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Business | March 13, 2012

Screen size is leading indicator of tablet usage

Apple ran away with the lead in the tablet market following its April 2010 iPad launch.
Competitors scrambled to keep up and many launched their own tablet products in a range of screen sizes, as opposed to Apple with its one 9.7-inch iPad. For example, Amazon successfully launched the 7.0” Kindle Fire, which is tied to Amazon’s content and services; and Samsung rounded out its tablet lineup with the 7.0”, 8.9” and 10.1” Galaxy Tabs.

“As the tablet market continues to heat up, manufacturers are striving to differentiate next-generation products to compete with the iPad,” according to Stephanie Ethier, Senior Analyst. “Screen size has emerged not only as a key differentiator, but also the leading indicator of different tablet usages. New In-Stat research highlights top tablet usage scenarios based on device screen size and provides market insight based on the different tablet form factors. For example, tablets with smaller form factors in the 3.5" to less than 7.0" range best serve entertainment needs that are typically considered complementary to everyday activities like commuting, exercising, and other on-the-go activities.”

Recent research findings include:

- Worldwide shipments for tablets with screen sizes between 3.5" to less than 7.0", more commonly known as portable media players, will decline throughout the forecast period to 15.6 million in 2016.

- Despite anticipated price erosion, revenue in the 7.0" to less than 8.5" form factor represents one of the brightest spots in the tablet market due to anticipated Amazon Kindle Fire demand.

- Due to continued iPad success, tablets in the 9.7” to less than 11” form factor category will represent 65% of worldwide tablet shipments.

- The bill of materials for a 9.7” tablet will fall to US$246 by 2016 due primarily to strong consumer demand and declining display costs.

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