The market carved out by Apple's iPad has a bright future, as 1 in 5 American Adults plan to own a tablet computer by 2014, according to a survey of 2,288 participants from Fuze Box and Harris Interactive.
Market researcher Harris conducted the survey online Nov. 10 through Nov. 12 on behalf of sponsor Fuze Box, which makes Web conferencing applications for computers, tablets and smartphones.
Application use on tablets, including the iPad and machines based on Google's Android platform, RIM's PlayBook, HP's PalmBook and Microsoft Windows 7 tablets, will see quite a range.
Some 78 percent of respondents said they planned to use their tablets to surf the Web. Three-quarters of people said they would use their machines for e-mail.
Electronic reading of books and newspapers, (53 percent), social networking (50 percent), consuming TV via Netflix, Hulu and other apps (43 percent) were also popular draws.
Tablet use bodes well for enterprises as well, with 37 percent of respondents pledging to use their machines for business concerns.
Some 58 percent of those polled said they expected to engage in business correspondence with their tablets, with 37 percent looking to participate in online meetings and Web conferences.
"With 2 in 5 tablet owners using their device for business by 2014, we have officially entered the post-PC era and the potential is there to reinvent the business environment for collaboration with portable and tactile computing devices, complete with cameras, document sharing, cloud computing, and storage," Fuze Box CEO Jeff Cavins said in a statement.
Marketing (34 percent), training (33 percent), finance, (32 percent), and other areas rounded out the business use case for tablets in the Fuze poll.
One other interesting note: the researchers found that men are more likely than women to say they own and/or plan to buy a tablet computer in the next three years. That's by a count of 26 percent to 18 percent.
The launch of Apple's iPad in April ushered in a deluge of tablet products based on Google's Android operating system this fall. HP, Microsoft and RIM promised to have tablets in 2011.
Expect the Consumer Electronics Show in January to play host to a hotbed of tablet announcements, including Motorola's Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet.
Despite the coming glut of tablets, Piper Jaffray analysts claim the iPad will command 44 percent of the total tablet market by 2012, with Android tablets commanding 39 percent. That leaves 17 percent for Microsoft, HP's Palm and RIM to fight over.