Tablets--largely consisting of Apple's iPad--have become the main engine of growth for mobile broadband devices, according to a study released today by IHS iSuppli.
The firm estimates that 157.9 million mobile broadband devices, which consist of products including tablets, notebooks, Netbook computers, and electronic readers, will be sold this year. That's up nearly 60 percent from the 100.1 million units sold in 2010.
The consistently high rate of growth can be traced back to the burgeoning tablet market. In particular, consumers have snapped up the iPad with increasing frequency--Apple sold 9.25 million such devices in the most recent quarter.
It's unclear whether that success translates to the wave of companies with their own tablet offerings. Motorola Mobility is expected to shed some light on the progress of its Xoom tablet later today when it reports its second-quarter results.
IMS iSuppli expects the growth rate for mobile broadband devices to to slow, but remain high. Next year, it estimates that the market will grow 38.1 percent next year and 11 percent by 2015, when the market reaches more than 350 million units.
By 2015, the firm expects a majority of the mobile broadband devices will use 4G LTE as a connection.