Mobile
Commentary
1/31/2011
12:57 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
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Mobile Devices To Surpass PCs In 2011

It was inevitable that this time would come. Mobile phones have long since surpassed PC purchases but 2011 will be the first year that internet connected devices, not merely dumb phones, will surpass sales of full sized computers.

It was inevitable that this time would come. Mobile phones have long since surpassed PC purchases but 2011 will be the first year that internet connected devices, not merely dumb phones, will surpass sales of full sized computers.The way the data is split, according to a report issued by Deloitte, mobile devices include smartphones, tablets and, surprisingly, netbooks. Smartphones and tablets are obvious. They have custom operating systems designed just for mobile devices, such as iOS, Android and Windows Phone. They also run on less powerful and more power conscience processors, generally based on the ARM architecture. Netbooks, on the other hand, generally run the same OS as the desktop, usually Windows but perhaps Linux. They do run the Atom processor, but that is based on the venerable x86 Intel chip. They do specify that the netbooks considered a mobile device though in this study are "non-PC netbooks."

For practical purposes though, this is really about smartphones and tablets, as non-PC netbooks are a very minor percentage of the market. What isn't clear is are ereaders such as the Kindle included? They are definitely internet connected, allowing you to download content either over cellular networks, WiFi or both. They also allow basic web browsing.

Smartphones have been used in the enterprise for years. Tablets are a relative new comer. The report said that 25 percent of all tablet purchases in 2011 would be by the enterprise. There are a lot of people that need access to email, the web and the ability to give PowerPoint presentations and just don't need the full power, weight and complexity of a laptop. In addition to that are people that never leave their place of business but need mobile computing solutions, such as medical staff, warehouse employees and university employees.

The biggest beneficiary to the tablet explosion will be Apple, at least initially. For all intents and purposes, they started the market in 2010 and sold nearly 15 million devices in just nine months. They have a big head start on the competition but Android is also fairing well. The first Android tablets showed up in late 2010 and over two million of those have been sold. HP is joining the fray in 2011 with WebOS based tablets.

The other half of the mobile device juggernaut, smartphones, show no signs of slowing. The market will certainly change composition. Nokia and RIM are expected to continue to slide as Android and iOS powered device march forward. Windows Phone is just getting started and Microsoft has repeatedly said it is fully committed to the success of the platform. It has to be. That is where the growth is. The PC market isn't going anywhere, but fewer and fewer people need a new powerful or lightweight computer when their existing model will hold up just fine. After all, just get a smartphone or tablet will do most of what people need with a snappy user interface and battery life that will easily last all day long.

It really shouldn't come as a surprise then that the PC market now takes second fiddle to the mobile device market.

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