Smartphones overtake PCs in shipments for first time

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
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

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 ZDNet.com.

Get the latest technology news and analysis, blogs and reviews delivered directly to your inbox with ZDNet UK's newsletters.


Editorial standards