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IDC: Tablets To Overtake Desktops in 2013, Portable PCs in 2014

A billion "smart connected devices" shipped in 2012, but the four types of devices that make up that overall International Data Corp. definition are on radically different trajectories.

Desktop PCs occupy a bitter plateau, declining slowly but rapidly losing share compared to an overall market expected to more than double to 2.2 billion device shipments by 2017, according to IDC's latest forecasts released this week. Portable PCs are in a slightly better place, and looking forward to decent share gains over the next five years.

Steamrolling both of those categories are tablets, which IDC projects will outpace first desktop PC sales in 2013 then portable PC sales by 2014. The final category is smartphones, not increasing as fast as tablets but still gaining plenty fast and dominating the overall numbers now and probably for the next few years.

Microsoft has gotten a lot of complaints that its Windows 8 overhaul left traditional PC users' needs in the dust. Even accounting for the necessary skepticism about five-year market projections, any study of the trend lines makes it pretty clear why Microsoft seems less concerned about the installed base and seems urgently focused on leaping across to tablets and smartphones.

Posted by Scott Bekker on March 28, 2013 at 11:58 AM

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Reader Comments

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 tmgirvin Dallas

@Lallen2064: Your comment wouldn't be such satire if you said screens from 2 inches to 3 meters with multi-touch and voice recognition. And I'm sure there's lots of room for gesture recognition and multi-voice discernment, etc. But yes, it is the future...handwriting and typing will die out eventually. I'd rather have a conversation with my phone, tablet, or wall display to write my thesis than to have to type it all out.

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 lallen2064

It is amazing. From the projections and hype, one would almost expect that no one will be using anything but tablets and smart phones in the not too distant future. We can tell the keyboard, mice, and large screen monitor manufacturers the end is near. The computing world is only going to need a screen form factor ranging between around 2 inches and up to maybe 10-11 inches. No need for mouse, keyboard or other pointing devices. I guess computing is going to be like a kindergarten art experience, where the brush of choice is your finger and the mural fits in the palm of your hand. That 500 page College thesis may be a bit more challenging to pound into the iPad though.

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