Welcome to the post-PC era

Sales of Net-enabled devices to outstrip the humble PC by 2002

Sales of PCs will soon be outstripped by Net devices, if research giant IDC is to be believed, ushering in the dawn of the post-PC era. In the US last year, sales of Net devices stood at 11 million units, with a value of $2.4 billion. But by 2004, that figure is expected to rocket to 89 million units, with a value of $17.8 billion. Pointing to interest in Sega's Dreamcast, Web-enabled TV sets and the introduction of Net access to PDAs and mobile phones, IDC reckons the PC market will be playing second fiddle to Net devices within three years. IDC claims that by 2002 the US consumer PC market will stand at around 23 million units, with the combined market for Net-enabled devices at around 25 million. While the development of such devices is likely to bring Internet access to the masses via a number of hardware routes, the market will only reach its potential if manufacturers work to keep prices down, says IDC. With prices generally at the sub-$500 mark, IDC reckons that this needs to stay much lower than $500. Speaking in a Reuters release, IDC analyst Kevin Hause, said the non-PC hardware would appeal to two camps of user. "One group will be people who don't have PCs and who are intimidated or for whatever reason, don't want a PC. This is where many companies are targeting today, i.e., 'Let's get this for our grandparents, who don't have a PC but want to get on the Web." Hause reckons the second group will be made up of the IT-literate, who are ready to embrace a new wave of technology and exploit its possibilities. ® Related Stories Samsung at work on $200 'disposable' PC Palm dismisses WAP out of hand PC safe from digital TV onslaught

Sponsored: 10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity