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Lower prices expected as billions of tablets, smartphones and PCs ship in 2014

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Enough computer devices will ship in 2014 to connect more than 35 percent of the world's population to the Internet and that is not impressive enough this flood of gadgets will lead to lower prices as markets become saturated.

The research firm Gartner is forecasting that 2.47 billion such devices will ship from factories and into homes around the world this year, up from the still staggering 2.3 billion last year, and there is no end in site to this growth as another 2.6 billion will be built in 2015.

The vast majority of these gadgets are smartphones, 1.89 billion shipping this year and 1.95 billion next year.

However, even smatphone growth cannot compare to the rate at which mankind is snatching up tablets. The number of tablets shipped in 2013 was 195.4 million, jumping to 270.7 million this year and adding another 80 million units to hit 349.1 million in 2015.

This high level of growth is leading to certain markets getting saturated with these devices and that is good news for consumers. In order to keep sales high manufacturers will have to lower prices in order to entice consumers.

Hybrid tablet/laptops also have a bright future with 37.2 million expected to ship this year followed by 62.1 million in 2015.

On the other hand notebook and desk top computers are still slowly spiraling down. About 276.7 million of these will ship this year, down from the 296.1 million made last year. In 2015 this figure will dip to 263 million.

"The traditional PC category continues to decrease, with only about two-thirds of notebook and desktop replacements remaining within this category. The majority of the remaining one-third will move to ultramobiles, while others will not be replaced at all," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.. 

However, Gartner's analysts noticed a few interesting trends. Tablets, which helped kill the laptop and desktop business over the last few years, are no longer displacing these legacy products at the same high rate.

"Tablet substitution of notebooks will start to dissipate from this year onwards as consumers and businesses align the right device with the right usage pattern. As they do this, we will see where dedicated devices (such as tablets), or hybrid devices (detachable or convertible devices), fit in the overall portfolio of devices," said Atwal.

This does not mean that laptops and desktops will ever again be the leading computing device on the market, but they will still play a roll going forward.

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