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Ultramobiles will start to catch on, but tablets and Android will steal the show

Gartner Inc. (IT) a leading market research firm has published its latest predictions regarding device sales.

It notes that the total market for devices is expanding, with strong pickup in developing regions, such as China, India, and Brazil.  It predicts 2.4 billion devices will be sold in 2013 -- up 9 percent from a year ago.  Of those, 1.875 billion of them are expected to be smartphones.

Gartner predicts Android will crack the 1 billion unit mark next year.  The predications indicate that Android leader Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) may best its already bullish target of 390 million Android smartphones sold in 2013.  And it predicts in five years Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and iPad (which run iOS) will sell half a billion units -- close to PC sales.

Gartner Predictions

Ultramobile PCs -- also known as ultrathin laptops or "UltraBooks" are predicted to account for over a fourth of PC sales within the next five years.  However, that growth will not be enough to stop tablets from outselling both ultramobiles and traditional laptop/desktops PCs by 2017, according to Gartner.
Air Health
Gartner predicts Android sales to near a billion units this year. [Image Source: AnandTech]
BlackBerry 10 didn't do enough to convince Gartner of BlackBerry Ltd.'s (TSE:BB) survival prospects.  The agency predicts BlackBerry sales to continue their downward slide in years to come.  Interestingly, Gartner predicts a strong showing from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) between 2014 and 2017.  Although the press release did not elaborate on the basis of this prediction, Gartner's numbers show Microsoft growing as fast as Apple during that period, with both OS makers trailing Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android empire.

Microsoft has thus far struggled in the tablet market.  While its Surface has drawn attention, it has suffered shortages and only sold around 1.5 million units.

Windows RT
Microsoft is expected to return to strong growth in 2014. [Image Source: Microsoft]

Previous reports have indicated that this will be the first year Android tablets will outsell iPads.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, comments on the declining role of the traditional PC, "Lower prices, form factor variety, cloud update and consumers' addiction to apps will be the key drivers in the tablet market.  Growth in the tablet segment will not be limited to mature markets alone. Users in emerging markets who are looking for a companion to their mobile phone will increasingly choose a tablet as their first computing device and not a PC."

For Microsoft this news isn't great, but it's even worse for PC holdouts like Dell Inc. (DELLand Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) who remain without a cohesive mobile portfolio.

Source: Gartner

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The three little pigs
By mike66 on 4/4/2013 6:59:50 PM , Rating: 3
While I can see that PC sales may decline ( this worry has been speculated since the beginning of time )I think that there is room in the market place for all three plus a fourth which is the gaming console. All have a specific usage scenario's. Maybe it would be better to say that growth in the PC market will slow down. I have all four and use each on a regular basis and can't see that changing. Maybe the laptop market will suffer the biggest slow down because its functions are very much the same as a tablet.

RE: The three little pigs
By mike66 on 4/4/2013 7:06:47 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry forgot to list the 4, smartphone,tablet, Desktop PC, console, ( I don't count the laptop as a PC )

RE: The three little pigs
By karimtemple on 4/5/2013 1:25:12 PM , Rating: 2
There's an important reason why the report is relatively accurate; Technological advancement is going to converge these form factors. Soon, too.

In just a few years, it'll be simple and cheap to manufacture a tiny box with the power to accomplish the computing and even gaming performance goals of 95% of individuals on the planet.

The box will need a display regardless, so it'll be logistically negligible to just put the box IN the display. A tablet. When you get to your desk, you can just sit the tablet on a dock to use your keyboard and mouse and larger monitor.

This stuff will get to a point where it'll be economically illogical to buy, sell, or make a "desktop computer" for 99% of computing applications. We're looking at the same time period indicated in this article, about 5 years.

Laptops will hang on, but just barely. That market will get butchered by tablet "convertibles" that are more advanced and better-designed than what's available today. It'll really just be taking your supertablet out of the desktop dock and putting it into a laptop dock. Even today we have the philosophically perfect Surface Pro, though it does suck to use it in your lap and it still uses exhaust fans. That will change.

The phone isn't going anywhere. Game "boxes" won't either because graphics processing is so massively parallel right now (and indefinitely). Tablets, however, are going to shake up desktops and laptops pretty hardcore.

RE: The three little pigs
By SlyNine on 4/6/2013 2:48:05 AM , Rating: 2
We already have that amount of power in mart phones. We can already do all the things you're talking about.

What you dont understand is there already is no real reason for people to pick up PC's unless they need a gaming system or some sort of workstation. The reasons people choose desktops will not change in 8 years. There is NOTHING pushing most people to do it now, people CHOOSE to do so.

I, for one, DO NOT WANT to dock a tablet. It'd be cheaper to have a dedicated computer. I could buy a super cheap small box now to surf the web and do word sheets. But no, I CHOOSE to buy a desktop because I want to upgrade and expand. This is why your theory will never pan out. Because of the millions upon millions of people like me. Your whole docking tablets, and tablets in general, is really a FAD. once it reaches market saturation the sales will slow rapidly.

RE: The three little pigs
By PrinceGaz on 4/6/2013 4:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
In five years, your smartphone, the thing you carry with you all the time, is going to be as powerful as the average laptop today, and the vast majority of customers only use a small fraction of their laptop's processing power. Only serious gamers and quite niche markets like 3D rendering and video transcoding benefit significantly from the additional power a desktop system can offer over a laptop.

That means in five years most people won't need a computer. They'll just plug their smartphone into whatever dock connector is available at home or elsewhere, and it will simultaneously charge the phone as well as allowing them to use a physical keyboard (if they wish), mouse (optional), display (probably a HDTV), and anything else with the software installed on it.

In ten years, the smartphone will likely make all other computer hardware obsolete for 99% of users as it will do everything they need.

RE: The three little pigs
By TakinYourPoints on 4/8/2013 4:03:57 AM , Rating: 1
Laptops are absolutely PCs, why wouldn't they be? Same internal components, same operating systems, same input methods in most cases (plug in a mouse and go), same peripheral compatibility, and some are more powerful than most modern desktops.

RE: The three little pigs
By Reclaimer77 on 4/4/2013 7:33:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I love "analysis" like these. PC's are ubiquitous, everywhere, everyone has one. Bazillions of them.

Of course growth has slowed. PC's reached critical mass long ago. Tablets are newer and are just starting to get mainstream, relatively.

RE: The three little pigs
By kleinma on 4/4/2013 8:26:40 PM , Rating: 2
That and you can get something that counts as a tablet anywhere from a $50 price tag, up through something like the surface at 1k (which of course is both a tablet and a PC).

RE: The three little pigs
By Proxes on 4/5/2013 10:40:00 AM , Rating: 2
That two year old PC you use to run a web browser now will be able to run a web browser just fine in five years.

RE: The three little pigs
By Mitch101 on 4/5/2013 12:27:05 PM , Rating: 2
About the only reason I might buy another tablet is for h.265 video playback integrated into the hardware otherwise I don't see the need to upgrade

Might happen
By inperfectdarkness on 4/4/2013 11:42:44 PM , Rating: 2
Good chance of it happening...but only because a lot of mobile devices (especially those made by a certain fruit company) tend to break. A lot. So I'd suspect that mobile will outsell if only because iTards keep buying in droves to replace broken stuff. Not much different than the inflated sales figures of the Xbox360 due to re-purchases because of RROD.

The PC isn't dead though...and I doubt it will fall into the minority. Having a physical keyboard cannot be overrated. What we will see is the near-extinction of desktops for all but the most demanding of users (videophile gamers, photo/movie editing, etc).

RE: Might happen
By haukionkannel on 4/5/2013 10:38:11 AM , Rating: 2
I think that you are right in there. Laptops and tablets will become more common. Desktop PC may be the dinosaur that only gamers and power users are willing to use (And are not going to give up..). There definitely is space and need for computers with good keyboard. But when the amount of tablets and other mobile devices increases the relative amount of normal PC (including laptops) will get smaller even their actual number does not.

RE: Might happen
By inperfectdarkness on 4/7/2013 9:23:41 AM , Rating: 2
This is also a grey area. When you are lugging around a 10" tablet & a bluetooth keyboard built into a case for said are "technically" still using a tablet. In reality, you functionally have a netbook with touchscreen capability.

If one is going to accurately measure the market trends, I think it becomes important to assess the sales figures on keyboards marketed for tablet pc's. I suspect that the consumer wants something like the Surface, but available from a broader assortment of manufacturers and on a wider selection of models.

RE: Might happen
By TakinYourPoints on 4/8/2013 4:11:19 AM , Rating: 2
Consumers and businesses want something with tons of battery life and usability in off-site situations. These, security, and massive third party developer support are why the iPad has picked up so much in business, medical, media, and even aviation. This is huge in the flight industry:

Portability and usability are the main advantages. Keyboards clearly work with any tablet but their use is secondary. If someone wants to write out a long document or do data entry then they'll do that on a proper desktop, not when they're on their feet or on a location. Different hardware for different usage scenarios.

BYOD is the drive
By LTGJAMAICA on 4/4/2013 6:53:17 PM , Rating: 2

In terms of productivity do Tablets make workers more productive and if the answer is no how long will this BYOD movement last ?

RE: BYOD is the drive
By althaz on 4/4/13, Rating: 0
RE: BYOD is the drive
By kmmatney on 4/5/2013 4:45:30 PM , Rating: 2
If you're a student maybe...

Another baseless analysis
By BRB29 on 4/5/2013 8:01:05 AM , Rating: 2
I can't count how many times analysts ends up being so wrong.
This analysis is based entirely on current growth rates and hopeful predictions.

Chances are in 4-5 years, we will be in another recession for one reason or another. It happens roughly once every ~10 years. Then these analysts will have excuses because situations are not perfect. So it pretty much boils down to them reading a chart, doing some type of regression model and let the computer pumps out some numbers. They'll blame everything under the sun when they are wrong because they didn't account for variables that exists in reality.

RE: Another baseless analysis
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/13, Rating: -1
RE: Another baseless analysis
By karimtemple on 4/5/2013 2:56:16 PM , Rating: 1
LMFAO!!! The average period of time between any two recessions in the U.S. since the Revolutionary War has been about three years! THANKS OBAMA!!

I love how everything becomes about Obama. It's like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, except sad and misguided.

Yes, "misguided." And I neither like nor have ever voted for Obama.

RE: Another baseless analysis
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/2013 4:27:38 PM , Rating: 1
And this has been the slowest "recovery" we've seen in eighty years. I guess that's not on him either?

Do you people seriously believe Obama holds no responsibility at all for the state of the nation?

RE: Another baseless analysis
By ven1ger on 4/8/2013 9:08:16 PM , Rating: 1
I blame the Republicans for slowing the recovery. I blame Bush for the recession/depression.

All I see from the Republican controlled house is a do-nothing House.

PC: Personal Computer
By jklauderdale on 4/5/2013 1:26:58 PM , Rating: 3
Computer: An electronic device for storing and processing data, (synonym: Calculator)

There's no one device that DEFINES what a PC is. My smartphone is a heck of alot more personalized than my HTPC, I carry it around day and night. About the ONLY thing I don't use it for is banking or flight arrangements (call me paranoid).

As to the number of desktop/towers a person may have, I have three. One is a backup server, another is my PVR-HTPC and the third is an actual gaming desktop PC. Take away the server and I only have two "PC"s in my apartment. If you look at my phone, 3 systems, tablet in the kitchen and old notebook then I have 6 Personal Computers. PC is such an ubiquitous term that it has come to define a niche rather than the broader field that it actually is

By macca007 on 4/5/2013 7:44:02 PM , Rating: 3
I have been hearing about the decline in pc world for 10+ years and its still here, PC gaming has skyrocketed and will even get stronger as next gen consoles begin to use pc parts instead of dedicated hardware!

Tablets outsold pc's big deal so did jars of Vegemite for the last few decades. There is room for all of them and it should be like that, Choice is a good thing not everyone wants some friggin' tablet that will do everything. For me Games are on pc and sometimes console, Work/browsing is on pc, Tablets is for reading or having next to tv if I want to check up on something I have just watched, Phone is for stuffing around on in short periods of time such as lunch break at work, All of these devices have their place so stop saying "the death of pc" is imminent because it isn't!
These smaller devices are just an extension not a replacement to a pc, I think as tablets get to a stage where there is hardly anything new they can add except faster cpu and more ram that market will slow down in the next few years as well, Who needs 8 cores and 16gb of ram on a tablet just to browse web or read a book, Most will just stay with whatever tablet they already have until its so old the battery dies or the new ones are just so cheap that they may as well upgrade just for the sake of it. Tablets are a fad and will soon die down, Next tech to get excited about which will grow would be Virtual Reality headsets making a comeback, If you are an investor then forget tablets look to gaming's next big thing!

By marvdmartian on 4/5/2013 7:49:35 AM , Rating: 2
"Thank you, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!!!"

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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