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Hey hipsters: Tabs are so last year, fat phones are where it's at

Fondleslab makers didn't learn from PC woes – analyst

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Following a deep gaze into the crystal ball, IDC has decided the dominant growth trend in personal computing sales is phablet-shaped.

Beancounters estimate roughly 175 million devices sized between 5.5 to seven inches will find a home in 2014, up 60 per cent, leapfrogging the 170 million old world portable PCs forecasted to ship over the 12 months.

The market will be further validated “with Apple expected to join the space in the coming weeks,” said Melissa Chau, senior research manager.

“We anticipate even more attention on phablets as larger screen smartphones become the new norm,” she said.

Fat-phones will comprise more than 32 per cent of the global smartphone market this year from 14 per cent last year. Regular smartphones are expected to grow to 1.07 billion units, up 5.5 per cent year-on-year.

As for next year, IDC predicts shipments of phablets to hit 318 million, and this will eclipse the 233 million tabs the abacus fondler anticipates will be exchanged for cash by vendors or channel types.

Tabs sales growth has slowed this year to less dramatic double digit hikes, and the segment could be suffering from the same malaise as PCs, which HP said a couple of years back were shrinking due to a lack of innovation.

Canalys senior analyst Tim Coulling said last month the “slowdown in the pace of innovation is creating an issue for tablet vendors".

He added:

“The tablet market has quickly found itself in the same position the notebook market was in some years ago, with minimal increases in hardware performance forming the basis for an argument to upgrade”.

The vendor community, Canalys reckoned, needs to “work harder” to give punters the reasons to open up their wallet when "the need for more horsepower is not often evident" when performing common tasks on pads.

IDC predicts that portable PC shipments will decline 4.7 per cent this year to 170 million units, and decline one per cent on a compound annual growth rate over the next five years.

Sales of the humble desktop are estimated to amount to 133.5 million boxes this year and decline to 121.1 million by 2018. ®

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