Anyone looking for further evidence of the post-PC era should look no further. A new report from research firm Canalys suggests that half of all PCs sold next year will in fact be tablets, with this rise being primarily driven by Google’s Android.
Looking at its crystal ball for the forthcoming year, the research outfit forecast that tablet sales will account for half of total PC sales (including desktops and notebooks) in 2014, an increase from the 40% it reported in the third quarter of 2013.
As such, tablet shipments are expected to rocket to a staggering 285 million in the next year before growing again to 396 million by 2017.
Analysts say that Apple and Samsung will keep their places at the tablet summit, with the former in particular gaining in profits thanks to new products like the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display.
“Apple’s decline in PC market share is unavoidable when considering its business model,” said senior analyst Tim Coulling in a prepared statement. “Samsung narrowly took the lead in EMEA this quarter and Apple will lose its position to competitors in more markets in the future.
“However, Apple is one of the few companies making money from the tablet boom. Premium products attract high value consumers; for Apple, remaining highly profitable and driving revenue from its entire ecosystem is of greater importance than market share statistics.”
Despite this, Android will remain the biggest player by operating system, accounting for 65% of all tablets. This is down in part to Samsung, which is forecast to account for 27% of all sold Android tablets next year.
All of this of course is good news for the health of iOS and Google’s Android but the outlook isn't nearly as rosy for Microsoft and its tablet ambitions.
Canalys analysts predict that Microsoft will take a 5% stake of the tablet PC market in 2014 (editor’s note: we’re assuming this to be based on operating system, rather than the firm’s own Surface tablets), up from just 2% in 2012.
(For reference data about the tablet market, check TabTimes' The State of the Tablet Market)