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Time to throw out the PC? Tablets will soon be the computing device of choice, says report

Upcoming Android tabletsA new report from Forrester Research says that tablets will soon become the primary computing device of choice for millions around the world, with cloud services used to store the majority of data.

The report, entitled Tablets Will Rule The Future Personal Computing Landscape, comes in the same week that tech giant Apple announced sales of 11.8 million iPads for the quarter ending March 31, and Google launched its cloud-based storage service, Google Drive.

Written by Frank Gillett, a principal analyst at Forrester, the report predicts global tablet sales of 375 million in 2016, while in the same year he believes 760 million of them will be in use.

Gillett put the enormous number of sales down to the “compelling user experience of Apple’s iPad and the content-focused experience of the Amazon Kindle Fire, and other tablets.”

“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,” he wrote in a blog post related to his report.

Gillett says big strides in tablet technology will be made in the next four years, with products like Apple’s iPad becoming ever more powerful and incorporating better wireless capabilities for linking up with other nearby devices. It’s these kinds of changes that he says will help to gradually increase their popularity.

The design improvements “will enable full voice control and dictation, increased gesture control, more situational context, better accessory integration, and software that anticipates a user’s needs,” he wrote in his report.

The analyst said that of the 375 million sales forecast for 2016, a third of these will be purchased by businesses, and 40 percent will be bought by those in emerging markets.

Also, he believes Apple’s iPad will represent a third of all tablet sales in 2016, while Google’s Android mobile OS will lose market share due to a fragmented ecosystem and the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.

As for the likes of Samsung, the report predicts the Korean company will “find a role in serving primarily growth markets with budget devices.”

Despite the rosy outlook predicted by Gillett for the tablet market, he also says that it’s not curtains for the humble PC just yet.

“There will still be lots of personal computers sold and in use — in fact our casual estimate is that there will be 2 billion PCs in use by 2016, despite growing tablet sales,” he wrote.

“That’s because tablets only partially cannibalize PCs. Eventually tablets will slow laptop sales but increase sales of desktop PCs. That’s 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.”

Could you see yourself ever dumping your PC for a tablet? Or have you already done so?

[Source: LA Times / Cnet]