Tablet computer sales expected to top 55 million in 2011

The number of tablet or slate computers sold worldwide this year is expected to increase by nearly 200% to 55.7 million units according to recent report from DisplaySearch.

The firm also predicts the slate PC share of the overall mobile PC market, which also includes notebooks and mini-notes, will rise to nearly 35%, or 172.4 million units, by 2014. The total shipments of the mobile PC market are expected to reach 503.8 million units by 2014.

The firm also sees the tablet market becoming segmented by screen sizes with 7” wide, 10” standard, and 10” wide becoming the dominant screen sizes used by new products in the coming years.

The rapid growth of slates in coming years is expected to cannibalize the mini-note and notebook mobile PC categories, but this will vary by region. Cannibalization of mini-notes and notebooks by slates is expected to be most noticeable in markets such as North America where the percentage of households that already own PCs is the highest. In emerging markets, cannibalization is expected to be much lower because the percentage of homes owning a computer is much lower.

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