Tablets now comprise 1 out of every 4 PCs sold

Should tablets be considered computers? While experts debate the tech equivalent of how many angels dance on the head of a pin, consumers are voting with their wallets. Tablets sales increased nearly 50 percent during the third quarter while computer purchases are on life support.

Today’s numbers from IDC reflect a continuing trend away from PCs and toward mobile devices. Globally, 27.7 million tablets were sold during the third-quarter. This follows last month’s numbers which showed PC sales declined 8.6 percent to 87.7 million during the same period…

If you classified PCs and tablets as computers, the total number of worldwide units sold reached 115.5 million during the third-quarter of this year. Tablets would comprise 24 percent of the computers sold during the previous quarter, according to GigaOM.

This diverging trend is not going away, as Apple’s advertising has been suggesting since the original iPad came along two and a half years ago.

Following up on the earlier report that smartphone sales are leading PC demand, wireless industry group the Wireless Broadband Alliance Monday announced smartphones have overtaken laptops as the preferred device to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots.

Independent analyst Horace Dediu believes tablets will outsell PCs by late 2013.

The decline of PCs and the ascendance of mobile was fueled by the missteps of computer Goliaths HP and Dell. Both companies were left scrambling for a new audience as consumers shifted toward smartphones and tablets.

Who are the tech leaders with the biggest momentum?

Not IBM or HP, but Apple and Android.

The purpose of PCs are shifting from their central role to one of specialization. Other technology has had to deal with these changes. Television, for instance, has moved from a family’s lone focus to a third screen acting as an intermediary of discussions that start from a smartphone’s Twitter comment to a video displayed on a tablet.

In my case, my iMac serves as a writing station and web development platform. The iPhone handles general communication while the iPad comfortably displays videos, websites and other graphics.

Will the PC survive?


I don’t believe anyone presumes the PC will become like your old parallel cords. Instead, desktops will largely vanish, replaced by laptops which fade into the background, our mobile devices assuming the bulk of everyday use.