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iPad competitors place strain on parts suppliers


The Apple iPad kicked off a tablet revolution in 2010 that promises to explode in 2011. Global tablet shipments are expected to triple in this upcoming year as competing manufacturers rush to produce a variety of slate devices to compete with the iPad. According to IHS iSuppli, this plethora of tablets will disrupt the global display industry, leading to both shortages and excess inventories over the next 12 months. In an attempt to meet anticipated demand, display manufacturers will produce a variety of screens in different configurations. Market forces will cause some displays to sell briskly, while others will sell poorly. Inventory that is leftover will be scrapped or sold at a heavy discount.

The tablet market in 2011 will be comprised of a wide variety of devices from large manufacturers (like HP and Dell) as well small manufacturers (like Viliv and Notion Ink). The total volume produced is expected to reach a staggering 57.6 million units, up from 17.1 million in 2010. The bulk of these devices will be powered by some flavor of Android including the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 Honeycomb. RIM is also expected to jump on the tablet bandwagon with its QNX-powered BlackBerry PlayBook, and HP reportedly has a webOS tablet in the works. In the face of this growing competition, Apple should remain confident as the iPad is projected to retain its title as market leader for at least the next two years.

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