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PC's Off, (Cheap) Tabs On

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 22/10/2013

Forget PC's, its all about tablets as iPhone & Co lose their sex appeal.

Cheaper, 7 inches, and Androids all whet mobile appetites, as consumers turn off the grand 'ol PC in droves. 

PC, tablets and mobiles to grow 4.5% this year, says Gartner, with tablets set to almost double to 184 million shipments, as Apple gets set to announce a 5th Gen iPad, iPad mini 2, and Nokia first ever tablet to be revealed, this week.

Microsoft new Surface 2, Samsung and several other have all gone hard on tablets and phablets in the lead up to Christmas. But take note Apple, tabs have gone cheap. 

'Smaller is better'

Pricey tablets are being challenged by price drop in 7-inch tabs -  Androids in particular, as consumers prefer smaller devices. 

"Continuing on the trend we saw last year, we expect this holiday season to be all about smaller tablets as even the long-term holiday favorite - the smartphone - loses its appeal "said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

A recent consumer study that Gartner conducted in countries including China, Germany, UK, and U.S. confirms smaller is better when it comes to tablets. 

Vendors like Samsung, Acer and Toshiba are transitioning to new Intel processors Bay Trail and Haswell, rolling out Windows 8.1. But Android will remain leader of the pack across all device, on pace to account for 40%  of all tablets, PC and smartphones in 2013

MS Windows is to decline 4.3% in 2013 as due to traditional PC sales, but will return to growth in 2014 with device OS  increasing 10 percent, Gartner predicts. Traditional PCs (including desk-tops,notebook) are set to fall over 8% to 303 m this year. 

The market is being driven by a shift to lower-priced devices in nearly all three tech categories - a decent Android tablet can be bought for under $300, and even premium seekers Apple lowered price of iPad. 

However, theres opportunity for hybrid 'ultramobiles', the functionality of a PC and the look of tablet, which should be good news for Asus who are launching an new Transformer Book Trio in OZ this week 

Mobile phones are projected to grow almost four percent, to 1.8 billion this year,but growth to come from mid-tier models  in mature markets rather than premium end like iPhone 5s, Samsung S4, HTC One 

Be Cool, Microsoft

Milanesi acknowledges the challenges for newcomer MS Windows Phone is "turning the Windows Phone brand into a cool smartphone."  

"Windows Phone challenges  include" the need to bring on board more developers and enrich the ecosystem", she added. 

Of Redmond's recent purchase of hardware maker Nokia, she said "while there are clear benefits to the acquisition, such as channel strength, carrier relationship and emerging-market knowledge, the brand and ecosystem do not directly benefit from it".

Gartner says 90 percent of large enterprises have either migrated or are migrating to Windows 7 or Windows 8.

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