Pads propel PC market growth
Q1 shipments jump matched by tablet numbers
World PC'n'pad shipments were up seven per cent during Q1 2011, market watcher Canalys said today. And, interestingly, seven per cent of the devices counted were tablets.
Shipments made during the quarter topped 88.6m units, up from 82.8m in Q1 2010. Some 6.4m tablets shipped during the quarter, higher than the unit increase. It's hard to conclude, then, that the industry's growth didn't come largely from tablets alone.
Given the seasonal nature of the business, you'd expect fewer shipments in the year's first quarter than the final quarter of the previous year. Canalys pegs Q4 2010 PC volumes at 105.8m units - 19.4 per cent higher than the following quarter's total - but Q4 2010 was also up 19.2 per cent up year on year.
In short, growing confidence in the improving world economy wasn't strong enough to lift the market as much as the Christmas Spirit had.
But these are vendor shipments, and they were hindered by overstocked retail channels in the US and Europe. Punters and businesses - the latter in particular, hence the rise of Dell - will have bought more than these numbers suggest.
This seasonal shift knocked Apple, for one. In Q4 2010, it was third in the table, according to Canalys, but this time round slipped into fourth, swapping places with Dell. HP once again topped the chart, with Acer again achieving second place.
Lenovo retained its fifth-place ranking.
Their shares: HP (16.6 per cent), Acer (12.8), Dell (11.3), Apple (9.5) and Lenovo (9.2). Acer maintained its share of the market exactly, on a sequential basis, as did Lenovo. Dell gained a little - it was at 10.8 per cent in Q4 - but HP and Apple fell, from 17.7 per cent and 10.8 per cent, respectively.
Year on year, all five increase their market shares - Apple in particular. In Q1 2010, its global market share was just 3.5 per cent.
Such is the power of the 'Pad.
Perhaps the moral of the story is that it should have shipped the iPad 2 sooner. iPad sales were down 31 per cent in the quarter, in part thanks to strong sales in Q4 2010 but also because World+Dog was reporting the new version's Q1 introduction, and the quarter was done before the iPad 2 was shipping in volume.
Still, it's the tablet's year. "As the iPad 2 and its competitors continue to roll out, we expect pad sales to propel PC market growth for the rest of the year," said Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling.
Coulling added that Canalys' survey of tablet users reveals that they are not buying such products merely to consume media, but run a much broader array of app types, a pattern that "reinforces the pad’s role as a general-purpose computing device, and much more than just a consumption device
"The pad represents a real threat to PC and consumer electronics vendors, as it is capable of replacing devices in a range of other categories."
knock apple if you like...
but they seem to be a major driver in this industry.
Canalys gets it
All of the other big PC market analysts are still calling these things "media tablets," but Canalys figured things out right away. These devices are being bought by people who don't need hard keyboards, optical drives, beefy CPUs, or tons of ports in their mobile computer — who don't need a laptop.
The other analysts will come around, eventually. If they don't, the PC market will look stagnant and boring as tablets snarf up all the growth.
" These devices are being bought by people who don't need hard keyboards, optical drives, beefy CPUs, or tons of ports in their mobile computer — who don't need a laptop"
Really? In the case of the iPad, what are they activating and syncing them with then? The phrase "sucks arse" doesn't even begin to describe a tablet that relies on ownership of another computer in order to function. Sort that out and you may have a point.
No they do not get it.
As has already been pointed out you cannot use an iPad without access to a pc or a mac (I shall not say a word about iTxxxs). The iPad is in practice being purchased as a *supplement* to an existing home pc/mac setup (desktop and/or lappie) - it is not designed to have "independent life", it is indeed correctly described as a media tablet. Now there is nothing wrong with it being such a device and it clearly makes a lot of punters happy - it is just not a *replacement* for a pc or a mac. *That* will not happen until the available hardware has more power without slaughtering the battery and tablets are being sold with Win 8 and/or OSX compiled to run on ARM architecture. *Then* we can talk about the new mobile devices replacing the pc/mac - because they will be running proper operating systems with full functionality.
Once activated you only need to connect it to upgrade its firmware. Activation is useful for iPads with 3G as it sets the device up to work with the SIM card installed, downloads carrier information.
Also firmware upgrades via USB are still more reliable than any other method at the moment. If the device gets bricked the bootloader still works.
I'm sure many people will want to connect it to their computer to syncronise music they have already and other media. If this was not possible then it would mean re-purchasing all their music.