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Tablet Market Continues Upswing, Will Pass PCs by 2015

Shipments of traditional desktop and portable PCs will drop by 7.8 percent this year instead of the previously projected 1.3 percent, according to an updated IDC forecast released Tuesday.

While there were 349.2 million PCs shipped worldwide in 2012, this year that volume will shrink to 321.9 million PCs, according to IDC. The research firm expects a 1.5 percent bump upward in 2017, with a forecast of 333.4 million PCs shipped.

Companies could be engaged in replacing their PCs before Windows XP loses its extended support on April 8, 2014. However, IDC's announcement indicated that organizations so far have been "conservative with replacements."

Bob O'Donnell, IDC's program vice president for clients and displays, indicated that almost 25 percent of employees in organizations with more than 10 people purchased their work PCs. "This means that some of the corporate PC purchases we expected this year will no longer happen," he explained, in a released statement.

Tablets, in contrast with PCs, are on the rise. IDC predicts that tablet shipments will increase this year to 229.3 million units, up 58.7 percent compared with the 144.5 million tablets shipped in 2012. The PC market will get eclipsed by tablet shipments by 2015, according to IDC.

Inexpensive Android devices have been the leaders in expanding the tablet market. IDC is expecting to see lower prices for tablets this year that will undercut PC prices. For instance, a $381 tablet will be almost half the $635 price for a PC.

The screens for tablets are getting smaller. Tablets with screens of less than eight inches comprised 27 percent of the world market in 2011, but they will represent 55 percent of the market this year. IDC defines a tablet as a computing device with either no keyboard or a detachable one.

IDC's forecast details come from its tracker publications, including its "Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker" and "Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker" reports.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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