Tablet PC sales will remain disappointing until manufacturers bring down unit prices, research has claimed.
According to analyst In-Stat/MDR the Tablet PC, which was designed to counteract sluggish commercial PC sales, has had mixed success at best.
While the form factor has been adopted in vertical markets, such as healthcare, real estate and insurance, it has been slow to take off in horizontal commercial markets because of slow-growing IT budgets.
"Many vertical markets were accustomed to pen-based computing, and saw the Tablet PC as giving them the flexibility of pen-based computing plus access to all software that runs on Microsoft's XP operating system," said Brian O'Rourke, senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR, in a statement.
"As a result, the vast majority of Tablet PCs that shipped in 2003 went to vertical applications."
Within horizontal markets, Tablet PCs have been particularly targeted at large enterprises.
But, according to O'Rourke, with limited IT budgets in the early part of this decade and forecasts for annual increases in the three per cent range over the next four to five years, enterprise IT managers have been hesitant to take a chance on a new PC form factor.
In-Stat/MDR predicts that, as Tablet PC prices come down and software offerings increase, interest will rise in 2005, with average selling prices falling below $2,000 for the first time.
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