Tablets killing PCs, but cost a factor - Gartner

2013-10-22 12:02
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - As the global demand for computers declines the market for mobile devices such as tablets is steaming ahead, research shows.

Data provided by Gartner shows that the global market for PCs declined by 8.4% in 2013, but the tablet market is showing robust growth, expected to increase by 53.4% this year.

The company said that the price for premium tablets with a display of 18cm continued to show price declines as consumers preferred this size for content consumption and mobility.

"The survey showed that the average screen sizes of the tablets in use across the countries ranged from 8.3 inches to 9.5 inches. [18cm to 24cm] Forty-seven percent of the 21 500 consumers surveyed owned a tablet that was 8 inches or less," Gartner said.

Apple is set to launch the latest version of its iPad on Tuesday and expectations are that the top-selling tablet will employ fingerprint recognition technology as seen in the latest iPhone.


Gartner though, warned that cost was becoming more of a determining factor in the purchase of tablets.

"While consumers will be bombarded with ads for the new ultra mobile devices, we expect their attention to be grabbed but not necessarily their money," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

She added that the focus over the spending season would be on smaller tablets, potentially hurting the sales of Apple's larger iPad.

"Continuing on the trend we saw last year, we expect this holiday season to be all about smaller tablets as even the long-term holiday favourite - the smartphone - loses its appeal."


Gartner said that the window for high-priced smartphones such as the iPhone 5s, Sony Xperia Z1, Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One was closing as consumers looked for functionality over brand.

"Growth is expected to come from mid-tier smartphones in mature markets and low-end Android smartphones in emerging markets," the company said.

If this is true, it has positive implications for manufacturers like Huawei, ZTE and LG. These brands don't generally compete in the premium market, but usually have some of the features that consumers expect from top-end smartphones.

Android dominance

LG's Optimus G Pro sports NFC technology, a 13 megapixel camera, and is powered by a 1.7GHz quad core processor. The Huawei Ascend P6 doesn't support LTE networks like the Optimus, but has a 1.5GHz quad core processor and weighs only 120g.

Both of those devices ship with Google Android 4 (Jelly Bean) operating system at prices significantly lower than the premium smartphones from bigger brands.


Gartner said that Android will continue its dominance on mobile devices, extending its lead over second place Microsoft Windows and Apple's iOS in third.

The company warned that Microsoft in particular, would have to work to expand the user ecosystem of Windows, or risk losing market share.

"Windows Phone challenges in the smartphone market remain the same, with the need to bring on board more developers and enrich the ecosystem, as well as turning the Windows Phone brand into a cool smartphone brand," said Milanesi.

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Read more on:    apple  |  huawei  |  gartner  |  lg  |  microsoft  |  google  |  ipad  |  mobile
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