The race to be king in the tablet PC market is heating up. Hewlett Packard (HPQ), Dell (DELL), Lenovo (LNVGY.PK), Sony (SNE) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK) have all displayed their tablet PC offerings at the 2010 Consumer Electronics show. Microsoft (MSFT) is expected to release a courier tablet PC within the next few months. All of these companies are competing to be the first to market in the sizzling hot tablet PC market. The game changer however is expected to be Apple’s (AAPL) “iSlate” tablet PC expected to launch in the next few weeks.
The tablet PC market is important because it is seen as the next major growth market in computer hardware. Tablet PCs are smaller, more portable devices than netbooks. Netbooks are still relatively new devices and are expected to surpass 14 billion in sales next year. The tablet market is expected to take in over 5 billion dollars in revenue in its first year. That’s impressive. Tablet sales could increase profits significantly for many tech firms. Now you can see why tech firms are scrambling to be the first to market with their tablets.
The reason that I think that Apple’s iSlate will fare the best is because of Apple’s recent history with its product offerings. From the iPod to the iPhone to the iMac, Apple has wowed consumers with its innovation in product development. Apple products always seem to possess unique features that differentiate their products from competitors. Consumers have ponied up the cash for Apple’s niche products even during the recession of the past few years. I don’t expect this year to be any different.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimates that Apple could add over 1.2 billion dollars in revenue in year 1. That’s a 3% increase in revenue from tablet PC sales alone.
While the tablet market is large enough for many players to get a piece of the pie, expect Apple to outperform competitors as they have done in the past. I wouldn’t chase Apple’s stock at its current price of $210 per share but I would be a buyer on a pullback to $185.