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Following Christmas boom, half of all Britons use a tablet

Between 12 million and 13 million tablets were sold in the UK this year, research says, and soon half of all Britons will be using one.

We are a nation addicted to tablets, according to new research. Between 12 million and 13 million tablet PCs were sold in the UK this year, which was an increase of more than 50 per cent on 2012, according to research company Deloitte, the Telegraph reports. By the end of January, that should mean half of all Britons will own or have access to a tablet, which is up from 36 per cent in the summer.

Unsurprisingly, the recent slew of cheap slate PCs has fuelled this rise, with the devices regularly selling for less than £100. The likes of the Bush MyTablet from Argos, Avoca 7 from Carphone Warehouse, and the Tesco Hudl have brought tablets to the masses, meaning they're no longer the preserve of tech trendsetters.

Tiny tablets are on the up, says Paul Lee, Deloitte's head of technology, media and telecoms research. His research says that smaller tablets -- with screens smaller than 8.5 inches -- will soon overtake sales of their bigger brothers. By the end of March, there will be 165 million of these titchier tablets in use worldwide, compared to 160 million of those larger than 8.5 inches.

Predictably, the rise of tablets will see traditional laptops and portable games consoles suffer, as people opt for a 'do it all' device.

"Tablets have gained popularity with extraordinary speed, and manufacturers will have to work hard to stay on top of the evolution of the market," Lee said. "There appear to be more users and use cases for tablets than many had imagined. Getting the balance of form, function and price right will likely be a moving target during 2014, especially at the lower end of the market."

What do you think of the rise of budget tablets? And which slate PC is your device of choice for couch surfing? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.