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Issue #2003 - 11 (March 2003)
(Updated Mar. 31, 2003)


"PC Tablet Shipments Will Grow Considerably from 72000 in Q4" - Predicts IDC

Tablet PCs--tiny portable computers fitted with pens, touch screens and handwriting-recognition technology--first became available last November and are based on Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet PC Edition software.

"With only six weeks of potential shipments to record...and the form factor's relative infancy in the face of other competing, more established devices, IDC believes that initial shipment volume represents a good start at securing a role in the crowded mobile device arena," IDC said in a report.

The report comes as tablet PC manufacturers have been witnessing strong demand for the product. Top vendors Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba have said made before the devices' November launch.

Tablet PCs are still a fairly small segment of the overall notebook market. But the devices have so far been a bright spot for manufacturers, which are still feeling the effects of the PC market crash of 2001. The smaller machines have generated interest among the legal, real estate and health care industries, as well as from some consumers, executives from Toshiba and HP said.

IDC said HP's tablet PC shipments beat those of Fujitsu, which has more than 10 years of experience making a similar portable device. HP shipped more than 17,000 units worldwide last year, IDC said.

Significant adoption of tablet PCs by corporations "is still six to 12 months away," IDC said, "as IT departments continue to put tablets through rigorous testing processes prior to deployment."

Still, IDC expects solid growth this year, "driven by increased marketing efforts from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and Microsoft, a steady refining of product lines, and the development of new usage models that are attractive to a greater cross section of potential users."

The United States was the biggest market for tablet PC shipments, accounting for about half the total volume, IDC found. But Western Europe, Japan and the Asia-Pacific region also have strong potential for the product, said IDC analyst Alan Promisel. In Asia, that's partly because of the way tablet PCs make it easier to enter Asian language into a computer, he suggested. "Handwriting is a quicker input method than the keyboard for that region," Promisel said.

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory:  Tablet PC is a niche product fulfilling an important need in many vertical applications. It may not become the leading mobile device but it will succeed as a device where handwritten input is important.

 Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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