Why do we even give credence to these wild projections? Three billion devices sold in 2017 to a world-wide population of 7 billion? Maybe my cat is buying one and I don't know it. Then they have 8 billion phones sold over a four year period, like people are going to replace their phone every year? This projection is total garbage.
More nonsensical hype. Let me point out a couple of flaws in this consistent mantra.
The first one is, what are these guys classifying a Surface Pro? No doubt, they call it a tablet. But in fact, it's as much a PC as laptops are. And my constant refrain to this hysteria about PC sales is that unless we become a country of imbeciles, people will continue to need something like a PC, or a Surface Pro perhaps, which they rely on for actual productive work. Yes, including grade school children, these days.
My next comment would be, just like JLB911 points out, that sale of handheld gadgets will amost for sure be greater than sales of PCs. For the same reason that sales of any other household trinket is likely to be far greater than the sale of major kitchen appliances. They are different things. One does not negate the other.
Lastly, my prediction is that what we will see in the coming years are much more portable, perhaps even wearble, PC-like devices. Useful and optimized for a lot more than just consuming information or playing games.
I totally agree Bert22306. At IC Insights we have classified tablets as PCs from the very beginning while other analysts called them media players, Internet access devices, etc. In fact we have always labeled this category as tablet PCs. As tablets become more powerful, offer detachable keyboards, etc., they are becoming more like traditional PCs. At the other end, we see traditional PCs like Ultrabooks offering the "thinness" of a tablet, touch-screen capability, etc., moving into the realm of features offered by tablets. Yes, today you may be able to differentiate between a tablet and a traditional PC, but two or three years from now, probably not. In our view, they are all PCs.
You call tablets PCs, but are they? A cheap Android tablet has more computing power than a PC had 5 years ago and does a lot more. For many people it replaces the PC as we know it. But given they don't run traditional x86 Windows applications, is it really a PC?
So from that perspective it's quite correct to call the end of the Windows PC era.
If you can do research projects for school or for work, if you can write papers and process photographs, if you can create spreadsheets and write and test software, if you can manage (not just check briefly) your bank accounts and your investment portfolio, if you can do your taxes, on the machine, then in my book it qualifies as a PC.
On the other hand, if you can only do such jobs in a half-*ssed manner on the machine, if at all, or if you only really feel comfortable reading books, or the newspaper, or seeing the local weather report, then I would not classify that machine as a PC. Nor would I expect it to be able to replace the PC. Augment it, sure. But you're always going to have that PC back there, somewhere, unless someone else is doing all the real work for you.
I find this attitude revolting, where you can throw away a couple hundred bucks every year, filling the landfill, for some shiny object the marketeers want you to buy. To equate EETimes readers to the world population would be a mistake.
The trend toward tablets (huge smartphones) will continue.
It is true a tablet cannot substitute a workstation. But most people do not need the compute power of a workstation. Just look at what most people do with their computers.
1. listening to music
2. social media
3. watching videos
4. web browsing
A tablet is good enough for these tasks and it is
1. mobile (just 1 pound, or even less. I personally do not classify a 3 pound laptop as mobile)
2. easier to use (mostly due to the apps are not (yet?) overcrowded with features)
3. easier to maintain
A doctor friend of mine in Chicago does this but his old phones are passed down to his sons as part of a family plan (Mom has her own plan, from her work) at the end of each AT&T contract. Dad has a 5, the youngest boy has a 3GS, the oldest boy has a 4S (and the first 3 phone is at the bottom of Lake Michigan).