Smartphones overtake PCs in shipments for first time

Summary:Hardware makers shipped more smartphones than PCs last year, according to an analyst report, driven by lower prices and a rising appetite for internet browsing on handsets

Smartphones have outstripped PCs in shipments for the first time, according to a report from Canalys.

Approximately 488 million smartphones shipped worldwide in 2011, compared with 415 million client PCs, the analyst firm said in the report, released on Friday. The year saw a higher demand for netbooks, compared with desktops or notebooks, and a greater interest in tablets, according to Canalys. All of this created more competition for client PCs, it said.

"In the space of a few years, smart phones have grown from being a niche product segment at the high-end of the mobile phone market to becoming a truly mass-market proposition," Canalys's principal analyst Chris Jones said in the report. "The greater availability of smart phones at lower price points has helped tremendously, but there has been a driving trend of increasing consumer appetite for internet browsing, content consumption and engaging with apps and services on mobile devices."

However, Canalys warned that the surge for smartphones will slow down considerably this year as "vendors exercise greater cost control and discipline, and put more focus on profitability."

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see Canalys: Smartphone shipments surpassed PCs in 2011 on

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Topics: Mobility, Smartphones


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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