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Tablets Will Sell Well, Be Trashed Often

Forrester is predicting an Apple-flavored tablet boom driven in part by rapid replacement.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Teardown
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Slideshow: Samsung Galaxy Tab Teardown

In a report that appears to be tailor-made for the opening of the CES trade show later this week, research firm Forrester is predicting that tablet sales will more than double in 2011.

2011 has been declared the year of the tablet by so many writers that one might be forgiven for seeing a conspiracy to sell the device of the moment.

Ostensible certainty about tablet sales is largely due to the number of tablet-related launches expected at CES later this week, and to Apple's proof-of-concept, its popular iPad. 2010 was the year of the iPad, in case anyone asks.

Sadly for many tablet makers showing off their wares at CES, Forrester sees Apple continuing to dominate the year of the tablet. The firm expects 24.1 million tablets will be sold in 2011, mostly by Apple.

"Of those sales, the lion's share will be iPads, and despite many would-be competitors that will be released at CES, we see Apple commanding the vast majority of the tablet market through 2012," said analyst Sarah Rotman Epps in a blog post.

At the same time, Forrester sees tablets being dumped for newer models more frequently than computers. Rotman Epps likens the replacement paradigm to that of MP3 players or iPhones, often upgraded within a year, rather than desktop PCs, which may be kept for several years.

Initially, this trend, if it actually materializes, may not burden landfills: "[M]any first-gen iPads will end up entertaining the kids in the back of the car while Mom and Dad get the shiny new (likely Facetime-compatible) model," Rotman Epps predicts.

But if torrid tablet sales turn out to be more than a passing fad, 2011 could mark the beginning of many years of tablet tossing.

The consumer electronics industry recycled 200 million pounds of equipment in 2009, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

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