Gartner has adjusted its 2011 IT spending forecast to include the impact of media tablet devices from 5.1 percent growth to 5.6 percent - what amounts to millions of dollars.

Tablets will help the IT industry by encouraging spending in this area this year. IT research and advisory organization Gartner adjusted their  previous forecast in response to the popularity of these relatively new, larger-format mobile devices. Their post-tablet forecast predicts a 5.6 percent growth from $3.4 trillion in 2010 to $3.6 trillion. Previously, Gartner's outlook for 2011 was 5.1 percent growth.

Spending estimates for computing hardware now includes tablets such as Apple's iPad beginning this quarter. The Gartner growth outlook for the hardware category has increased from 7.5 percent to 9.5 percent for 2011. Global media tablet spending "is projected to reach $29.4 billion in 2011, up from $9.6 billion in 2010." The media tablet is forecast to increase at a rate of 52 percent for the next four years.

According to the Stamford, CT-based company's Wednesday press release, the decline of the dollar has a role in this increase of top-line growth. The expected decline of the dollar reinforces the addition of tablets this growth to account for this growth, according to Gartner's research vice president Richard Gordon. If it were not for tablets, the forecast would "would have slightly declined in constant-dollar terms; however, with their addition, there's virtually no change in underlying forecast growth at the level of overall IT.”

Other conditions that may impact the IT markets include recent events in the Middle East and Japan. Just how they will do so is uncertain. The Middle East accounts for two percent of global IT spending, and the unrest may adversely affect that market share, Gordon has concluded that "any impact would be insignificant at the global level." The earthquake and tsunami in Japan may affect markets on multiple levels: "consequences of disruptions in the global electronics supply chain and impacts on IT demand.”

By Ivory King