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Tablets forecast to account for half of PC shipments by 2016, but there’s bad news for Windows 8

by Doug Drinkwater

January 11 2013

Canalys says the future looks good for iPad and Android tablets, but is less convinced by the prospects of Windows 8
Canalys says the future looks good for iPad and Android tablets, but is less convinced by the prospects of Windows 8

Market research firm Canalys predicts that tablet shipments will reach almost 400 million units by 2016, but isn't quite as optimistic on the future of Windows 8 or Wintel PCs

In a new Q4 report the research group claims that the tablet market will grow on average 37% each year to 389 million units by 2016, at which point tablets will account for around 59% of the PC market.

Canalys thinks the rise will be driven by the iPad and the increasing array of hybrid tablets, but thinks this growth at the expense of Wintel PCs, which are forecast to drop from a PC market share of 72% in 2012 to 65% this year.

“Pads (Canalys’ term for tablets) and, increasingly, smartphones can perform many of the day-to-day computing tasks that most people require,’ said analyst Pin-Chen Tang. “Wintel PCs are becoming less likely as an individual’s first choice of computing device for everyday tasks, such as sending email or web browsing.”

The future isn’t that bright for Windows 8 either, according to Canalys, which echoed the views of other market researchers by saying the new OS will take time to grow.

“The launch of Windows 8 did not reinvigorate the market in 2012, and is expected to have a negative effect as we move into 2013,” said Canalys’ Tom Evans.

“Windows 8 is so different from previous versions that most consumers will be put off by the thought of having to learn a new OS. An additional barrier is the potential increase in cost that Windows 8 brings, as it is perceived that a PC with a touch-screen is needed to get the best user experience.

"In the current economic climate, this will be enough to make people delay purchases as they wait for prices to fall.”

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