Some analysts have been predicting it for a while, but it seems that the ‘post-PC era’ is finally drawing near as more consumers turn away from PCs and towards mobile devices.
While desktops and laptops are still a long way from disappearing completely, it can’t have escaped the attention of businesses that for working flexibly, tablets and smartphones have now reached a stage of development where they offer a comparable range of functionality to PCs in a much more convenient form.
This has been illustrated in data published this week by Gartner. The market research firm forecast that combined shipments of PCs, tablets and smartphones will increase by 5.9% this year compared with 2012, to 2.35 billion units.
But that’s not the interesting part. Garter forecast tablet shipments will increase by 67.9% in 2013, while PC shipments are set to fall 10.6%. By 2014, shipments of tablets plus ‘ultramobiles’ – which include Windows 8 tablet/PC hybrids as well as Internet-centric Chromebooks – will hit nearly 316 million, eclipsing the 289 million PCs projected to ship. The 1.9 billion mobile phones expected to ship in 2014 will also dwarf PCs.
Research vice-president at Gartner Carolina Milanesi said this reflects a significant shift in the way people want to interact with technology. She stated: “Consumers want anytime-anywhere computing that allows them to consume and create content with ease, but also share and access that content from a different portfolio of products.”
What this means is businesses will not only have to prepare for an influx of mobile gadgets into their workplaces, but also get serious about supporting key applications, including Unified Communication ones.
These include mobile apps that allow workers to be reached wherever they are, while saving companies on pricey mobile per-minute charges during the business day.
Also, personal video conferencing will get a boost, due to the convenience and rapidly-improving quality from using a tablet or smartphone over a fast 4G or LTE network. Tablets also enable rich, easy collaboration through document sharing and editing. As Enterprise Apps Today reported, tablets are helping to drive 20% year-over-year growth in the enterprise Web conferencing market, according to market research firm TechNavio.