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2011: Rise of the tablet PC

business Updated: Jan 02, 2012 19:22 IST

If 2010 was the year of dual SIM mobile phones in India, it was the 'tablet PC' that walked away with the title of being the most sought after device in 2011, and technology giants Apple, Samsung and Research in Motion rushed to grab a share of the booming market.

Over the last few years, about a billion mobile phones were being sold annually, but it was the tablets that brought excitement to the world's second largest telecom market this year.

Be it the high-end tablet PCs like iPad, PlayBook and Galaxy Tab or the world's cheapest tablet Aakash, each one created a ripple in the market. And today, there are tablets in various sizes available in the market at different price points.

According to Frost & Sullivan, Indians are estimated to buy three lakh units of tablets in 2011 compared to a sales of about 60,000 tablet PCs in 2010.

The year started with a bang as Apple's iPad finally hit the Indian shores. Though the device was priced higher (between Rs 27,900 and Rs 44,900) than that in markets like the US, it was lapped up by Apple enthusiasts in the country.

Another major launch by Apple was that of the iPhone 4S. Though almost identical to its predecessor in looks, iPhone 4S has an artificial intelligence based assistant called Siri.

The price again played spoilsport as the iPhone 4S carried a hefty tag of Rs 44,500 for the 16GB version. The earlier model is available in India for Rs 34,500 (16GB).

2011 also saw other launches from the Apple stable like cloud service iCloud and operating system iOS 5. However, with the sudden demise of Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs, there have been concerns whether the company would be able to continue introducing winning products.

June witnessed Canadian firm Research in Motion, which offers the BlackBerry service, launching its 'PlayBook' in India at Rs 27,990 (16 GB).

Motorola Mobility India introduced its Android-based tablet PC 'Xoom' in the same month, while Taiwanese handset maker HTC introduced its 'Flyer' in India.

The battle of the tablets continued with Samsung launching its Galaxy Tab 730 (8.9-inch screen) and the much-awaited Galaxy Tab 750 (with 10.1-inch screen) in India, priced at Rs Rs 33,990 and Rs 36,200, respectively.

Even as the race to bring out the next "revolutionary" device continued, Samsung got tangled in legal battles over claims of "slavishly" copying Apple's device design.

As the year progressed, it was raining tablets in the Indian market as telecom operators also joined the bandwagon.