Have tablets finally arrived as top computing device?

Tablets aren't really new and they weren't invented by Apple. Yes, Apple may have perfected the art and Amazon and Google gave us choices, but have these devices really matured to the point of surpassing notebook computers in the market already? It depends on when you ask an analyst that question.

If you asked NPD DisplaySearch in July then you would have been told this monumental event would occur in 2016. If you asked that same question today the answer would be much sooner -- happen this Black Friday.

How quickly things change in this industry.

Now, according to NPD DisplaySearch, courtesy senior analyst Richard Shim, tablets are likely to exceed the "14.6 million notebooks and mini-notes that are expected to ship" this period. In fact, he predicts they will far surpass notebooks with 21.5 million shipments.

Also, Shim barely mentions the Apple product other than saying that it "had about 65-percent market share in 2011". How times change. The latest report bases this turnaround on "Google’s $199 Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire 7".

Of course all of these fantastical numbers are being applied to North America only, while worldwide tablet sales aren't predicted to surpass computers until 2015 -- for now.

As for Black Friday in the United States being the catalyst, the report cites the number of homes that already have computers and are looking for something different.

Shim cites that "over 70 percent of US households have PCs, putting the U.S. amongst the countries with highest PC penetration rates in the world, and making new PC purchases less necessary for consumers. He goes on to state that "consumer preference has shifted from notebooks to tablets in the US".

Yes the Nexus 7 and 10 and Kindle Fire HD tablets are getting some attention, but no mention is made of new Windows 8 tablets such as the Surface -- although, it isn't clear if those devices were counted among tablets or as PC's. Shim also gives little regard to the iPad despite still being a top-seller.

Will tablets really surpass notebooks already? Tune in next time when the reports change again.

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