Branded tablet shipments will reach 200 million units this year, which represents a growth of 20 per cent from 166 million shipments in 2013, according to a report from ABI Research.

The report also showed that 2014 is a pivotal year for tablets as the traditional markets leading computing and CE deployments reach a tipping point and give way to growth regions. “The most mature markets, including North America, Western Europe, Japan and South Korea, are yielding to other regions, like Latin America, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, where the connectivity infrastructure and distribution channels are coming of age.”

With more choices than ever for mobile computing, consumers and businesses are forecast to weigh the role of tablets along with ultraportable PCs and large screen smartphones (the so-called phablets) to satisfy their communications and computing needs. But 2014 will be anything but status quo for tablet suppliers. One of the greatest opportunities this year is for development, manufacturing and marketing of tablets on a regional and even local level, which shakes up the vendor ecosystem of the past four years, the study indicates. Partnerships and deals struck this year are expected to be key for the next few years of tablet adoption.

Since 2010, the tablet market has been led by North America and its affinity with Apple’s iPad. North America is expected to drop below 50 per cent of all branded tablet shipments for the first time. Continued efforts by Apple, Samsung, and other OEM vendors to find favor in growth markets will result in new distribution channels for retail, network operators and e-commerce.

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