The latest May edition of the “LCD Industry Tracker—Tablet” from information and analytics provider IHS, which covers screen manufacture for tablet devices, confirms that the world’s tablet addiction shows no signs of tailing off.

If anything, it’s accelerating.

IHS’ latest upgraded forecast predicts 262 million tablet displays to ship in 2013, a 69 percent increase on the 155 million shipped in 2012.


In other words, the tablet market is not far off from doubling within one year, and could still do so if actual shipments exceed the IHS prediction. According to IHS, this acceleration is being driven by a structural shift in the tablet market that puts more and more impetus behind the no-brand or white-label Chinese tablets that we now see flooding chain store shelves.

tablets“Competitive dynamics in the tablet market have changed dramatically this year as Chinese white-box smartphone makers have entered the tablet market in droves,” said Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays, in an IHS release. “These companies are producing massive quantities of low-end tablets that appeal to consumers in China and other developing economies. Because of this, the white-box manufacturers are driving up demand for tablet panels.”

This could be bad news for Apple, already seeing its global market share eaten into by Android’s relentless growth. Needless to say, almost all of that 69 percent year-on-year growth for 2013 will be in Android’s favor. And white-box tablets are definitely the flavor of the month.

From IHS comes this further explanation:

“Unbranded tablet makers purchased 40 percent of all tablet panels in April, up from just 17 percent in the first quarter of 2012. The boom in white-box tablets is being driven by the introduction of turnkey designs offered by processor makers. The designs make it easy for new, inexperienced market entrants to offer tablet products. The Chinese white-box manufacturers hold certain advantages over the major incumbent tablet manufacturers. The white-box manufacturers are able to produce tablets at lower cost, more quickly and with greater flexibility in production. These companies also have the capability to manufacture both unbranded tablets, and make products for the major brands on a contract manufacturing basis.”


Interestingly, while optimal screen sizes for e-readers appear to be gaining a lead over larger screens, eight-inch screens also seem to be gaining popularity over the now-established seven-inch size.

“Shipments of smaller 8- and 9-inch tablet displays will rise by nearly 200 percent in 2013. In contrast, larger displays in the 9-, 10- and 11-inch range will suffer a 5 percent decline,” notes IHS, but adds, “the 8-inch panels are becoming an increasingly large segment of the tablet market, with a display area more appealing to users than the 7-inch size … IHS expects a substantial market share for the 8-inch by the end of this year.”

So a media planet already rocked by the transformational influence of tablet technology could see even more dramatic industry development by end 2013.

Your tech doctor’s prescription? Keep on taking the tablets.


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