IDC: HP off to early lead in Tablet PC shipments

IDC: HP off to early lead in Tablet PC shipments

Hewlett-Packard (HP) held a slight lead over Fujitsu in worldwide shipments of Tablet PCs during December, according to research released by IDC.

About 72,000 units were sold in that time, IDC said.

HP had shipped about 17,000 units of its Compaq Tablet PC TC1000, compared to shipments of about 15,000 Stylistic ST4000 Tablets from Fujitsu, analyst with IDC, Alan Promisel, said. Toshiba America Information Systems' Portege 3500 was third (10,500 units) and Acer's TravelMate 100 came fourth (8000 units).

Tablet PC vendors launched their devices on November 7, 2002, in conjunction with Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet PC Edition launch that same day.

"For only six weeks, 70,000 units is pretty significant," Promisel said. "We're still at the very early stages of the early adopters"

Those early adopters had come mainly from users with specific needs for mobility such as health care workers, travelling salespeople and warehouse managers, he said.

Corporations were still evaluating the devices, and probably would not start adopting them in significant numbers for another six to 12 months, he said.

HP's strong marketing efforts and existing enterprise customer base helped it to the early lead, Promisel said. But Fujitsu's strength in delivering tablet-like products such as its pen-based Lifebook series for a number of years showed in its strong early performance.

The Compaq Tablet PC TC1000 is a convertible notebook device, while Fujitsu's product is a slate device. In November, analysts predicted that the convertible devices would be a better draw initially because of their resemblance to ultra-portable notebooks.

The keyboard on HP's device is detachable, allowing it to function both as a convertible notebook and slate device. Toshiba's product is a true convertible notebook, with a notebook display that swivels to cover the keyboard when used in tablet mode.

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