The question is though, when is a device a productivity device and when not? One could say that not having a keyboard makes typing hard on tablets and mobiles, so without an external keyboad/docking station they are not productivity devices on their own - whether they run Windows or not. Also Atom based x86 netbooks, despite running Windows, were way too slow to be used for serious work. What about Surface RT/2 which does run Windows and Office but isn't x86 based? And what about modern quad core smartphones are actually faster than those Atom netbooks? Oh, and how do you count the various Chromebooks?
Basically it's a very grey area, and you can massage the numbers in any way you like. However you cannot hide the hard fact that both desktop and laptop sales are way down and will continue their decline. The future x86 tablet estimates look way optimistic to me, especially given Surface wasn't all that successful and Apple, Samsung and others have already taken most of the tablet market.
"If you can run Microsoft Office 365 using an Android app, then shouldn't Android tablets and smartphones be included in the numbers? Or, should we be counting the Surface products that don't run Win 8.1?"
That's why I specifically did not limit my definition to only x86 or only Windows and MS Office. Certainly, Linux machines qualify as PCs, don't they?
Whatever the device is, though, it has to provide the software for productivity and appropriate I/O devices. As of now, I couldn't begin to do my work on a smartphone. Nor a lot of what we use PCs for at home, for that matter. The screen is too small, the I/O is pathetic, so unless we're talking about some future smartphone with a dock, or perhaps with a USB 3.0 that can attach multiple displays and I/O devices, smartphones or the lesser tablets do not qualify.
Actually this isn't the compelte story. If you can run Microsoft Office 365 using an Android app, then shouldn't Android tablets and smartphones be included in the numbers? Or, should we be counting the Surface products that don't run Win 8.1?
In reality, all these devices are computing devices. But there is value in counting by different breakouts, including form factor and OS. However, it should be clear what is or what is not included.
As a whole, the computing market continues to grow.
At (painfully) long last, an article from a research firm that tells it like it is, instead of creating fodder for alarmists.
Just as PCs have included laptops, it stands to reason that PCs should now be made to include x86 tablets, or really any tablet that has the sort of software support and I/O solutions to be capable of "real work."
I continue to think that other, lesser tablets are not a replacement for PCs at all. They are instead a replacement for a lot of print media. Which is why this breathless alarmism about tablets replacing PCs has always sounded so off base to me.
If it is an effort to increase number for PCs, one can also include x86 based industrial embedded computers. But number does not tell full story. It is health of PC industry in general that is important.
Absolutely. There is so much variation out there now that the market is diluted by default! However, I can anecdotally see that the laptops and tablets have been making huge strides in home presence in the last couple years.
I think that in the near future a very interesting trend to watch will be full featured operating systems (mac os/windows/linux) vs appliance style OS (ios/android/chrome). I think that is more telling than wether or not your computer is too heavy to lift.
Why will the change occur? The change will occur partially because PC form-factors have changed;
Whether the PC market is up and down is something we have all debated over the last 12 months. By tying two market research firms' latest spins on the PC market, I think you made your case. The PC is no longer what we used to think as desktops and notebooks only.