Not so long ago Desktop Personal Computers (PC) ruled the electronics field for the home consumer, until the laptop became a household name. Many users had a laptop for light computer work when they traveled, because no matter how much you paid for a laptop, and they were more expensive because of the miniaturization of parts, they were never as powerful as a good desktop. However, the gap started to narrow as laptops became lighter and more sophisticated, and eventually left PCs far behind.
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The smartphone also made a dent in the PC world as smartphones became more and more powerful. Many people were only using their PCs to surf the web, email, make online purchases, or look up information via Google or Bing – they had no use for word processing or spreadsheets, so why not use their smartphone. Especially as smartphones grew larger it made for easier reading and enriched the website experience as well. Emailing was easy to perform on a smartphone and it was a breeze to text back and forth, which took the place of many emails to your friends or co-workers.
The laptop was not without its own enemy, and it became known as the tablet. Consumers loved the idea of being able to slide their computing device in their purse, man-pouch, or even their pocket as the 7-inch tablet grew in popularity. As tablets became more sophisticated with faster processors, more memory and storage, as well as lower prices, user were buying them up left and right.
The 2012 sales figures from IDC’s chart above clearly shows the market share of these devices and how Laptops (portable PC) at 16.8-percent have taken over from PCs sitting at 12.4-percent. The Tablets are at 10.7-percent while Smartphones control a whopping 60.1-percent at this point.
Just like the laptop and smartphone sales took sales away from the PC and the Tablet took sales from the laptop, it may be that the emergence of the portable or wearable devices may rob sales from the tablet and smartphone. So much so that IDC Analyst Tom Mainelli said in a statement that projection of tablet sales are being decreased:
A lower than anticipated second quarter, hampered by a lack of major product announcements, means the second half of the year now becomes even more critical for a tablet market that has traditionally seen its highest shipment volume occur during the holiday season.
I doubt there will be too much of a drop in 2013, considering smartwatches are only being announced this year, and Google Glass will not be available until 2014. There are some consumers that will be early adopters and buy them right away, but the majority of consumers take a “wait and see” attitude and will wait for the next generation of smartwatch.
Electronics is an ever changing world and there is always the next best thing as manufacturers are able to squeeze more power into a smaller size. We should have a good sense of how wearable devices will effect smartphone and tablet sales by the end of 2014. Do you look forward to wearing your tablet or smartphone on your wrist or about your eyes?