Everybody keeps saying that the PC is “dead” and that the new age of tablets is upon us. But there are some voices that say a tablet is still a computer. According to market research firm Canalys, PC shipments were up 18% in Q4 of 2014 as tablets have reached almost 50% of the total PC market. However, if we don’t refer to tablets as PCs, then overall shipments have declined 6.9% year-on-year. The chart from below compares overall PC shipments, including tablets from Q4 2012 until Q4 2013.
According to Canalys’ data, tablets have grown 65.2% year-on-year to reach 76.3 million units, which represents 48.3% of the total PC market. So, if tablets are taken into account, it comes as no surprise that Apple is PC market leader, having shipped 30.9 million units, which represents a 19.5% share of the market. Cupertino has announced at its latest conference call that it has shipped a new record number of 26.0 million iPads, representing 84.3% of its total PC shipments in Q4. The the launch of the latest iPad Air and iPad mini has helped Apple increase its worldwide share of the tablet market from 27.3% to 34.1%.
Lenovo is on the second place, having secured an 11.8% share in Q4, despite the decline in shipments in its home-turf China; and registering an overall increase in PC shipments of 25.5% year-on-year. Now that Lenovo has acquired Motorola from Google, it will have an even bigger presence in the smartphone market, as well.
Samsung, the company that seems to be everywhere in consumer electronics, has managed to maintain its steady growth, taking the third place and shipping an overall amount of 18.2 million PC units. Out of this amount, tablets accounted for 79.7% of its Q4 numbers, with 14.5 million units, almost double from the same period in 2012. In the tablet market, Samsung is on the second place after Apple and the two vendors are obvious leaders, having a combined 53.2% share of total tablet shipments.
Interest in Google’s Chromebook devices is rising
Windows XP support will end in April and this will force especially commercial consumers to orient themselves towards new PC acquisitions. However, it seems that Windows 8 will not be a major beneficiary as many will choose to move Windows 7, which has a more “familiar” interface. Pin Chen Tang, Research Analyst at Canalys sees Google as the biggest winner, thanks to its mobile Android OS and the Chrome OS devices.
Consumers are becoming more open to Windows alternatives, and Google’s low-cost options are reaping the rewards. Android is now the most popular OS in the tablet segment and PC vendors are showing a keen interest in Chromebooks, which are carving out a niche, especially in the education sector.
What do you think will happen this year? Can Microsoft manage to give new life to Windows 8 under the helm of the recently appointed Satya Nadella or not?