Media tablet shipments in the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) region are all set to grow from 1.3 million units in 2009 to 9.6 million units in 2014, according to research firm IDC. This growth represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 65 per cent. IDC has identified Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore as key nations for media tablet sales in the near term. Both China and South Korea will offer major opportunities for vendors towards the end of the forecast period. Multi-function entertainment devices The media tablets feature 7-12 inch color displays, harness ARM-based processors and use operating systems such as Apple's iOS and Google's Android OS. Apple's iPad is currently the hot favourite among media tablets, but IDC forecasts that both PC and mobile phone makers are making efforts to introduce more such products in the market. Bryan Ma, associate vice president, Asia Pacific devices and peripherals research at IDC said that although media tablets are set to occupy a space between smart phones and portable PCs, they will not replace either. In addition to complementing PCs as media consumption devices, media tablets will allow seamless sharing of content with mobile phones. Ma added that media tablets are currently marketed as multi-function entertainment devices, and their success will depend greatly on the availability of local applications and content. Asian brands Commenting further on media tablets, Ma said these devices are certainly popular right now but the coming months will be critical for the category's evolution. This is significant because early adopters will evaluate the usefulness of the product. E-Book content is not as readily available in Asia as in Western countries, but Ma notes that simple Web surfing and gaming apps could still provide enough of a value proposition to allow the category to move forward here. "IDC remains cautiously optimistic about the longer term potential of the media tablet segment. In Asia, in particular, the iPad is likely to spark off intense competition from Asian brands, leading to a wealth of offerings in varying price tiers," said Ma. "With operators migrating towards 4G networks in the coming years, media tablets will further become a strategic vehicle for increased mobile data usage. There are certainly roadblocks, but the media tablet appears here to stay."
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