The emerging media tablet market is set to grow from 7.6 million shipments this year to over 46 million in 2014, according to analysts.
The IDC projection represents a compound annual growth rate of 57.4 per cent. By comparison, the analyst expects 398 million portable PCs to be shipped in 2014.
"These are early days for media tablets, an altogether new device category that takes its place between smartphones and portable PCs. IDC expects consumer demand for media tablets to be strongly driven by the number and variety of compatible third-party apps for content and services," said Susan Kevorkian, program director of IDC's Digital Marketplace group.
"The availability of apps unique to media tablets and that differentiate the experience of using one compared with a PC or smartphone will be crucial for driving consumer demand. As the category matures and more media tablet-optimized apps become available, IDC expects that media tablets will evolve beyond nice-to-have devices and become necessities for many consumers."
IDC distinguishes media tablets such as the iPad from tablet PCs. It considers a media tablet to be a tablet form factor device with a seven to 12-inch colour display, based on ARM processors and running a lightweight operating system such as Apple's iPhone OS or Google's Android OS. This distinguishes them from tablet PCs, which are based on x86 processors and run full PC operating systems.