VR World

We Have Reached Peak Tablet

The days of the grand shift away from tablets to PCs appear to be in their twilight, according to a new report from Gartner.

As the tablet market is now saturated, with market penetration in the 40-to-50% range, consumers are taking a long hard look at making a PC their next purchase.

“The transition from PCs to tablets has faded,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Positive results in Western Europe and North America can be a sign of gradual recovery for the PC industry.”

Gartner says that worldwide PC shipments reached 79.4 million units in the penultimate quarter of 2014, a 0.5% drop from the same time last year. Kitagawa is also quoted as saying that numbers show “positive results” in the mature markets of Western Europe and North America — signs of a slow but stable recovery in the PC market overall.

“Consumers’ wallets were gradually coming back to PCs, although back to school sales season was not exceptional,” Kitagawa said. “More availability of affordable touch-based laptops, price drops of thin and light laptops, and 2-in-1 hybrid laptops will attract consumers this holiday season.”

Gartner’s numbers show that Lenovo (HKG: 0992) maintains its position as the top PC supplier, with a 19.8% cut of the market while Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ) is in second place with a 17.9%.

You still need to compute

For as much as tablets have their appeal, functionally the devices are quite limited. One can only consume media on them. The devices’ input functionality, however, is handicapped by their very nature of being only for passive consumption. Common tasks such as proper word processing or office work are impossible.

Eventually consumers will have to upgrade their PCs. Windows XP is dead, and Visa is on its way out. Windows 10, a mea culpa for the sins of Windows 8, is coming soon. Many manufacturers have quite compelling options now that make PCs as aesthetically pleasing as Macbooks. PCs remain an important tool for everyone, and a combination of a overdue upgrade cycle and competitive options from manufacturers give users the reason they need to buy a new PC.