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February 1st, 2013

Good news for touchscreen glass: Tablet device market expected to hit 72 million by 2018

Published on February 1st, 2013 | By: Peter Wray

The Kindle Fire I received last Christmas, making me a happy participant in 17-million-member trend. Credit: ACerS.

If it feels like iPads, Kindle Fires, Galaxys, and similar tablet devices are everywhere, you are right. If you feel like you are the only one without one, you are nearly right.

One measure of tablet devices trends is to look at activation levels on Christmas Day. Historically, more devices are activated on Dec. 25 than any other day of the year.

The trend held for Christmas 2012, but blew previous records out of the water, according to an analysis by Flurry, a company specializing in mobile app analytics. Christmas Day 2012 saw 17.4 million activations compared to 6.8 million activations on Christmas Day 2011 (itself a record-breaker). That’s an increase of more than 150 percent!

With so many tablets out there, what are the prognosticators saying about the future for tablets?

A new report by Transparency Market Research predicts that the market is heading up, up, up. The report, “Tablet PC Market—U.S. Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth And Forecast, 2012-2018,” offers these numbers and estimates.

• 34.2 million units: US tablet shipments in 2012
• 71.6 million units: Estimated US tablet shipments by 2018
• 80%: iOS market share in 2010
• 2017: Year shipments of Android base tablets are expected to surpass iOS tablets
• 18%: Estimated annual growth rate of corporate use from 2012-2018

On this last point, based on the huge number of iPads I saw at recent conferences, my impression is that the BYOD (bring your own device) trend is growing fast and that employees are adapting much faster than their employers.

Right now, the 9.6 inch and 11 inch formats are the most popular, but the 8 inch format is gaining in popularity. Despite the smaller size, however, unit sales in the tens of millions still represents a huge volume of touchscreen glass that will be needed.

Peter keeps close track of products like Corning’s Gorilla Glass, Willow Glass, and other glass innovations for use in tablets. It would appear that the market is nearly insatiable, at least for the next five years.


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