Tablets to continue to grow, PCs in a steady decline
Tech analyst firm called Gartner recently published a report describing what the future of the markets for various devices and platforms is going to look like. The report mainly statistically reinforced the facts most of us were aware of already: PCs are slowly dying out, and are currently in the process of being systematically replaced with tablets and smartphones. Gartner predicts that the worldwide shipment of tablets of all shapes and sizes is going to grow by about 53% this year, with close to 184 million units being shipped. On the other hand, PCs are still managing to dominate the numbers, with a bit more than 300 million units expected to be shipped this year, but that is still a 11.2% decline compared to 2012. Such a steep decrease even took Gartner by surprise, which back in April forecasted the PC market to only decline by 7.3% in 2013.
Still, it’s not all bad news for PCs on a wider scale: the ‘ultramobiles’, meaning lightweight laptops and various portable devices that actually run on a desktop operating system (Microsoft Surface Pro tablet is a good example) are going to be slowing the PC decline for a while. Ultramobiles remain unaffected and in fact continue to grow in units shipped, which mainly stems from the fact that users see these as the best choice for balancing work and play within a single device. However, even if you add ultramobiles to the equation, the PC market is still expected to dwindle by 8.4% by the end of this year.
The report goes on to predict that tablets are going to outship their PC and ultramobile alternatives combined by the year 2017. When it comes to the size and shape of choice, smaller and cheaper tablets are going to continue to be the primary driving force behind the market’s growth. Devices that are easier on your wallet, such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire line or any of the Galaxy Nexuses are going to be taking more of the market share away from their heftier alternatives (read: iPads or Microsoft Surface Pro).
Similar prediction is being mapped out for the smartphone industry: the market is going to keep growing, primarily powered by the sales of mid-range smartphones in the developed world, as well as by lower-end phones (which primarily run on Android) in those yet immature, emerging markets. Android is to continue its dominance, reaching 45% of the worldwide OS market, with Windows and iOS/MAC OS lagging behind with 15% and 14% of the market share, respectively.