Forrester Forecasts That Tablets Will Become Primary Computing Devices

by Louis Rheaume

There are five main reasons why tablets will become more popular than the PC, according to Forrester Research.

1. While tablets aren’t still the most powerful computing gadgets, they are the most convenient.

2. They’re bigger than the tiny screen of a smartphone, even the oversized Galaxy Note.

3. They have longer battery life and always-on capabilities better than any PC—and will continue to be better at that than any "ultrabook" laptop. That makes them very handy for carrying around and using frequently, casually, and intermittently even where there isn’t a flat surface or a chair on which to use a laptop. 

4. Tablets are very good for information consumption, an activity that many of us do a lot of. Content creation apps are appearing on tablets. They’ll get a lot better as developers get used to building for touch-first interfaces, taking advantage of voice input, and adding motion gestures.

5. They’re even better for sharing and working in groups. There’s no barrier of a vertical screen, no distracting keyboard clatter, and it just feels natural to pass over a tablet, like a piece of paper, compared to spinning around a laptop.

In a recent report by Forrester “Tablets Will Rule The Future Personal Computing Landscape”, the firm suggests that there will be two billion PCs in use by 2016, despite growing tablet sales. It is because tablets only partially cannibalize PCs. Eventually tablets will slow laptop sales but increase sales of desktop PCs. Forrester suggests it is because many people, especially information workers, will still need conventional PCs for any intensely creative work at a desk that requires a large display or significant processing power.

Forrester defines a tablet as: “Touch first” slab computers that weigh less than 800 grams (1.75 pounds), have a 7- to 14-inch diagonal screen area, feature always-on operation, and eight-hour battery life. So “hybrid” devices, call them PCs or tablets, that feature a keyboard and touchscreen, could qualify as a tablet by this definition should they meet the criteria above.

Forrester forecast sales rising from 56 million in 2011 to 375 million in 2016. It estimates that since a majority of tablets will be retired within three years of purchase, that there will be around 760 million tablets in use globally by 2016. Furthermore, one-third of these tablets will be purchased by businesses, and emerging markets will drive about 40% of sales.


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Louis Rheaume

Louis Rheaume

Mr. Rhéaume has the scholarity of a doctorate in business administration, concentration in strategic management, innovation management and corporate finance. He holds a Master’s degree in finance. He has numerous years of experience in consulting, strategy, financial analysis and business intelligence, mainly in the telecommunications and computing industries. He has also been a researcher in... more

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