(By Balachander) International Data Corp. (IDC) has boosted its tablet outlook for 2012, spurred by surging shipments of Android (GOOG) tablets and robust demand for Apple's (AAPL) new iPad mini.
IDC raised its forecast for worldwide tablet shipments to 122.3 million units from 117.1 million for 2012 and 172.4 million units from 165.9 million units for 2013.
"Android tablets are gaining traction in the market thanks to solid products from Google, Amazon, Samsung, and others," said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets at IDC. "And Apple's November iPad mini launch, along with its surprise refresh of the full-sized iPad, positions the company well for a strong holiday season."
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IDC said it currently expects Android's worldwide tablet share for 2012 to increase to 42.7 percent from 39.8 percent in 2011, while Apple's share will slip to 53.8 percent from 56.3 percent.
"Android tablet shipments will certainly act as the catalyst for growth in the low-cost segment in emerging markets given the platform's low barrier to entry on manufacturing," said Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers.
Long term, IDC expects Windows-based tablets - including Windows 8 and Windows RT - to grab share from both iOS and Android, growing from 1 percent in 2011 to 2.9 percent in 2012, reaching 10.2 percent in 2016.
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Meanwhile, IDC yet again reduced its forecast for eReaders for 2012 and beyond. IDC now expects eReader shipments to drop to 19.9 million units this year from 27.7 million units in 2011.
"While the front-lit eReader offerings from Amazon (AMZN) and Barnes & Noble (BKS) have captured the interest of a subset of consumers who prefer a dedicated eReader, most buyers are gravitating toward multi-use tablet products and finding a 'good enough' reading experience on these traditional back-lit tablets," IDC said.