Android doubles in size, tablets extend their lead and the PC is left all alone

The latest results from industry analysts, Gartner, have been announced today. They confirm the suspicions of many who commented on the last round of results that showed a steady PC decline. Shipment of all devices is expected to reach 2.35 billion in 2013, a 5.9% increase on 2012. Whilst touch screen markets continue to grow in market share the traditional PC seems to have fallen on hard times.

Windows and Mac OS showed a slow down in growth this year and Microsoft’s Windows OS is even expected to lose market share in the following years. 305 million traditional PC’s are expected to be shipped in 2013, a 10.6% decrease but the tablet sales will rise by 67.9% this year with a sales total of 202 million. This is still shorter than the expected PC sales but is a vast improvement over previous years. The mobile market will grow at a smaller rate of 4.3% and is expected to ship 1.8 billion units.

Ultra mobiles are expected to grow as well, these include MacBook Airs, and Chromebooks, analysts have predicted an 107% increase of ultra mobiles as people look to upgrade from netbooks and premium tablets. The ultra mobile has in some ways detracted from other devices but experts continue to believe the sales numbers will grow with the arrival of more efficient processors such as Hasswell by the end of the year.

“Consumers want anytime-anywhere computing that allows them to consume and create content with ease, but also share and access that content from a different portfolio of products. Mobility is paramount in both mature and emerging markets,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

Gartner predicted that the focus on not just hardware but software will mean we see a larger riff between lowered and higher end products, for example iPad mini already made up 60% of total iOS sales in Q1 2013. It is inevitable as devices get longer life cycles, that companies will have to try harder to want to make people upgrade – this is a challenge recognised by the market. Following the general limit on most company finances and the wider use of BYOD, experts have also predicted a rise in employees bringing their own devices to work from 65% to 72% by 2017.

Market fluctuation is common with technology. But the trend for our old friend the PC has been on the downward slope for several years now. The failure by Microsoft to efficiently market Windows 8 and create enough of a stir to warrant people’s attention is part of the blame. As well as an unfamiliar and non economic design for traditional PC’s Microsoft has stabbed themselves in the back slightly. That said it is the combination of consumer need and efficient updates that has brought us to where we are now. Consumers no longer want desktops tied down to a office space, with limited functionality. Tablets, mobile devices and laptops are becoming more popular as we all move around. It is only for professional needs that people many now require a desktop. That is why some felt Apple should have removed the Mac Pro lineup at WWDC to focus on true mass consumer tech. That said the continuation of the Mac Pro is a good sign, it signals Apple and the market still realise that the PC isn’t dead – not yet. We may all be carrying touch screen tablets and phones; but the day you need a good old keyboard and monitor, where would they have gone?

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