Shortages of some displays and excess inventory of others are being forecast as makers struggle to satisfy booming demand this year for tablet PCs.
The warning comes in the wake of IHS iSuppli research suggesting that global shipments of media tablets will more than triple in 2011, with 57.6m units expected to be sold, up from 17.1m sold in 2010.
Joe Abelson, vice president for displays research at IHS iSuppli, said that as vendors focus on alternatives to Apple's iPad, the demand for netbook and notebook displays will soften.
"And because the tablet market is so new and volumes are unpredictable, display suppliers will be forced to gamble production capacity on the unrealistically high projections of tablet customers," he said.
The analyst added that the industry should expect to see "significant" inventory shortages and excesses to occur at the SKU level throughout 2011.
"This will potentially be accompanied by heavy discounting or scrapping of unused displays," he said.
Although Apple is expected to retain its market dominance in the media tablet market this year and the next, achieving a 70.4 per cent market share in 2011, it will face aggressive competition. Many of the firm's rivals will produce media tablets in large quantities and in prices that encourage rapid sales growth.
Apple's main competitors in the space include Samsung, HP, RIM and Dell, as well as "dozens" of others, according to Abelson. And by 2012, its share will have shrunk back to around 60 per cent.
IDC recently claimed that tablet growth may already be cannibalising the overall PC market. IDC reported that PC sales globally in the three months ending December 2010 rose just 2.7 per cent to 92.1m, instead of the forecast 5.5 per cent.
According to IDC, cannibalisation of PC sales by the iPad, particularly in EMEA, is likely to intensify.
Dell launched a 4G tablet, Streak 7 (pictured), at CES. John Thode, mobility product group vice president at Dell. said: "With its dual-core processor, 7-inch multi-touch screen and dual cameras, it takes full advantage of T-Mobile's [US] 4G network."
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