S&P Equity Research predicts slower, but healthier growth in the technology sector in 2011, including notable developments regarding new products, international activity, and M&A deals.

Following are S&P's predictions for the tech sector for the year:

* S&P expects Microsoft (MSFT) to continue to lose market share in smartphones, as Windows Phone 7 fails to capture the interest of consumers.

* Intel (INTC) will finally gain some traction in the handset and tablet markets, according to S&P.

* S&P expects sales of tablet computers to surge and begin to cannibalize sales of netbooks and mini notebooks.

* Sales of e-book readers will continue to surge to 11 million in 2011 from 7 million last year, led by Amazon.com's (AMZN) Kindle, said S&P.

* S&P expects India-based IT majors Infosys (INFY) and Wipro (WIT) to experience margin declines in 2011, despite continuing revenue growth.

* Companies with strong application delivery and WAN optimization capabilities, such as F5 Networks (FFIV) and Riverbed Technology (RVBD) will be attractive acquisition candidates for 2011, said S&P.

* S&P forecasts global solar system installations will increase at least 20 percent this year, well below its 2010 estimated growth rate of a two-fold increase.