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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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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.

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