Global shipments of tablet computers are forecast to further surge in 2012 following the more than 68 million units that flooded the market in the past year, according to tech marketing research firm IDC.
For this year, the IDC predicted that tablet vendors will ship some 106 million units to the international market, improving by 54 percent from the total shipments that were recorded in the whole 12 months of 2011.
In the December quarter alone, global tablet shipments soared beyond the 28 million mark, sustaining the gadget's steady climb since its reinvention by Apple in 2010.
On March 16, Apple starts selling the third iteration of the market-leading iPad, prompting the IDC to revise its earlier projection of 88 million units to be shipped out for the current year.
IDC believes that the upward revision will be largely supported by the brisk movements out of the shelves by the new iPad version, noted mostly for its richer screen resolution and Apple's inclusion of the faster LTE internet connectivity.
Both iPad 1 and iPad 2 have so far sold close to 60 million units, IDC said.
Also, newer Android tablets, standing on the fourth upgrade of the mobile platform - the Ice Cream Sandwich - are expected to enter the market, led by the Transformer Prime by Asus and the bigger Galaxy Note 10.1 from Samsung.
Microsoft will later join the fray as the Windows-powered tablets were reportedly all set for launch by the second half of the year, with Nokia leading the vendors to try out the Metro features of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, optimised for both conventional PC and tablet computing experience.
IDC analysts attributed the rising tablet shipments to the device's incredible integration to normal human activities - from the simple leisure activities of enjoying online media contents via the gadget to the performance of crucial business operations.
According to the Associated Press, tablet computers, mainly iPads, have been deployed in commercial flights and schools as replacements for the bulky flight manuals and textbooks, delivering efficiency in the process.
But the rise of tablet computing will not spell the death of the PC industry, not yet at least, as Gartner predicted that while the sector's market share has been declining, it will post a four per cent growth this year.
PC vendors, Gartner said, have started refocusing their products on emerging markets as the allure of desktops and notebooks gradually waned in the developed nations.
The enterprise accounts that before have delivered the goods for PC maker were now slow to replace their ageing units and "most are just waiting for a compelling reason to upgrade," according to IDC research director Tom Mainelli.
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