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Tablets Likely To Surpass PCs in 2012

The high water mark for PC sales is definitely behind us, and we are now sailing into the tablet era of computing.

Damon Porter, NPD: Tablets to Outsell Laptops in Q4, Beyond 

Buoyed by Black Friday sales, more tablets than laptops are projected to ship in the North American market for the first time ever in the fourth quarter - and it won’t even be close, according to NPD DisplaySearch.

NPD reckoned that 21.5 million tablets will ship in North America during the holiday quarter as compared with a forecast of just 14.6 million unit shipments for laptops and mini-notes. The trend will continue and accelerate in 2013, according to the research firm, which is forecasting the shipment of 80 million tablets in North America for the year versus 63.8 million laptops.

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If the researcher’s final forecast for full-year unit shipments of tablets and laptops in the U.S. is on the mark, 2012 would become the first year in which tablets outsold laptops in the country.

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But NPD didn’t expect tablets to outsell laptops in the worldwide market for a few more years. That won’t happen until 2015, when the researcher is projecting global annual shipments of 275.9 million tablets and 270 million notebook PCs.

I bet those projections will be exceeded. 

Most importantly, and not talked about in this stats-heavy piece, is the fall of the old school WIMP user experience (window, icon, menu, pointer) and the emergence of new paradigms for user experience on touch-oriented proximal devices: smartphones and tablets.

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