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2010 will be the year of the net tablet, claims analyst

Apple's right on the money, then?

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Web-connected portable devices will be snapped up by "tens of millions" of people worldwide this year, according to a forecast from industry watcher Deloitte.

“NetTabs” – touchscreen tablets primarily designed for web surfing, larger than a smartphone but less than a laptop – may turn out to be “just right” for millions of consumers in 2010, the company reckons.

Such gadgets have an advantage over smartphones, Deloitte claimed, because they offer a bigger screen for surfing the web and watching videos. But unlike netbooks and notebooks, which both offer bigger displays than smartphones have, NetTabs are lighter and cheaper.

Wireless connectivity will make NetTabs popular with network providers, but consumers will likely “demand big upfront subsidies” because NetTabs will cost more than most smartphones, Deloitte added.

NetTabs may will threaten the emerging e-book reader market, though that didn’t stop Deloitte from predicting that e-book reader sales will reach 5m units globally by Christmas.

However, the firm warned that of the 100m e-books it expects will be sold this year, the majority of titles will be read on NetTabs, smartphones or PCs.

Deloitte’s predictions are part of a wider technology forecast, which – based on conversations with over 7000 technology, media and telecoms experts – aims to spot the gadgets and technologies set to make it big during 2010. ®

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