Ina Fried

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One in Five to Own Tablet by 2014, Poll Finds

A new study finds that one in five American adults has plans to buy a tablet by 2014. The study, commissioned by Fuze Box and conducted by Harris Interactive, found that men are more likely consumers than women, with the young more likely than the old to plan a tablet purchase. In short, expect about 40 million Americans to buy a tablet in the next three years.

While that’s a significant number to be sure, I’m beginning to wonder if even that figure will be large enough to support all the players entering the tablet fray.

There are the incumbents like the iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. Motorola is gearing up to launch a Honeycomb-based Android tablet at CES. HP has said it is working on a Palm Tablet (which Fox News says is coming at CES), while RIM is readying its PlayBook for release around March.

And that’s just the big guys. Expect to hear a lot of smaller firms enter the tablet fray as well, including many at CES. Education-centered tablet maker Kno–which announced its product at last year’s D conference–has started shipping its large dual-screen and single-screen models, while Notion Ink has been further teasing its Adam tablet.

Plus, Microsoft, which has been on the outside looking in at the early slate growth, hopes to get back into the game next year as well.

Even with a big market, that leaves a lot of companies angling for a piece of the pie.

For its part, Fuze Box is touting the fact that a lot of these tablets (37 percent) will be used, at least in part, for business purposes.

But other uses will also abound. Half of users plan to use it for social networking, while even more will use it for computing tasks like sending email (75 percent), browsing the Web (78 percent), and reading books and other publications (53 percent).

As far as work uses, correspondence topped the list, followed by online meetings, marketing and training.

“Since before the iPad launched in April, we’ve persisted that tablets would soon become a widely used business tool,” Fuze Box CEO Jeff Cavins said in a statement. “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.”