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The State of Desktops, Notebooks and Tablets

The State of Desktops, Notebooks and Tablets
by Daniel Payne on 06-02-2015 at 10:00 am

The personal computing market started out back in the late 1970’s, with IBM being a relative late-comer in 1981, however over many decades we’ve seen the unit volumes steadily increasing each year driving demand of semiconductors of all types. IC Insights is a research company that follows the personal computer market and they define this market as having several categories:

  • Standard PCs (desktops and notebooks)
  • Tablets (i.e. iPad)
  • Internet/Cloud-computing systems (i.e. Chromebook)

I’ve been a notebook user for the past 15 years so it’s been a long time since I owned a desktop, although I have three sons that use custom-built desktops for gaming with high-end graphics cards. Our household also has four notebooks, two iPads, a Nexus 7 tablet, and Chinese-brand tablet. We own no cloud-based systems.

Observations from the newest IC Insights report include:

  • Tablets took off in 2010 with the iPad
  • Tablet sales became greater than notebooks in 2013
  • Tablet growth slowed suddenly in 2014
  • Large-screen phones like my Samsung Note 4 slowed tablet growth even more in 2015
  • The overall PC market will decline in 2015
  • Desktop and Notebooks peaked in 2012 at $345M

I agree that the utility of a 5.7″ display on my smart phone makes it easier for me to carry around everywhere, all day, decreasing my need to use a tablet or notebook device to review updates on LinkedIn, Twitter or Strava.

IC Insights now predicts a CAGR of just 2.1% for PC unit shipments from 2013 to 2018, where total PC shipments will reach 578 million in 2018. Tablets are expect to make up a healthy 45% of total systems sold in 2018, down from the previous forecast of 57%. It’s startling for me to read how quickly our world economy responds to technology trends and to witness the first decline in total PC shipments this year.

I’ve played with the Internet-centric Chromebooks from Google and Samsung while shopping at my local BestBuy store, but have never been impressed enough to actually buy one, especially in light how they compare against a more fully-featured laptop at a slightly higher price point. When my youngest daughter started college we thought about buying a Chromebook, but instead opted for a Samsung laptop priced at just $75 more.

For the full report details visit IC Insights and request their IC Market Drivers 2015 report, priced at $3,390 to an individual or $6,490 for a multi-user corporate license.

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