Tablets that serve multiple purposes are going to see tremendous growth according to UK analyst firm Informa Telecoms and Media, as consumers choose them over dedicated e-readers such as Amazon’s (s amzn) Kindle. Tablet sales are projected to hit 50 million by 2014, a whopping increase of over 1200 percent over the 3.65 million to be sold this year.
Tablets based on the Android (s goog) operating system are showing in the IFA in Germany this week, and the Informa analysts predict the tablet category, kick-started by Apple’s (s aapl) iPad, will grab consumer’s dollars. These devices will serve multiple purposes, such as web surfing and social networking, that add value over the single-purpose e-readers. Most significantly, these tablets can read the same e-books as the dedicated e-readers from Amazon, Barnes & Noble (s bks) and Borders (s bgp) via apps that are already available for Android, iPhone and the iPad, eliminating the need for a dedicated e-reader.
Though some e-readers have integrated mobile broadband, that feature is limited, for the most part, to buying and downloading e-books. Tablets can use the data connection to do many things normally done on bigger computers. This is why mobile operators will be bringing tablets into product lineups, and device subsidies that are common to such offerings will bring the cost to consumers down to the e-reader level.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Irrational Exuberance Over E-Books?