Tabs are killing netbooks and smartphone are gobbling PCs up.
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That’s according to analysts Canalys, whose latest figures show dropping demand for traditional PCs, including netbooks and desktops, which are suffering at the hands of tablets like the iPad and Acer Iconia Tab.
26.5m tabs were shipped globally in Q4 last, while netbooks lagged with just 6.7m.
Although notebooks still stayed ahead of the game with 57.9m shipments, meaning the new Ultrabook category – a brainchild of Intel – could do the business for non-tab PCs this year.
Desktops shipments too were sluggish last quarter at 29.1m – just 3m more than its mobile rival, the tab.
And the mobile invasion continued in the smartphone arena last year with demand for iPhones, Androids and the likes outstripped PCs for the first time in Q4, which analysts say is a “significant milestone.”
487.7m smarties were shipped (62% growth), while above 70m less PCs left factories in total last year, or 414 million.
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And although this marks an increase in PC demand, it was driven almost exclusively by tabs (+186%), growth in smartphone numbers was far higher.
Also, the growth in tabs didn’t appear to affect smartphones shipments either, suggesting the dynamic duo of tablet and smartphone are complementary (well until tabs can start making phone calls – cue Samsung’s Galaxy Note, due in Oz soon).
“In 2011 we saw a fall in demand for netbooks, and slowing demand for notebooks and desktops as a direct result of rising interest in pads,” said Chris Jones, Canalys, Principal Analyst.
“But pads have had negligible impact on smart phone volumes and markets across the globe have seen persistent and substantial growth through 2011.”
In the space of a few years, smart phones have grown from being a niche expensive product to becoming a “truly mass-market” proposition, helped by cheaper models.
However, Canalys expects to see the smartphone market growth slow in 2012 as vendors exercise greater cost control and discipline, and focus on profitability.
Vendors conquering the low-end phone space like Huawei, ZTE and LG, now have their eye on the higher end of the market where the likes of Apple and Samsung reign.
And speaking of the smartphone kings vendors did well last quarter, as per other analysts findings.
But analysts say all is not lost for RIM owners BlackBerry, suggesting its demise has been “overplayed.”
“RIM’s demise in 2011 has been over played by some, with the company ending the year as the fourth largest smart phone vendor and delivering annual unit growth of 5%,” said Canalys Principal Analyst, Pete Cunningham.
“There is no denying that RIM has had a tough year. But when you consider that it is transitioning to a new platform it has done well to increase volume while remaining profitable; the latter point being something that many other vendors struggle with.
The appointment of Thorsten Heins as CEO will bring “new energy” to the company although 2012 will become even more competitive year than 2011, he added.