09:09 AM

Tablet PCs Headed For Broader Use, Study Says

Lower prices, a better operating system and a new, smaller form factor will spur greater adoption, a new study predicts.

Tablet PCs have had mixed success after three years on the market but sales should start growing as they start appealing to more users, claims a study released Tuesday by market research firm In-Stat.

Worldwide sales of Tablet PCs totaled about $1.2 billion in 2004 driven by sales in specific market niches such as health care and real estate, the study said. However, the study predicted that sales will grow to $5.4 billion in 2009 because, as prices come down, the devices will become more popular to more users.

"Broad horizontal corporate markets should start to make an impact on the market in 2005, as average selling prices fall well below $2,000," In-Stat analyst Brian O'Rourke said in a statement. "A combination of greater Tablet PC software availability and larger form factors that directly address the corporate market should help Tablet PC sales."

In addition, sales of the devices will benefit from the availability of the Tablet PC operating system based on the Windows Vista platform, In-Stat said. It added that sales will further be spurred by a new form factor that uses the Tablet PC operating system, which Microsoft dubbed Ultra Portable 2007.

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