Despite the global market volatility, there is still certitude in the strength of tablet PC demand worldwide. This year tablet PCs have been noteworthy not only because of the continued strong demand for Apple's break-through iPad line (now in roughly its 15th month since introduction), but also because of the strength of competitors' tablet PCs.
There are solid reasons beyond innovative consumer interfaces that push Apple's iPad to the top of the tablet PC line-up, as reviewed in this recent iSuppli review of the Apple value chain and teardown analyses and this analysis of branding success.
With Apple still holding the front-runner position for tablet PC adoption, the Android-based tablets are rising quickly as demand for multi-tasking and highly portable devices increases. According to a recent DigiTimes report on 8-8-11, "[…] Apple's iPad shipments are expected to achieve strong growth of 55% in 2012, shipments of non-Apple tablet PCs in 2012 are forecast to see an even better increase of 134% on year, according to market watchers." These 2012 penetration rate forecasts translate into roughly 45 million units for Android based tablet PCs and roughly 55million for Apple's iPad, according to the same DigiTimes report.
Presently, amid the steady demand for this CE and enterprise device, is a new demand motivator, price competition. HP recently reduced the price of its tablet PC in response to Acer's cut in July. The reasoning behind these cuts, according to another DigiTimes report also on 8-8-11, is not due to demand itself, but due to "[a] high degree of homogenization in hardware and software specifications, including the adoption of Nvidia Tegra 2 CPUs by over 70% of non-iPad models and the dominance of Android."
While the macro economic scene is of grave concern presently, the continued demand and forecast for tablet PCs worldwide is strong and relatively unwavering. By the time we get to 2013, there will be new questions regarding penetration saturation, yet by then the further trend favoring multi-tasking, multi-capable devices will continue the favoring of tablet PC, or any new, similar devices (see this recent report from iSuppli regarding the CE favoring of multifunctional devices).