The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the ever-growing popularity of tablet devices meant that they should be included in their own right.
However, the official government body has opted to remove the price of processing colour film in response to the increasing use of digital cameras by consumers. Step ladders and casserole dishes were also among the items dropped for 2012.
Every year, the ONS reviews the basket of goods and services used to compile the consumer price index (CPI) and the retail price index (RPI), which both reflect any changes in the way people in the UK spend their money.
The CPI and RPI inflation rates are calculated by the ONS using 180,000 price quotations every month, covering 700 different goods and services from across the UK.
The inclusion of tablet computers follows last week's announcement by Apple of the latest iPad model, bringing a new high resolution display, 4G connectivity and a better camera. Samsung is expected to announce a new premium 11.6-inch Galaxy Tab product this spring.
Also added to the ONS goods basket is the cost of broadband subscriptions, along with bundled communications packages, in which consumers take combinations of TV, landline and internet from the same provider. The television licence fee is now factored into both the consumer and retail price indices.
The ONS included smartphones and the apps that run on them to the calculations last year, replacing previous mobile downloads such as ringtones and wallpaper. It said today that technology is a key factor in calculating price changes.
"As in most years, developments in technology influence the basket update and in 2012 tablet computers are being included for the first time," said the agency.
"This mirrors the evolution of computer equipment through desktop personal computers, laptops and now tablets, and they are being introduced to capture price changes in this rapidly expanding market."
Teenage fiction, such as the popular Twilight novels, have been added to the basket as a standalone category to reflect the genre's growing popularity. The books were previously divided up between adult and children's fiction.