Apple Inc. and other makers of tablet computers shipped nearly 18 million of the devices worldwide in 2010 and are expected to ship 50 million in 2011, according to research group IDC.
The market researchers said Thursday that Apple captured 83 percent of the market last year with its iPad. The company is expected to hang on to 70 percent to 80 percent of tablet shipments this year, even as other competing tablets reach the market.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, IDC said tablet makers shipped about 10.1 million of the keyboardless touch-screen computers. Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy Tab was the iPad's primary competitor during the holidays, capturing more than 17 percent of shipments in the last three months of the year. However, the shipment figures indicate only how many tablets Samsung and others sent to retailers. The Galaxy Tab's high price and the allure of the iPad meant consumers were less interested in Samsung's gadget, IDC said.
IDC, which also measures shipments of e-book readers such as Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle, said that industry shipped 12.8 million of the devices last year, with 6 million coming in the holiday quarter. The annual total was more than four times the number of e-readers shipped in 2009.
For all of 2010, Amazon's Kindle accounted for about 48 percent of the market, but Pandigital, Barnes & Noble Inc., Sony Corp. and other competitors' e-readers have gained popularity.