a while, it seems appropriate to once again consider whether they are simply a fad or a technological phenomenon.
The numbers speak for themselves. According to research firm IHS iSuppli, 17.4 million tablet computers shipped in 2010. By the end of 2011, this number is expected to increase to 58.9 million. IHS forecasts 275.3 million units to be sold in 2015 -- which will put tablets in the same ballpark as traditional desktop and laptop computers.
Beyond sales is the progress of tablet functionality. A new tablet seems to arrive every other week, boasting a slew of new features and expanding on the capabilities of its predecessors. Many electronics manufacturers and software developers are adjusting their business strategies to cater to tablets, evidence that the technology industry itself sees a future in these new devices.
The odds that tablets will sustain their current level of hype are slim. However, given the projected sales and the ever-expanding role the new devices play, it appears tablets are here to stay.