3G+ enabled tablets will hit 68 million by 2015 as 3G users double, say new predictions out today.
This means ultimately that more than half of all tablets sold worldwide will come 3G or 4G ready, according to mobile analysts, Park Associates. A whopping 126 million slates are tipped to be sold globally by 2015.
This pales into comparison to the 16.5m that left the shelves in 2010, the year the first device created by iPad makers Apple saw the light of day.
2011 is to see the market really heat up with every tech co from HP to Blackberry all due to release their own take on the portable computing device.
The thinner 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen higher performance iPad 2, released just two weeks ago has already sold 2 million.
And it looks as if it will be all about content in the future, say the analysts, thanks to the diverse range of social networking activities ushered in by Facebook as well as users wishing to watch movies, TV programmes and games on the go.
Just under one third of slates sold last year contained embedded 3G. However, 4G will still be marginal, accounting for just 5 per cent, with 3G still the dominant technology at 47 per cent, in five years time.
“We are seeing strong consumer engagement in data-intensive services and activities, such as social networking, uploading photos to the Internet, and watching online video, on mobile phones,” said Jennifer Kent, a Parks Associates’ research analyst.
And tablets offer the step up from mobiles, “but with better visual and computing experiences.”
The report also states, “consumer demand for mobile data will increase further as carriers continue to deploy 3G and 4G networks around the world, enabling better user experiences and opening new markets to reliable mobile Internet access.”
Telstra recently announced its 4G wireless broadband that can deliver a full length movie in less than 2.5 minutes and VividWireless in partnership with Huawei are also testing LTE networks in Australia.
And the key challenge for carriers will be to convert this data usage into revenue, warn Parks.
“Carriers need to optimise network performance, be selective about subsidising mobile platforms, and monetise Wi-Fi assets in order to stay profitable,” said Harry Wang, director, mobile research.
“Additionally, carriers need to offer more pricing options with flexible rules to fit consumers’ access needs.”
The research firm’s latest report is entitled Mobile Broadband & Mobile Computing Devices.