Tablets to double e-reader sales this year
Both tablet computers and e-readers arrived on the scene a few short years ago, but the former have proven themselves to be the more attractive option, with sales expected to more than double those of e-readers in 2011.
In a November 2011 report, analyst firm Juniper Research estimates that tablet sales will reach 55.2 million units by the year's end. In contrast, e-reader sales are expected to total 25 million.
Despite the wide margin, e-readers are not likely to be out of the game any time soon. According to Juniper, e-reader sales will nearly triple by 2016, reaching 67 million units. This is largely due to the declining cost of e-readers, which has fallen significantly since the introduction of the tablet. Manufacturers are also expanding the functionalities of e-readers -- by adding touchscreen technology in some upcoming models, for example -- which too is helping the devices grow.
However, it is unlikely that e-readers will ever catch up with tablets. Just as e-reader prices are dropping, so are tablet costs. Additionally, tablet computers seem to be borrowing some technology from e-readers as well, such as the inclusion of electronic ink in upcoming models.
Though the two devices are very different in nature, they will likely compete for much of the same audience this holiday season. Analysts from several firms expect both tablets and e-readers to be among the most sought-after gifts this year.