Industry tracker Deloitte predicts the tablet computer market will boom this year with tens of millions of people deciding the notepad-sized devices are "just right" for their needs.
"This Goldilocks of devices – not too big, not too small – is expected to offer an appealing balance of form and function going forward," the market analysis firm said, referring to the well-known children's story.
Tablet computers "may turn out to be 'just right' for many users in 2010," Deloitte said. The forecast bodes well for iPhone, iPod and Macintosh computer maker Apple, which is hosting an event in San Francisco on January 27 to unveil its "latest creation", which is hotly rumoured to be a tablet computer resembling an oversized iPod Touch.
The Cupertino, California-based company did not supply any further details about the invitation-only event.
According to various reports, Apple is poised to launch a colour multimedia device that allows users to browse the web, listen to music, watch movies or television shows and also serve as an electronic book and newspaper reader.
Publishing powerhouse HarperCollins was reported to be in talks with Apple regarding providing digital literature for reading on a tablet device. Apple's tablet is expected to have a 10- to 11-inch screen, slightly larger than typical devices currently on the market.
"With a new form factor and significant processing capacity, connected portable devices will likely be purchased by tens of millions of people in 2010," Deloitte predicted. "Called Net tablets, or netTabs, these devices have an advantage over smartphones – which are small for watching videos or web browsing – and notebooks, netbooks, and ultra-thin PCs, which are too heavy, or expensive."
Improvements in graphics, processing power, and wireless broadband internet availability are making tablets more attractive for people on the move, according to analysts.
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