Tablet sales will overtake laptop sales this year: report

A new report from IDC indicates that the PC market could be in serious trouble. The future is likely to be considerably brighter for tablet manufacturers. 

Consumers increasingly prefer the touch-centric interface of a tablet to more traditional PCs, according to a new report. Here, the Microsoft Surface tablet.

The PC market is rapidly losing ground to tablets such as the Microsoft Windows Surface Pro and the Apple iPad

According to a new report from IDC, an analytics firm based outside of Boston, worldwide tablet shipments in 2013 will likely hit 229.3 million units – a 59 percent increase from last year. In a separate report, IDC predicted that PC shipments would fall 7.8 percent this year, and continue to shrink substantially in the years ahead. 

In fact, IDC believes that by the end of 2013, tablet sales will surpass laptop sales globally. 

"Many users are realizing that everyday computing, such as accessing the Web, connecting to social media, sending emails, as well as using a variety of apps, doesn't require a lot of computing power or local storage," IDC exec Loren Loverde said in a statement. "Instead, they are putting a premium on access from a variety of smaller devices with longer battery life, an instant-on function, and intuitive touch-centric interfaces." 

Loverde was careful to stress that PCs are not in danger of going completely obsolete any time soon. In fact, he pointed out, many consumers "have not necessarily given up on PCs as a platform for computing when a more robust environment is needed, but this takes a smaller share of computing time, and users are making do with older systems." 

A couple years ago, of course, the word tablet was pretty much synonymous with the iPad. But more recently, Apple has seen its tablet market supremacy challenged by a range of deep-pocketed competitors, including Microsoft, with its Surface line of tablets; and Google, with its popular Nexus 7; and Amazon, with its Kindle Fire.

In addition, scores of lower-priced Android tablets jostle for attention in the aisles of Target and Walmart. 

"The takeaway?" asks Michael Endler of Information Week. "PCs aren't dead, but they'll never be as central to most of our lives as they used to be."

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