Tablet fever hitting PC sales, says Gartner

Competition for personal computing cash is hotting up...
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

Competition for personal computing cash is hotting up...

Demand for tablets is continuing to hit sales of full-fat PCs, says Gartner.

The analyst house described worldwide PC sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 as "weak," with growth of just 3.1 per cent - down on the 4.8 per cent it had originally forecast. HP remained the number one PC maker in 2010, with 17.9 per cent market share, followed by Acer on 12.9 per cent and Dell with 12 per cent.

Gartner blamed lacklustre PC sales growth on increased competition for consumers' cash from other devices - including tablets.

Motorola Xoom: Tablets are hitting PC sales, says Gartner

Motorola's Xoom was just one of scores of tablets shown at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this month
(Photo credit: Josh P Miller/CNET)

"Media tablets, such as the iPad, as well as other consumer electronic devices, such as games consoles, all competed against PCs," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, in a statement.

"The PC market will face challenges with more intensified competition among consumer spending," Kitagawa added.

When Apple unveiled the iPad at the start of last year, analysts initially questioned how much demand there would be for a "third category of device", squeezed between high-end smartphones and desktop PCs. But since the iPad's launch in April 2010, Apple is estimated to have shipped about 10 million tablets, and PC and mobile makers have scrambled to release rival slabs of their own - with scores of tablet-shaped offerings cropping up at CES last week.

Last year, Gartner predicted more than 54 million tablets will be sold by the end of 2011 and tablets will find their way into 80 per cent of businesses by 2013.

silicon.com's CIO Jury gave the iPad the thumbs-up for business use when the device was first announced, with CIOs lauding its future potential for uses including displaying high-quality images and mobilising enterprise apps, such as business intelligence and real-time monitoring.

Is your business using or trialling tablets? How could tablets benefit your business? Let us know by posting a comment below or emailing editorial@silicon.com

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