- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 5, 2011

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A research group says the global market for tablet computers such as the iPad will almost triple by the end of 2014.

Yankee Group said Wednesday it expects tablet sales to rise to $46 billion in 2014 from $16 billion in 2010. The researchers said tablet sales are rising faster than high-definition TV sets, handheld gaming consoles or even MP3 players.

Apple Inc.’s iPad, the main player in today’s tablet market, costs $499 to $829 depending on the configuration. According to the forecast, the average tablet price tag will be $237 in 2015, less than half of the 2010 average price of $645.

By 2014, North America will hold just 17 percent of the global tablet market, down from 37 percent in 2010, according to the report, as demand in Asia rises.

The market for e-readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle, is expected to quadruple, from about $2 billion in 2010 to $8 billion in 2014. Yankee Group considers e-readers a separate category and doesn’t include them in the tablet forecast. The firm expects the average selling price to drop to $113 in 2014 from $170 in 2010.

Yankee Group issued the forecast the day before the official start of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Tablets are an especially hot item at this year’s trade show.

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