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Affordable tablets causing headache for PC sales - report
Affordable tablets causing headache for PC sales - report
October 22, 2013 | By Mike Rose




According to a new report from technology analyst firm Gartner, the tablet industry is set to explode over the next year, with tablet sales increasing by 53 percent this year alone.

While sales of PC devices -- both desktop and notebook -- are projected to decline by 11.2 percent this year and then again in 2014, tablet and mobile devices are expected to see notable sales increases.

In 2014 in particular, Gartner believes more than 263 million tablets will be shipped worldwide, compared to 120 million in 2012, and 184 million in 2013. Mobile phone shipments are also on the rise, up 3.7 percent to 1.8 billion shipped worldwide in 2013.

The analyst firm says that this shift is being driven by the injection of lower-priced tablets and mobile devices, and tablets with smaller screen sizes.

The company says that, as part of a survey, it found that nearly half of tablets sold are 8 inches or less in size -- suggesting that game developers should not just keep smaller tablet resolutions in mind when designing games, but make providing multiple resolutions a priority.

In comparison, Gartner says that 341 million PC devices were shipped in 2012, while 303 million are expected to be sold in 2013, and 282 million in 2014. Thanks to the rapid expansion of the tablet space, however, overall device sales are expected to increase by 4.5 percent in 2013.

The full report can be purchased from the Gartner website.


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Comments


Peter Eisenmann
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"Affordable" tablets can also cause a headache for mobile developers, as they are quite often underpowered for the high resolution they provide. It's kinda hard to explain to a non-tech-person why your 3D game doesn't run too smooth on their brand-new device, even if it was only 100$.

Celso Riva
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Those figures must be taken with a grain of salt... you normally don't buy a new PC EVERY YEAR (unless it breaks!). While tablets follow more the trend of cellular phones with very small life cycles.

Frank Moolah
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Yeah u hit the nail right on the noggin. PCs are gonna be more expensive anyway if you buy them to be future proof like me (highest specs at the time of purchase). I upgrade my PC every four years so you really cant take this article seriously.

Jennis Kartens
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Oh look, another PC-doom-prediction report in favor of some entirely different mobile device that is unable to replace most possibilities a PCs offer. Not to speak of their way shorter life cycle...

E Zachary Knight
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Can you browse the internet with a tablet? Yes. Can you get on Facebook with a tablet? Yes. Can you watch YouTube/Netflix/Hulu with a tablet? Yes. Can you play games on a tablet? Yes. Can you check your email on a tablet? Yes. Can you do everything the average person with a non-work issue computer needs to do? Yes.

For a vast majority of people, a tablet meets every need they have for a computer. The only people whose needs aren't met 100% are those with specific work requirements or who are content creators.

Jennis Kartens
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And how can you do that? Very ineffective compared to anything with better physical input and better physical placement.

It is not a sole matter of their abilities or capabilities (from that point only, mobile devices have already reached equality for 90% of day-to-day business anyways) it is a matter of efficiency through input and usability.

Input and physical restrictions remain something you cannot counter only with power. Humans remain who they are, do not grow another arm to hold tablets and still have only ten fingers for input.

As soon as that changes, I can see a true shift. Right now, I don't even want to do my work on my rather expensive notebook, despite the fact that from the simple power, it could be done with a 3 year old smartphone already. But it's just extremely inefficient.

E Zachary Knight
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I don't know about you, but I don't need 3 arms to punch out an email to a friend or update my Facebook status, or watch a movie on Netflix, or play pretty much every game I have bought for my tablet.

Jennis Kartens
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Well sure, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but do you even disagree that it is currently a lot more comfortable to do such work on a PC, or a setup with proper responding, fast input methods and the ability to switch between hundreds of applications, browser tabs etc. in an instant?

That at least was the very core of my argument. They are an *addition* still and no replacement. Or if used as such, they still are not as efficient!

/and given that this particular article/report is about *cheap* tablets on the rise I kind of feel my point is even more valid since while a $10 keyboard or a $200 PC can do the job done as any other, a $150 table (or whatever) may suffer heavy from its pricing, depending of course on the circumstances used and the tablet as such...

Aaron Brande
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"Casuals" are moving in to modern, simplistic designed hardware often designed for the "computer illiterate" masses (tablets, smart phones) - returning full blown PC to the minority realm of "computer nerds" as it was last century.

Merc Hoffner
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Maybe John Gordon really called it, heh http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/201051/

To those saying this is just another PC is doomed prediction - which it is (a prediction I mean, and I genuinely believe financial analysts are the most counter productive bane of the earth), consider that this is a different beast, as the historic arguments have always been about software - this is now about hardware.

If we're approaching an era where the PC is essentially a Ferrari and a tablet is a Ford (no longer a scooter), then I can start to believe it's possible that the market may move.

Dave Hoskins
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Windows 8 is doing a fine job of keeping the public away from desktop, mouse driven computers!
;)

Maria Jayne
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As a Desktop PC Gamer, tablets and touch screen controls are unattractive due to their imprecise nature and significantly under powered performance.

If I didn't play games or didn't play many games, a tablet can probably do everything else I use my desktop for. However the greasy finger marked screen would probably drive me nuts, having to hold it on my lap or lay it flat isn't too attractive either.

The real negative here is as less Desktop PC's are sold, less are made and thus the companies that create the machines or components can't make the same profit on cheaper prices, causing them to die out or become more expensive.

Simone Tanzi
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While I agree with the idea that the more casual consumers are certainly preferring tablets over PCs there are a lot of things that should be said about these statstics about PCs and their actual meaning for the industry.

first of all, what is a PC sale?
does it only consider the purchase of a new pre-built pc?
When I buy a new piece to upgrade my old pc is it considered a whole new pc?
Is it considered a new pc if I buy a new chip case and motherboard but I plug in everything else I had in my old device?
I think it's really hard to define what a new PC is.

Also... PCs have a huge lifespan that keeps increasing thanks to the software developers effort.
It is now common practice to offer low performance solutions for the newest games.
For example, I buyed my PC 9 years ago, I upgraded my GPU 6 years ago and I can still play the latest games on my Windows XP.

Analysis on how much the pc is "doomed" should only consider the number of Active devices and their usage. and by that reasoning the fact that smartphones and tablets are discarded almost yearly and usually have a very limited battery would play at their huge disadvantage.
Also... when in the comfort of their home, most people with access to both a tablet and a PC uses the latter.
The PC is way far from dead, what is kinda dead (and maybe never born) is the need to constantly renew your device.
The cost factor is also a false problem. A low cost IPad is 300$.
If you assemble it yourself, desktop for the same price range will be more than twice more powerful, countless more functions and would dwarf the IPad when it comes to data storage, which is another huge limitation of tablets. It will also last at least 3 times an IPad.
Also... most big hits in mobile gaming are actually rip-offs (or just the same game completely) of old free flash games easily available on pc through sites like kongregate or Newgrounds.
And of course, 99% of the games that you actually have to buy for pc are impossible to reproduce on a tablet. Without even talking about the many limitations of the touchscreen inputs, a single recent game for pc requires at least twice the ram of the best tablet around and twice the HD space for it's most basic installation only. things that are extremely affordable at the same price with a longer lifespan in a desktop format.
As a matter of fact... talking about pc lifespan... my girlfriend pc is broken...
It overheats a lot and suddenly resets when she open any program like photoshop and the like (she's a amateur photographer).
The only thing she can still do it is sending emails, watching youtube, using facebook, twitter etc, playing simple flash games.
All the functions of a tablet are working, and better, in a broken device.

Kujel s
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Just a question but can the "high-end" PC market survive the shrinking user base? Desktops/laptops as a tool are not going any where soon but as a entertainment device I think their time is almost up.

Jennis Kartens
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Their time is not up, but it remains to be seen where all this is really going. The demand (through being used to that option alone, even with younger generations who might grow up rather having a tablet in their hand as a clunky PC in their bedroom) will shrink or already is, but it's not just going away since there is no simple replacement for the demand to be free.

In fact, that is heavy influence not by the mobile market, but by the OS market since "pc gaming" up to date is based upon Windows.
Microsoft foremost has a heavy influence of where this is heading.

Kujel s
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I think you are misunderstanding me, desktops/laptops as work machines are not going away anytime soon but as entertainement devices for the average consumer their time is up. Not only are many people not buying new PCs, kids are growing up on tablets and not PCs.

Jennis Kartens
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I did not misunderstood you. I simply disagree and I explained why.

Simone Tanzi
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High end PCs has Never been for the average consumer.
Also... most PC gamers never grew up with a PC, they acquird that relatively late (I for example had my first pc when I was 16).
The only true issue is, with developers concerned about taking the wider market possible minimum specs for games will remain as low as possible and sales in hardware will slow down as it will be less and less needed to have a updated machine to play games.
But I don't see the number of active gaming built PC decreasing any time soon. Not as a consequence of tablets, that's for sure.


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