While major electronics vendors from Samsung to Hewlett-Packard and Motorola are making giant "to-dos" over their iPad-competing tablet efforts, these devices actually rank lowest on Americans' shopping lists this year, Gartner revealed in a Feb. 17 study.
When polled about the devices they planned to purchase in 2011, the majority of Americans said they had their eyes on an open-source operating system (we're looking at you, Android) smartphone. Laptops ranked second, followed by desktops, feature phones, e-book readers and, in sixth place, tablets.
"Continued low retail pricing and widespread adoption of applications like Web browsing, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, GPS and games will continue to stimulate consumer demand," Hugues de la Vergne, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. He added that in 2010, "aggressive operator device subsidies and lower-cost monthly data plans" helped to drive smartphone purchases.
Expected to climb still higher, Gartner forecasts that U.S. smartphone sales will jump from 2010's 67 million units to 95 million units by year's end. By contrast, mobile PC shipments are expected to rise, during the same period, from 45.6 million units to 50.9 million units.
Tablets, according to research firm IDC, are expected to finish 2011 with 45 million units shipping and grow to nearly 71 million units in 2012.