Tablets Take a Big Bite Out of Notebooks

Digitimes have the estimate for 2011 and the forecast for 2012 and beyond. Shipments of notebooks were growing at more than 20% per annum recently but the estimate is just a few percent growth in 2011 and beyond while tablets will grow 60% over the next year (before that other OS is expected).

The forecast for 2012 is 95 million tablets to be shipped. Digitimes estimates growth of tablets from 2010 to 2011 will be 188% and from 2011 to 2012 will be 59%. There is a lot of uncertainty about when that other OS will ship on tablets, but it looks to be an unsubstantial part of the forecast. OTOH Android/Linux will finally arrive on tablets as things are going.

Smart phones, too, are expected to continue growth of shipments to a staggering billion per year within a few years. The forecast is for tablets to nearly overtake notebooks after 2014. I would not bank on that but M$’s dream of continued monopoly must certainly be clouded.

If the numbers are anywhere close to reality, we have reached the tipping point where enough OEMs are shipping GNU/Linux or Android/Linux to make a difference. Growth in x86 PCs of all kinds will max out in 2011 and have nowhere to go but down. This will be helped by a shortage of hard drives. With shipments of x86 will fall the Wintel monopoly. In another article, Digitimes reports: “Since ARM is cooperating with Microsoft, and Intel with Google, multiple choices of platform will mean a single platform will no longer dominate the market, and competition will also force the upstream giants to provide a wider range of options to their downstream partners.” Translated into my language, there will be choice on retail shelves by 2012. Watch the consumers slurp up small cheap computers running Free Software.

Expect more lawsuits as M$ fights the turning tide. Expect the world to kick out software patents as the courts and global industry become clogged with the rotting remnants of the dinosaur. The world of IT will be a very different place in three years.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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