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iPad, 'Droids Kill The PC

By Oonagh Reidy | Wednesday | 12/06/2013

iPads, Androids to kill off PC's notebooks

After hearing the Aussie PC market slumped 21% in Q1 from IDC yesterday, now tablets are set to outstrip notebooks globally by the end of 2013. 

Analysts Canalys' (who include tablets in their PC market assessment), say iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Co. will account for 40% of the growth in PC's this year, up from 25% in 2012. 

Just 25% of demand will be driven by notebooks.

Canalys now predicts PC shipments (desktops, notebooks and tablets) will rise 7% in 2013 - to 493.1 million units - thanks to the popularity of iOS, Android tabs.

IDC yesterday predicted Australia PC market will slump 15% this year, and does not include tablet PCs in its figures. 

In the first quarter of 2013 globally, the desktop market fell 10%, while notebooks from the likes of HP, Dell and Lenovo were down 13%. 

By contrast, the tablet market doubled in Q1, up a whopping 106% to 42 million.

Android is fast catching up with king of tabs Apple iPad and is set to take a 45% share of the tab pie this year, compared to iPad's 49%, thanks to  "plethora" of cheaper 'Droids arriving from Acer, Asus and HP in an already "crowded market," say analysts.

Notebooks are especially the victims in the tablet gold rush - dropping from 234m shipments to 205m by year end. 

In fact by the end of this year, Canalys forecasts tablets will outstrip notebooks, reaching 182.5 million shipments. 

Convertible notebook - tablets like Asus TaiChi - have "disappointed" so far says Canalys analyst James Wang, - another blow to the ailing notebook industry - and will account for less than 2% of market. 

Canalys expects desktops to die a slow death with tablets accounting for 65% of growth in PCs by 2017

However, analysts reckon Windows 8.1 may bring some light to Windows-based computers.  

The reception to touch based Windows 8 has not reinvigorated demand for Microsoft-based PCs so far, says Canalys,  but there's new hope with the forthcoming release of Windows 8.1 as a free upgrade, which brings back the familiar 'Start' button and other traditional features. 

'Microsoft will continue to innovate. New versions will come and its OS release cycle will gain speed. But it must address some of the criticisms that have been directed at the OS's user interface or it risks losing even more ground to iOS and Android in the PC space,' said Tim Coulling, Senior Analyst at Canalys. 

Another ray of light for PC vendors is that PC sales to corporates are far stronger than consumer, which favors the likes of HP and Lenovo, though competition will increase as other vendors shift resources to this channel.

It's the 'appcessories', stupid 

However, although margins on tablets are tight as competition intensifies, the real money is in the new gen of high-tech 'appcessories' like smartwatches and glasses like Google Glass - demand for which is set to explode. 

'Low-priced tablets will not be lucrative but it is necessary to compete or a vendor will simply lose relevance and scale. In fact, accessories, particularly cases, as well as the new generation of high-tech 'appcessories' will likely provide higher margins than the products themselves,' said Pin-Chen Tang, Research Analyst. 

'The iPad mini is expected to continue selling well, becoming more significant in terms of spawning a further increase in consumer demand for smaller tablets.'

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