The demand for tablet devices may be levelling out as global shipments of the devices fell by more than 28 per cent during the first quarter of 2011, according to research firm IDC.
Shipments during the period fell from 10 million to 7.2 million.
However, an alternative explanation for the drop is that customers are waiting until the next batch of tablets is launched, expected in the second half of 2011.
The fact that IDC has raised its shipment forecast for 2011 to 53.5 million units from a previous projection of 50.4 million units supports this explanation.
According to the research, Apple's iPad and iPad 2 continue to dominate the tablet market, with other vendors struggling to get market share. However, even Apple's shipments for the quarter were well below expectations.
"Although media tablet sales were not as high as expected in Q1 2011 due to slower consumer demand, overall economic conditions and supply-chain constraints, we believe the entrance of competitive new devices in the second half of 2011 will boost demand. [We predict] sales of more than 53 million units for the year and continual growth long term," said Jennifer Song, IDC research analyst.