Back in April, Gartner forecasted that worldwide media tablet sales to end users would be 118.9 million units this year, and indicated that this is a 98% increase from 2011 sales of 60 million units.
That same month, Forrester predicted that tablets will become the primary computing device, not because of their power, but their convenience. Their estimate brings tablet sales to 375 million units by 2016.
Now imagine that estimate in light of what’s rumored to be coming down the pipeline, including, of course, the iPad Mini. Along with this most reported on rumor, there are several other new tablets that have been the subject of reports.
Many of these rumors originate from somewhat questionable sources, and are fueled by pictures that allegedly come straight out of the manufacturing plants in China, while some appear to be started by insiders on the corporate end of things.
While Mobile Enterprise has lots of connections in its network, they don’t include clandestine spies or plants inside companies who provide tips on such things. Nonetheless, we enjoy the anticipation and buzz about the tablet market and, with that in mind, have put together an overview from selected (reliable) sources of tablets rumored to be in the works.
After several missteps with the iPhone 5 (maps, scratches and camera haze), will the iPad Mini live up to the hype? Apparently, Apple thinks so. The device has not even been officially announced yet (Oct. 17), but The Wall Street Journal reported earlier in the month that it was already being produced.
This week, WSJ blogger Lorraine Luk wrote: “Some component suppliers to Apple in Asia say they have received orders to make more than 10 million units of the smaller tablets in the fourth quarter.”
There are several supposed images and renderings of the device on the web, and as far as features, various guesses have been repeated and include:
- 7.85 inches in size
- Smaller dock port
- No retina display (Think iPad2)
- Price point of less than $300
HTC Corp is actually the fifth-largest smartphone maker, but the company is struggling. An earnings release from Monday, Oct. 8 showed that the company’s Q3 profit fell 79%. This is on the heels of a new smartphone release - HTC One X+ - and on top of the rumored “phablet.”
GSMArena, the mobile phone information site, featured an image and some specs of the yet unannounced device. According to the site, “Currently the device is only known by its DIX codename which, when put together with the red stripe and naming history of HTC, could coincide with Droid Incredible X.”
If built correctly, GSMArena believes it will “be a prime candidate to run the newly-unearthed Galaxy Note II out of its sweet spot.” And a subsequent report suggested that the HTC device could be the “next Google Nexus 5.”
When contacted by Mobile Enterprise, a representative from HTC said the company could not comment on the rumor.
“There was no mention of a tablet from Nokia at all, but it seems that a rumor has appeared to make its rounds online, touting that Nokia themselves is already working on a Windows RT tablet. “After all, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop never did deny that the company he helms would be rolling out a tablet device, but rather, did stress the fact that Nokia is monitoring the tablet market closely,” says ubergizmo blogger Edwin Lee.
Some speculators say that Microsoft would be foolish to choose Nokia, who has never been in the tablet market, while other reports have the tablet in question already in beta use by Microsoft. The company did, after all, announce the Surface tablet earlier this year.
Though there was no mention of an upcoming RIM tablet at the BlackBerry Jam, an update for PlayBook was announced. Yet, just a week later, it’s rumored that the device has been removed from the shelves and many online stores, implying that a replacement is on the way.
It almost goes without saying what all this means to the enterprise — more technology for IT to support, further consumerization of IT and more devices for “BYO.” It’s a crowded market, and we only anticipate more competition in the next year.