Does the Post-PC Era Begin in 2013?

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Steve Jobs declared that the iPad tablet would usher in the post-PC era, but he didn’t give a date for it to happen. One analyst in Asia believes that may take place next year. DigiTimes Research Senior Analyst James Wang issued a report stating he expects global tablet shipments to top 210 million units in 2013, outpacing the sales of notebooks. However, Wang did not give projections on notebook sales in 2013.

Out of those 210 million tablets, he expects 140 million to be branded tablets like the Apple iPad, Google Nexus 7, and Samsung Galaxy Tab and the rest would be “white box” tablets; generic tablets where a licensee puts their own OS — likely Android — and their logo on the device.

Wang expects Apple to remain as the top tablet vendor in the world, but its overall share will slip from 60% this year to 55.6% thanks to an onslaught of new Android tablets finally getting traction, starting with thes Nexus 7. Wang predicted Apple will only account for 37.4% of all tablet shipments next year.

Thanks to the surge in white-box tablets, Android will overtake Apple, the sole vendor for iPad. He expects sales of Android-based tablets to reach 121 million units next year.

An Opposing View

That’s a bit of a leap, argues Peter King, director of tablet and touchscreen strategies with Strategy Analytics. SA would not comment on DigiTimes’s research, but it did say it does not expect tablets to surpass notebook/ultrabook sales until 2016.

He was especially doubtful of the 70 million white label tablets. SA predicts Apple will ship around 95 million [tablets] in 2013 and no other single vendor would ship over 20 million units. So getting to the 70 million point for white-balet tablets would be tough.

“The market would have to switch from one of consumers wanting high quality, great user interface, plus great content ecosystem to one of wanting low-cost, lower performance tablets with free content. Clearly, that might be applicable in the emerging regions where consumers cannot afford iPad prices, but the rate of transition would be tremendous if the 70 million figure were true,” he said.

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