Deloitte has predicted that the tablet computer market will boom this year with tens of millions of people deciding the notepad-sized devices are “just right” for their needs, but what does the new technology mean for marketers.

“This Goldilocks of devices – not too big, not too small – is expected to offer an appealing balance of form and function going forward,” the market analysis firm said.

Tablet computers “may turn out to be ‘just right’ for many users in 2010,” Deloitte said, allowing them to buy and consume more media than ever and on the go. The tablets have certainly restored confidence in the media industry which is hoping to restore ad revenues this year given fallen circulation numbers last year.

The forecast bodes well for iPhone, iPod and Macintosh computer maker Apple, which is hosting a January 27 event here to unveil its “latest creation,” which is hotly rumored to be a tablet computer resembling an oversized iPod Touch.

According to various reports, Apple is poised to launch a colour multimedia device that allows users to browse the web, listen to music, watch movies or TV and also serve as an electronic book and newspaper reader.

Publishing powerhouse HarperCollins is reported to be in talks with Apple regarding providing digital literature for reading on a tablet device.

Apple’s tablet is expected to have a 10- to 11-inch (25.4cm to 27.9cm) screen, slightly larger than typical devices on the market. There are also rumours about consumers receiving free content in exchange for watching advertising.

“With a new form factor and significant processing capacity, connected portable devices will likely be purchased by tens of millions of people in 2010,” Deloitte predicted.

Improvements in graphics, processing power, and wireless broadband internet availability are making tablets more attractive, according to analysts.

“2010 is likely to see a proliferation of netTabs,” Deloitte said, which noted that the devices will likely be a threat to tablets limited to single functions such as reading digital books.

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