iPad 2 launch primes explosive Australian tablet growth: IDC

Apple also expected to maintain smartphone dominance finds analyst firm

The imminent Australian launch of Apple's iPad 2 together with other second generation tablets later in 2011 are expected to stimulate growth in the tablet market by 85 per cent this year, according to IDC.

In its Media Tablet Special Report, the analyst firm estimated that 500,000 media tablets were shipped to Australia last year, with the first generation iPad dominating sales over other brands such as the Telstra T-Touch, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Optus My Tab.

IDC Australia analyst, Amy Cheah, said in a statement that tablet manufacturers would increasingly attempt to compete with Apple's iPad - the second generation of which will launch this Friday -in an attempt steal market share from the ubiquitous device.

Samsung is expected to launch a 10.1 inch Galaxy Tab with the Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system later this year, while the recently launched Motorola Xoom is considered a worthy competitor, though an Australian price is yet to be announced.

According to Cheah, media tablets could also pose a threat to the growth of other form factors in the local PC market.

The report, which surveyed 1933 Australian consumers, found that 27.6 per cent indicated they would buy an iPad or other tablet while 34.8 per cent said they would purchase a laptop or notebook.

“Although IDC research and the empirical evidence show that the majority of media tablets are currently embraced as complementary devices, they are eating into consumers' share of wallet,” Cheah said.

In related news, the analyst firm released stats for Australian smartphones which showed shipments surged 101 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2010, with 2.64 million devices shipped in total according to the Q4 Mobile Device Tracker.

Some 4.25 million mobile devices were shipped in Q4, with smartphones accounting for 62 per cent of all mobile phone sales, up 24 per cent from Q4 2009's penetration of 38 per cent.

Telecommunication market analyst, Mark Novosel, said Android is expected to overtake Symbian and become the number one smartphone operating system in Australia within the next few months with a market share of 40 per cent.

“The Apple OS will account for close to 30 per cent market share and Windows Phone is expected to see strong growth in coming years, with market share in excess of 20 per cent by the end of 2015," he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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