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Predictions are a tricky thing. Just ask anybody who guesstimated how many iPads Apple was going to sell in the first year. They were all wrong. So you can understand why we reach for the salt shaker any time somebody starts making predictions about what will be selling well in the coming year, let alone what will be selling well in five years.

But, Gartner Research is fairly reliable in these things. That’s not to say that their predictions can be counted on, but more than they’re one of the more scientifically-grounded prediction makers. As such, when they expect the tablet market to explode from 17.6 million this year to 294.1 million in 2015, our interest piqued our interest. Gartner’s latest predictions forecast explosive growth for the tablet market, and that’s something we’re on board with.

What we’re not so sure about is where the final numbers shake out. We’re not going to kid ourselves in saying that HP has an easy road ahead of them in the tablet market. Apple may be the one entrenched player in the market, but Google stands to make significant headway and RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook has a lot of name recognition going for it. But somehow we can’t see webOS tablets owning just 3% of the market in 2015 (granted, that’d be nearly 9 million tablets by Gartner’s predictions), just as we can’t see MeeGo even registering enough of a tick to warrant a 1% mark.

Everything else, well, it’s hard to say. Apple will certainly continue to be a strong player, but given how quickly Android has exploded in the smartphone market, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Android-powered tablets overwhelm the iPad in the next few years. As for the QNX-powered BlackBerry tablets? We’re not sure how that’s going to play out. Predictions are a tricky thing, and we’re no experts at it. We’ll leave that to the folks at Gartner.