BEANCOUNTERS at International Data Corporation (IDC) have announced a 28 per cent fall in tablet shipments worldwide to 7.2 million units in the first quarter.
It thinks that seasonal trends and the poor economic climate have led to low demand for the devices. Another factor that has had an effect is problems with supply chains.
Bob O'Donnell, VP of clients and displays at IDC said, "Like the PC market, Media Tablets had a bit of a challenging quarter in Q1, as concerns about general macroeconomic issues and the post-holiday letdown took a toll on demand."
It's not all bad for the tablet market, however, as IDC has raised its shipment forecast for this year by 3.1 million units to a total of 53.5 million. An analyst at IDC believes the strength in demand will come partly from the entrance of "competitive new devices in second half of 2011".
The dominant market leader, Apple's Ipad 2 has not met shipment expectations. This is down to issues with the supply of screens for the device and the pre-release announcement, which came weeks before it was actually available, according to IDC.
A big issue with tablet sales for vendors such as Samsung and Motorola has been consumers' reluctance to sign up for expensive data plans for 3G models. Even though these deals can mean the device is free, the total cost of the contract can be high.
O'Donnell believes that vendors using mobile operators as a distribution method will struggle, saying, "We expect the rest of the year to be much stronger, but we believe vendors who continue to focus on the telco channel for distribution will face serious challenges."
The e-reader market, which IDC looks at separately, also went through a similar decline in shipments to 3.3 million. The category's year on year growth was 105 per cent as the devices see continued popularity.
IDC forecasts the e-reader market to ship 16.2 million units this year worldwide. This is an increase of 24 per cent from 2010 figures. µ
Oh and it'll also help give aural pleasure
But it might still not be enough to make virtual reality super appealing
And a ridiculous competition
Now you can talk to your silly-looking earbuds too