The PC-centric is drawing to an unceremonious close, with smartphones, tablets and other mobile app-enabled devices expected to outpace PC sales over the next 18 months.
However, according to IDC, shipments of personal computers will continue to increase, even as they are smoothly overtaken by their mobile counterparts.
To be sure, worldwide shipments of app-enabled tablet devices such as the iPad will reach 284 million in 2010, 377 million in 2011, and 462 in 2012.
In contrast, vendors are projected to to offload 356 million PCs this year, 402 million in 2011, and 448 million in 2012.
“[Non-PC devices] are not replacing the PC – that’s [definitely] a key point – but [they are certainly] expanding the market,” explained IDC chief analyst Frank Gens.
He added that there were clear similarities between the start of the personal computer industry in the 1980’s and the rapidly evolving mobile sector of 2010.
For example, IBM’s first PC hit the market in 1981, but manufacturers didn’t fully embrace the new paradigm until 1986, when Microsoft went public.
This prompted the formation of new companies, as well as the death of old-school corporations which failed to understand changing market conditions.
As expected, industry vendors are now preparing for a brave new smartphone and tablet market.
“The psychology is, [well] we [really] can’t blow it this time [around],” said Gens.