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Tablets Accounted for 46 Percent of PC Shipments in Q4

By - Source: Canalys | B 27 comments

134 million units includes 46.2 million units qualifying as tablets.

Tablets accounted for over a third of worldwide PC shipments during 2012's fourth quarter, according to research firm, Canalys.

PC shipments increased by 12 percent year-over-year to 134 million units with 46.2 million units qualifying as tablets, representing a 75 percent year-over-year increase. Apple shipped 27 million iPad units, giving it a 20 percent share of the market for the first time. Full year tablet shipments totaled 114.6 million units.

The iPad Mini accounted for more than half of the company's total iPad shipments. However, due to supply issues with other iPad variants, Apple’s tablet share dropped below 49 percent. Consequently, for the first time, the firm didn't control over half the tablet market.

"Apple timed the launch of the iPad Mini well," said Canalys research analyst, Pin-Chen Tang. "Its success proves there is a clear demand for pads with smaller screens at a more affordable price. Without the launch, Apple would surely have lost more ground to its competitors."

Samsung became a top five vendor for the first time in overall PC sales, with HP, Apple and Lenovo topping the list. Its Galaxy tablet shipped 7.6 million units, a year-over-year increase of 226 percent, while its notebook computers shipped 4.1 million units, which gave it a 9 percent share of the PC market.

Amazon's expanded Kindle Fire lineup and additional markets increased its worldwide shipments by 18 percent to 4.6 million units. Google’s Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets "performed relatively well" and shipped a combined 2.6 million units during the fourth quarter.

"The sub-$200 price brands now feature products from established players that do not rely on low-quality components," said Canalys analyst, Tom Evans. "Those who control ecosystems, such as Amazon and Google, can obtain revenue from content sales, but pure hardware OEMs must accept decreasing margins or exit."

Canalys said Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet shipped 720,000 units in Q4. "The outlook for Windows RT appears bleak. Hardware OEMs are ignoring it due, in part, to a pricing strategy that does not align with the economics of the pad market."

According to Canalys, Microsoft will "rethink its pricing strategy for RT in the coming weeks." The research firm suggested that Microsoft should decrease the price of the operating system by 60 percent to get "OEMs back onside." In order to increase Windows RT sales, it said Microsoft has to increase manufacturer support, as well as delivering an effective strategy to educate consumers on the platform and attract new developers.

Tablet display shipments have already surpassed the shipments of notebooks, while global shipments during 2013 are expected to approach the quarter of a billion mark. Michael Dell, who recently spearheaded a $24.4 billion deal to make the company he founded go public, lately admitted that the rapid rise of tablets has surprised him.


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  • 8 Hide
    abbadon_34 , February 8, 2013 6:44 AM
    Tablets are NOT PC's. I repeat: Tablets are NOT, unless they have a x86/x64 compatible OS, they ARE NOT PCs!
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , February 8, 2013 8:12 AM
    Tablets are definitely not going to completely replace PC is any foreseeable future. There are many things that PC are currently doing, are completely beyond the capabilities of tablets. Still, it is also obvious that tablets is going to take away a chunk of existing PC market as the usage scenarios for certain user groups never require a full-blown PC to begin with. So the PC market segment is going to shrink. The only question is at what level the market will stabilize again. Any PC vendor who exit the scene completely now will be a gain for their competitor, as this mean they will sell more PCs in the long run with less competition. Still, PC vendors will need to learn to diversify to future-proof their business as the current users are taking longer and longer to replace their PCs. It will be inevitable for PC vendors to seek additional revenue by providing software services, or to learn to build many different kinds of gadgets such as tablets, smartphones, TV etc etc.
  • 9 Hide
    merikafyeah , February 8, 2013 8:40 AM
    PC = personal computer. What is a computer?

    A computer is anything that computes. A pocket calculator is a computer. Cellphones nowadays are computers. Even your car has a computer running inside it.

    A computer is not limited to a single operating system or instruction set. Most of the machines that mass-produce all our hardware are controlled by computers that run on custom processors and operating systems that are most certainly not x86-64, since that requires a license.

    Some computers don't even run on electricity. In fact, the very first computers were purely mechanical, and some say that the very first computer program was created by a female mathematician named Ada Lovelace nearly 200 years ago.

    One of the very earliest computers that we know of is an ancient device known as the Antikythera mechanism, created over 2000 years ago. The Antikythera mechanism was used to calculate astronomical positions with astonishing accuracy. Before its discovery no one thought it was even remotely possible for such complex gearing to even exist at that time. It is difficult to create such a complex device even with today's modern technology. The device's calculations involved an understanding of mathematics, astronomy, and mechanical engineering that far exceed the level of a typical college graduate. It is quite possibly the greatest testament to human genius ever created.

    So yea... a tablet is most definitely a PC.
  • -2 Hide
    spentshells , February 8, 2013 10:27 AM
    Tablets are ems ghey
  • 0 Hide
    drwho1 , February 8, 2013 10:36 AM
    Ada Lovelace
    why is that name familiar?

    I do agree with you though.
  • -2 Hide
    shipandcarry , February 8, 2013 11:14 AM
    "PC = personal computer. What is a computer? A computer is anything that computes."

    A "personal computer" however is not just anything that computes, but rather anything that computes whatever its owners wishes. The term was created in the 70s to describe computers that could be programmed by their owners, unlike for example, smart terminals which would require a central server to function.

    Many tablet computers, eg. iPads, actually can't function properly without connecting to a central server. You can't install software that isn't approved by Apple. The same is true for Microsoft's latest tablet endeavors.

    As long as you can't write your own programs and, more importantly for the majority of owners, can't run someone else's programs, your computer is not a personal computer.

    "So yea... a tablet is most definitely a PC."

    Nay. It's not a PC. It's just a computer that you'll throw away in a few years contributing in a landfill.
  • 1 Hide
    Non-Euclidean , February 8, 2013 11:47 AM
    abbadon_34Tablets are NOT PC's. I repeat: Tablets are NOT, unless they have a x86/x64 compatible OS, they ARE NOT PCs!

    By definition they are, Einstein. They are PERSONAL COMPUTERS. Just because they dont have all the bells and whistles of your x86 doesnt mean they are not PERSONAL COMPUTERS.

  • -3 Hide
    Non-Euclidean , February 8, 2013 11:50 AM
    shipandcarry"Many tablet computers, eg. iPads, actually can't function properly without connecting to a central server. "

    Stop lying. Seriously, its pathetic.

    iPads function fine in standalone mode.

    The rest of your post is so much lame opinion on the definition of a PC.

    Newflash, man-with-the-blinders-on-permanently, your smartphone is a PC also.

  • 5 Hide
    g00fysmiley , February 8, 2013 11:54 AM
    "Apple timed the launch of the iPad Mini well," said Canalys research analyst, Pin-Chen Tang. "Its success proves there is a clear demand for pads with smaller screens at a more affordable price. Without the launch, Apple would surely have lost more ground to its competitors."

    ... so apple invented the small form factor tablet... a year after the kindle fire, and many other small form factor tablets.. yep the kind of quote and info you expect to find in a zak article apple, innovating by immitating
  • 0 Hide
    demonhorde665 , February 8, 2013 12:04 PM
    abbadon_34Tablets are NOT PC's. I repeat: Tablets are NOT, unless they have a x86/x64 compatible OS, they ARE NOT PCs!

    actually many tablets do include a full OS and secondly , PC = Personal computer , which tablets are.

    now don't get me wrong i'm a desktop enthusiast but i'm not dillussional. I think in the future , tablets may kill lap tops and netbooks. but desktops will all ways have staying power for their buisness use and the sheer ammount of power you can pack into a tower. that said , Tablets are PC's no they are not desk tops , but they ahve every thing else a pc has that makes it a pc ,

    OS (any kind) - check
    CPU - check
    GPU - check
    Ram -check
    Storage memory - check
    Monitor - check
    human interfaces (physical or otherwise ) - check
    Inputs for mroe physical interfaces - check

    saying they arn't pc's is the sign of some one that wants mainstream progress to stop. get over it dude . Desk tops were NEVER really a good idea for main stream computing , they are bulky, expensive, and over over powered for the average user's need's.

    so you arn't part of the mainstream (neither am i ) but hell you still got your brand cake and ice cream , let others have thier's.
  • 2 Hide
    Woulff , February 8, 2013 12:11 PM
    I think people get confused because there is always the Apple vs PC mentality. The reference shouldd be desktops vs. tablets vs. smartphone when seperation is needed. PC should be use to encompass all. Personal Computer should not be limited to Windows, x86/64.
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , February 8, 2013 12:28 PM
    shipandcarryMany tablet computers, eg. iPads, actually can't function properly without connecting to a central server.

    There are at least three reasons why some apps 'require' internet connection:
    1- pushing ads
    2- DRM: put some of the pay-features logic on the cloud so people cannot hack them
    2.1- keeping the DBs private also prevents people from reverse-engineering your software based on data and structure to make their own competing app
    3- the databases supporting the app are too large and are updated too frequently to be worth distributing with the app
    3.1- ex.: GPS that use online traffic reports to pick the fastest route, avoid construction zones, accidents, streets closed for local events or other reasons, etc.
  • -3 Hide
    Miharu , February 8, 2013 12:33 PM
    You can't compare hardware for telling it's a PC or not. My tv also have OS, CPU, GPU, RAM, Storage, Monitor, human interface and inputs... so my tv is a PC ? not really.

    The main problem here is the main functions of the PC.
    You can do 'HARD' work with your PC.
    You can run complex application on your PC.
    You have an open ecosystem on your PC.
    You have a keyboard and a mouse.

    You can do 'LIGHT' work on your tablet.
    You can run simple application on your tablet.
    You have a mostly closed ecosystem on your tablet.
    Some model allow you to connect keyboard and a mouse.

    By definition PC = Tablet, but a tablet it's just a light form.
    You can compare a tablet to a 10 year old pc. Did you still use your 10 year old PC ? no because you had the need to change it with a newer faster model (or perhaps not). The point is, the PC is so much more than what it's was at the begin. Hardwares and softwares help there. I feel something is missing there for telling a tablet is a PC.

    As long that all tablet constructor don't use the same functions... and those functions doesn't include everything you can do with a PC... Tablet != PC.
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , February 8, 2013 12:49 PM
    demonhorde665I think in the future , tablets may kill lap tops and netbooks. but desktops will all ways have staying power for their buisness use and the sheer ammount of power you can pack into a tower.

    Tablets will very likely kill the Nettop since tablets can do just about everything nettop do if you simply pair a BT or docking keyboard.

    They will likely put a large dent in the low-end laptops and desktops too once more fully-fledged desktop-like software becomes available on Android and Android devices start having enough RAM to run full-blown rather than stripped-down applications. Mid-range and high-end laptops and desktops on the other hand will not disappear any time soon since they serve very different market segments than low-end stuff and tablets.

    As far as desktop staying in businesses, many businesses are swapping their desktops for laptops to simplify management and enable their employees to take their work to their bosses/co-workers/meetings rather than have to ask their bosses/co-workers to their office to show/discuss details.
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , February 8, 2013 12:59 PM
    MiharuYou can do 'HARD' work with your PC.You can run complex application on your PC.

    Most people who own PCs use them mostly for Facebook, dumping photos from their phones/cameras and other trivial stuff. They wouldn't even need a PC if Android had a usable file manager built-in with full support for USB storage but most devices do not have USB-A ports to make this convenient.

    As for "complex" applications, many of today's tablets and smartphones are more powerful than a ~5 years old Pentium 4/D and I used to run Xilinx ISE, Modelsim, MATLAB, VisualStudio, etc. on a P4. The main reason tablets "cannot do heavy work" is simply that "heavy" applications have not been ported to tablets... yet. (2GB RAM would still be a rather tight fit for many of those.)
  • -1 Hide
    bustapr , February 8, 2013 1:06 PM
    i bought a nexus 7 over the holidays and I really dont think these tablets are going to be all theyre expected to be. I tinkered around that tablet and used it for like 2 weeks and now its laying around somewhere collecting dust waiting to be given away. from my personal experience tablets are almost a fad. they have theyre good uses like mobility and some touch UI apps, but for web surfing and just doing most stuff, a good laptop is just more enjoyable to use(for me anyways). alot of people in my college classes are the same, they bought a tablet and used it for a few weeks, then went back to using a phone for everything a tablet can do. if more people around the world had the same experience I had with tablets, then I have no doubt sales will be much smaller next holidays.

    this is just the way I see things though as a college student who uses his laptop every day for nearly everything from word, games, net surfing, all the way to programming. I just dont find many uses for a tablet.
  • 2 Hide
    Wisecracker , February 8, 2013 1:13 PM

    46.2 divided by 134 = 34.4776%

  • 0 Hide
    shipandcarry , February 8, 2013 1:22 PM
    Non-Euclidean.iPads function fine in standalone mode.

    Does "function fine" include programmability ?
  • -4 Hide
    shipandcarry , February 8, 2013 1:33 PM
    Let me give you an example why tablet toys are not PCs. There is a Commodore64 emulator for the iPad. A developer made it. Yet you can't run it. Why ? Apple doesn't allow it. That's why the iPad is not a Personal Computer. Were it was, you would have that option.

    Walled garden computing does have its uses -- and its audience. Just don't confuse it with the power and freedom of a PC.
  • 1 Hide
    Soda-88 , February 8, 2013 3:07 PM
    Most tablets on the market are nothing more but a digital newspaper device oriented towards media consumption. PC is a device that's productivity oriented. Just because most of the people can get by with tablets doesn't mean desktop PC will be completely redundant. Nothing can replace a mouse, a keyboard and a big monitor when it comes down to productivity and that's what's going to keep desktop form factor live and kicking for a very long time.
    The only tablet that's worth being called a PC is Surface Pro, which, funnily enough sports x86 CPU and desktop OS. Now it's up to Intel to keep pushing power consumption down and IGP performance up for it to rival most desktop features. Full blown desktop PC will always do everything better (faster and with greater comfort, i.e. bigger screen, without clumsy input devices, etc.) for less money.
    It's a natural evolution in PC industry. OEMs have to diversify their product lineup for the same reason why you don't see every car company produce only SUVs.
    That's why Windows 8 is what it is, and it was a move in the right direction whether you like it or not.
    Would you rather have a 10-core Ivy Bridge Extreme desktop workstation, a Surface Pro and Lumia 920, all with Windows 8 (assuming you're going to use all those devices) or the same workstation, and iPad and Android phone? Think people, that's what kept Apple going for so long, but now they're outgunned heavily by MS in that they've got more powerful/versatile devices and sell them for less money. Windows based custom built workstation will sport latest hardware unlike Mac Pro, Surface Pro costs roughly the same as 11" MBA, provides equal performance and doubles as iPad when needed, and having a phone that's natively a part of the ecosystem is just a plus, again for the people who can utilize it all.
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