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Laptops and desktops to take a backseat to tablets in 2014?

We all knew this day was coming, but it could come as soon as sometime next year, if one research firm’s findings are to be believed.

According to Canalys, global tablet shipments could surpass global laptop and desktop shipments sometime in 2014. Canalys says that globally, “tablet domination is set to continue,” with slates accounting for 285 million shipments next year. Canalys expects that number to surge to 396 million units in 2017. 

As part of this age of tablet dominance, Canalys says that they expect Android devices to make up 65 percent of the market next year, with 185 million devices.

Canalys’ report also comes with both good and bad news for Microsoft. While the firm expects Microsoft to make up five percent of tablet marketshare next year, which would be up from two percent in 2012, Microsoft also has an OS problem. Here’s what Canalys Research Analyst Pin Chen Tang had to say.

“A critical first step is to address the coexistence of Windows Phone and Windows RT. Having three different operating systems to address the smart device landscape is confusing to both developers and consumers alike.”

For what it’s worth, this is an issue that was also brought up by Microsoft exec Julie Larson-Green when speaking at the UBS Global Technology Conference last week.

“We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We’re not going to have three.”

Despite the fact that PC manufacturers like Lenovo have experienced growth during an overall period which has seen the laptop and desktop markets decline, if Canalys’ findings are on the mark, it could lend some credence to the cries of “The PC is dead,” regardless of how premature those declarations have been.

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