A new forecast by a telecoms analyst shows that shipments of these devices will increase from 14.2 million at the end of 2010, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 60 per cent.
The portable devices tracked in Ovum's forecast are those that use 'lite' OSs' such as Apple's iOS, Google's Android and RIM's BlackBerry Tablet OS and include tablet devices such as the iPad and the BlackBerry PlayBook as well as clamshell and convertible form factors.
Tony Cripps, Ovum principal analyst, commented: "This huge growth in shipments will be dominated by tablet-style technologies such as the iPad and will mainly be driven by consumers buying devices to complement their smartphones. This will either be as a 'third device' where there is a high-penetration PCs or the primary computing device where there is low-penetration.
"Nonetheless, the greater ease of use of smartphones for the majority of consumers means that shipments of the tablet and other 'lite' OS devices will not dramatically erode the growing demand for smartphones. This is especially pertinent given their obvious similarity in hardware and software technology."
According to Ovum's predictions, North America and Western Europe will experience the greatest penetration of tablet and other mobile internet devices by 2015, with 23 per cent and 19 per cent of global shipments, respectively.
However, the largest regional slice of shipments by the end of the period - due to the size of the potential addressable markets and the relatively low penetration of PCs (desktop and portable) - will be the Asia Pacific region, which will account for 35 per cent of all such device shipments in 2015.
Ovum's figures also suggest that by the end of the forecast period, Google's operating systems, primarily Android but also likely to include Chrome OS, will dominate the market, pushing current frontrunner Apple's iOS into second place.
Tony explained: "We believe that Apple constituted 90 per cent of the market in 2010. However, by 2015 we expect this market share to drop to 35 per cent and Google's market share to rise to 36 per cent. Other software platforms, such as RIM's Blackberry Tablet OS and HP's web OS, will find some success but between them all they will only account for 29 per cent of the market.
"This is because the dominant software platforms, Apple and Google, will attract the most attention form the cream of the developers. As a result they will have the best, most talked about applications and content and, when all is said and done, this is what people will consider when making a purchasing decision."
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