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Researchers See Crash In World Demand Growth For Tablets

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Worldwide demand grow for tablet-style computers will slow to 6.5 percent this year, compared with nearly 52 percent in 2013.

Market researcher IDC Corp. made the prediction Thursday, adding that it expects flat 2014 demand growth for tablets in North America and Western Europe, combined with 12 percent unit in other regional markets.

Those other regional markets will account for the majority of tablet sales in years to come, according to IDC's Jitesh Ubrani.

"But in terms of dollars spent, medium- to large-sized devices in North America and Western Europe will still produce significant revenues," Ubrani said.

Average selling prices are expected to stabilize at $373 per unit in the U.S. and Europe. But in the rest of the world average prices will fall 10 percent.

Shipments of tablets featuring a built-in option of voice calling over cellular networks reached 25 percent of sales in Asia in the recent period.

The trend suggests that end users in Asia "are looking for a single device that can meet their needs in terms of voice communication and media consumption, and for some that single device is a tablet and not a smartphone," Ubrani said.

Consumers are keeping tablets longer than expected, while smartphones with increasingly larger screens are also cutting into the tablet market, the company has said.

Friday's IDC report cut its earlier May prediction of 12 percent nearly in half. The May forecast in turn was a 6 percent cut from the company's initial 2014 estimate.

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