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Annual shipments for tablet devices will reach 81 million by 2015, as new players and handset manufacturers flood the market.

Competition to Apple is likely to arrive in earnest in 2011, according to the market watcher Juniper Research. But Apple should be prepared for the challenge and ready to launch a new version of the iPad.

Juniper says long-established handset manufacturers face considerable obstacles, with RIM, Nokia and Microsoft most affected.

These companies have all developed new operating systems but have been slow to bring them to market, allowing Apple to cement its position and enabling Android to become the operating system of choice for new players.

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Other Juniper findings include:

  • Apple will maintain its market lead, at least for the medium term.
  • Android will continue to be adopted by new entrants, but products using the BlackBerry QNX, Window Phone 7 and MeeGo will also appear in 2011.
  • The netbook market may suffer as a result.

More details can be found at the Juniper Research website. ®

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