Tablets are an important device for many. They fit a nice niche between a smartphone and computer, offering an experience neither can quite match. Reading, light gaming, and some productivity is often easier and better with a tablet. New research suggests big-name tablet makers will have 285 million tablets in circulation by the end of 2014.

The likes of Samsung and Apple promise to hold the lions’ share of the 285 million, though the research only notes they are mentioning “big brand” OEMs. Unfortunately, ABI research doesn’t specify which manufacturers they consider “big”. We should keep a few things in mind when considering this research.

ABI is noting these numbers as worldwide, but also breaks the US from the fray. According to their research, we’ll have 70 million tablets domestically, or one for every four persons. Recent demographics suggest the 70 million tablets is more like one for every five citizens, but that’s still an impressive number. Though the firm credits Apple with toppling the first domino of the tablet craze with the launch of the iPad, they point to Samsung as the potential big winner in 2014.

With a 20% gain in Q3 2013, ABI thinks Samsung is poised to have a big 2014 as well. On the back of their flagship devices and broadened tablet offerings, the Android kingpin could increase their holdings — or stranglehold — on the mobile market. Of course, that’s not the story of 2013. According to Jeff Orr, Senior Practice Director at ABI, “about 51% of the tablet installed base is coming from iOS and 40% Android when all is said and done in 2013.”

We should also point out that this number represents major OEMs, not the small-time tablet makers of the world. It’s also hard to discern if the likes of LG, who are coming on strong in the tablet market, are included. If the analysts are right, 2014 could be the year of the tablet.


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