Mobile devices to outpace PCs in 2011

A new report reveals mobile internet devices will outsell desktop personal computers this year, prompting a shift in the way businesses operate and advertise.


According to the Technology Predictions 2011 report, released by consulting firm Deloitte, non-PC computing devices such as smartphones, tablets and netbooks will prove more popular than PCs.


Deloitte’s findings form part of a list of annual predictions for the technology, media and telecommunications industry.


Damien Tampling, Deloitte’s head of technology, media and telecommunications in Australia, says 2011 will be a “watershed” year for how people use computers and information.


“Non-PC devices put a world of information and computing power at your fingertips – anytime and anywhere,” Tampling says.


In 2011, more than 50% of computing devices sold globally will be smartphones, tablets and non-PC netbooks, breaking the PC’s long-held market dominance.


“This shift represents a tipping point as we move from a world of mostly standardised PC-like devices to a far more heterogeneous environment,” Tampling says.

This year, enterprises will also purchase more than 25% of all tablet computers, and this figure is likely to increase in 2012 and into the future.


The report states: “Although some commentators view tablets as underpowered media-consumption toys suitable only for consumers, more than 10 million of these devices will likely be purchased by enterprises in 2011.”


“Consumer demand for tablets is expected to remain strong; however, enterprise demand is likely to grow even faster, although from a lower base.”


Tampling says sales of iPhones and iPads in Australia have been “nothing short of breathtaking”.


“With a lot of smaller devices there comes a lot more mobility, which creates consumer-led demand for developing technologies that consumers can use on the go.”


“I see a tablet or smart device while walking down the street every day now – they are starting to become almost as common as a mobile phone.”


Tampling says the increase usage of mobile internet devices will certainly see a reshuffling of how businesses spend, or should spend, their advertising budget.


“Things like the iPad and other similar devices – some companies are already spending buckets of money on developing apps,” he says.


Tampling says businesses should consider whether mobile technology is likely to have an impact on their business model and budget accordingly.


Sam Yip, senior research manager at technology analyst firm Telsyte, says with regard to advertising, smartphones are particularly effective because they lend themselves to location-based group buying services, which are fast becoming the most effective way to promote deals online.


“[Small retailers should focus on] the technologies around group shopping, so increased smart phone usage. We’re looking at 50% penetration of smart phones by the end of the year,” Yip says.


“With smartphones come all the great applications and there are emerging applications around group buying on smartphones… Those are the technologies which SMEs need to focus on.”


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