Why buy an e-reader when tablets are available?
While much of the discussion surrounding tablets has focused on the threat they pose to the PC market, the impact on e-reader sales may be far more noticeable.
When media tablets emerged on the scene last April with the introduction of Apple's iPad, computer users were effectively offered a fancier e-reader. The device is similar in shape, but with a larger, touchscreen display, web browsing capabilities and access to hundreds of thousands of mobile applications. Since then, these features have only become more advanced, as other manufacturers have continued to improve tablet functionality in order to compete in a now-crowded market.
For consumers, this means tablets may be the future of reading. Of course, e-readers remain popular in the market, with lower prices and high storage capability attracting some consumers. However, once tablet users begin to realize they can download a book, email their friends about it and browse the web for information on similar books all from the same device, that appeal may push tablets beyond e-readers in the digital reading market.
Experts in the consumer technology industry foresee this trend taking shape during the coming years. Market research firm In-Stat predicts that tablet shipments will reach 172.4 million by 2014, while e-reader shipments will stand at 40 million.