IDC: Windows Tablets Sales Will Have a Slow Start

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With continued consumer demand growing, market-analysis firm International Data Corporation (IDC) sees a new competitor for Apple’s ever-popular iPad: tablets running Windows.

Microsoft SurfaceIDC has only recently added Windows-based devices in its tablet predictions. This includes both Windows 7 tablets currently shipping and Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets set to debut later this year. According to IDC’s analysts, the Microsoft OS-powered tablets will only account for 4% of the market in 2012. Still, the upcoming devices will gain some traction — the company expects Windows to hold 11% of the market by 2016, eating into both Apple and Android sales.

“Tablets running Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 and RT operating systems, including the company’s own Surface tablets, will add some momentum,” said Jennifer Song, research analyst for IDC’s Worldwide Trackers. “However, we expect shipments to remain low in the fourth quarter as high prices and consumer confusion around these devices will limit their appeal.”

Short-Term Predictions

“Despite ongoing economic concerns in most regions of the world, consumers continue to buy tablets in record numbers and we expect particularly strong demand in the fourth quarter,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices at IDC. “Apple leads the market with its iPad, and we expect its dominance to continue in the second half of the year. Still, we believe there is room in the market for others to find success, and new Android- and Windows-based products shipping in the coming months will give consumers plenty of buying options during the holiday season.”

In the latest update of the Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, IDC boosted its previous approximate for the last quarter of 2012 from 107 million units for the year to 117 million units, highlighting “robust’ customer desires and strong expectations for the market as its reasons for doing so.

With this year bringing a slew of new slates, such as the Microsoft SurfaceGoogle Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD, not to mention the highly-speculated impending iPad Mini, it is likely the abundance of inexpensive tablets and the upcoming heightened shopping season that persuaded the company to up its estimates.

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