Tablets don’t have better performance characteristics than PCs, in fact they have much less functionality than PCs, but people want tablets, not PCs.

Half of all tablet sales last year were in Q4, says Futuresource Consulting, that’s 64 million tablets sold in one quarter. In the whole of 2012, 136 million were sold.


Averaged out across the year, about 83 million PCs are sold per quarter.


It’s an unfair comparison, but it shows the distance tablets have travelled since Apple kicked off the genre less than two years ago.


It’s unnerving to see the first iPad was launched in April 2010.


Analysts don’t expect unit yearly sales of tablets to equal PC unit sales for another three years.


That’s a blazingly fast replacement cycle of one genre by another.


Last year, 350 PCs were sold to 125 million tablets, says Future Horizons. In 2016, PC and table unit sales will be the same at around 300 million.


But, if Q4’s month-on-month tablet unit growth of 100% is replicated throughout 2013 then, of course, tablets will overtake PCs early in Q3 2013.


Why are tablets so popular?


One reason, I think, is because women love them. Suddenly women are looking up train times, hotels, restaurants, airline routes, shop opening times, ticket prices etc – tasks which they used to delegate to a bloke with a PC.


In pre-tab days, I think women didn’t want the fag of booting up a PC and navigating through all those menus to find stuff.


One day we’ll remember how, for 25 years, we used to look in stores at serried ranks of identical Wintel machines and think: Why on earth did they never change?



  1. @scunnerous
    Storage is easy nowadays you can buy a USB3 Memory stick with 128Mbytes for very little money, however you do need a tablet that has USB connectivity (unlike Apple)

  2. I still think I need on ‘family’ desktop PC at home and a laptop as well as tablet and smart phone, but then I still prefer o buy CDs…
    However I can easily see that many will want an individual smartphone and tablet but could do without a dedicated PC.

  3. I’m so sorry Scunnerous, my apologies. I complained to our IT people today about the ‘too many comments’ thing. I get this b message frequently and so do others. I am doing all I can to kick IT ass. As to PCs Yes I couldn’t do without my desktop and laptop and my desktop has a T-byte HDD attached so I don’t think I’ll ever need to upgrade it now that PC processors aren’t getting faster very quickly. But I’ve just bought a Kindle Fire to go with my iPad and think tablets are a bit more interesting to play with.

  4. Is a tablet really a replacement though? I don’t see how you can get by without a PC to store the huge amounts of data you collect with photos, videos, etc. and then there’s connection and management of printers, scanners, routers, etc. Personally I would not like to exist without a PC as the main “hub” of my computing “experience”.
    I’m sure it hasn’t escaped Microsoft’s notice that the OS on all those devices, phones, tablets, etc., even TVs, is some flavour of Unix, which must be of err, some concern to them… given Windows RT’s supposed lack of success. I wonder what the current tally is between Unix and Windows on total consumer electronic devices?
    BTW I’m having trouble posting again: keep getting “too many comments have been submitted from you” and my Movable Type password won’t “stick”.

  5. OMG SEPAM how horrendous. Interesting how the Japanese are often way ahead in understanding the future of tech, but often very slow to implement their vision in the form of products. I’ve seen great products in Japan which never make it it, or make it late, to other countries’ markets. One Japanese exec said they call it the ‘Galapagos Islands effect’ because they feel their own innovative ideas won’t make it in the outside world and are waiting for the outside world to validate the idea before they launch new products. It would be a good thing if Japan had more confidence in its own vision.

  6. SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

    And how long before tablets are kicked loses to e-glasses? You might want to look up “Denno Coil” for a view on how this future might look.

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