IDC: Smartphones, tablets will dominate computing in 2011

Smartphones sales are expected to rise 22 percent next year, according to research firm IDC, as smartphones and tablets eat up a greater share of the computing market.

According to IDC's 2011 forecast, smartphone sales will reach 330 million worldwide next year. In September, IDC predicted that smartphone sales will round out at 269.6 million by year-end, an estimate which was 10 percent higher than IDC had previously predicted. IDC's 2010 smartphone growth prediction represents a 55 percent jump from 2009.

In addition, IDC said that media tablet sales will reach 42 million in 2011. The market is becoming increasingly crowded with vendors looking to challenge Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. IDC said Apple will continue to lead the market next year, but that low-cost options could take off in emerging markets. Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), Motorola (NYSE:MOT), Hewlett-Packard, LG and others all plan to release tablets next year.

U.S. wireless carriers have embraced tablets for the holiday shopping season, though the iPad and Samsung's GalaxyTab are the only two major competitors in the consumer market so far.

IDC's tablet forecast is on the lower end of some other estimates. Research firm Gartner expects tablet sales to jump from 19.5 million this year to 54 million in 2011. ARM Holdings CEO Warren East said in November that tablet sales could range from 20 million to 60 million units in 2011, though he expected sales to be at the higher end of that range.

"The PC-centric era is over," the IDC report declared. The report said within the next 18 months, non-PC devices running software will outsell PCs.

For more:
- see this release
- see this NYT blog post

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