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Tablet Sales to Eat Into PC Market: Report

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Led by sales of Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iPad, tablets continue to surge in popularity. And, as predicted previously, their growth will cause traditional PC sales to suffer.

For every 10 pads sold this year, five netbook or notebook sales will be lost in both consumer and enterprise markets, says research firm Canalys.

More than 52 million tablets are estimated to be shipped in 2011, with the iPad comprising 75% of these shipments. 12 million tablets will be sold by other vendors.

"The rise of the pad is phenomenal," Canalys principal analyst Daryl Chiam said in a statement. "We anticipate the arrival of many more innovative devices in the mobile PC category over the next couple of years."

The growth of tablets, however, will mean that PC companies and their partners, like Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report), Intel (INTC - Get Report) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD - Get Report), may lose market share, said Canalys.

Yet even with the impact of tablets, the notebook PC category should grow 8% this year, due to the Microsoft Windows 7 refresh cycle and improving business confidence.

Netbooks, meanwhile, are estimated to decline around 13%, or 34 million units.

In terms of what tablet is most popular with buyers, Apple's iPad, which recently received a big update, is undeniably the market leader, according to research firm IDC. In 2010, the iPad accounted for 83% of all tablets shipped, although as new slate devices hit the market, Apple's share for last quarter slipped to 73%.

While analysts generally agree that Apple isn't in danger of losing lots of share to rivals, competing tablets should still find they have a place in the market. According to our recent, informal poll, more than half of TheStreet readers said they plan on buying Research In Motion's (RIMM) highly-anticipated PlayBook device over any other tablet.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

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