IDC Sees Tablets and Smartphones Pass PCs in Internet Use

Posted by at 12:12 pm on September 12, 2011

More smartphones and tablets will be on the Internet in the US than PCs by 2015, IDC estimated Monday. It predicted that use of devices like the iPad, iPhone, and Android phones would grow at a compound average of 16.6 percent per year to become the most popular ways of getting online just four years from now. PC use would flatten and eventually decline, “especially” in the wake of tablets.

Japan and Western Europe wouldn’t be far behind, researchers added, also attempting to head off those who assumed that computers would still be the dominant method. “Forget what we have taken for granted on how consumers use the Internet,” media research VP Karsten Weide said.

The statement runs at odds with those of Microsoft, which has insisted the PC has room to grow and that tablets would return to traditional desktop OS roots. Evidence so far has worked against Microsoft in the wake of Acer’s rapid decline and HP’s possible exit after the iPad convinced its current CEO the PC industry was unsustainable. Windows 8 will gauge Microsoft’s accuracy with a mix of a tablet-native interface and desktop features, but it isn’t due to ship until mid-2012.

The test of the theory is expected to start in earnest in October, when iOS 5 arrives and more users can use phones and tablets without having to sync to a PC. Services like iCloud and Google Music Beta also help, although they still often depend on having a computer upload music at an initial stage.

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