Will the Tablet Conquer the Desktop?


ADOTAS — When the iPad was first launched back in 2010, no one imagined that it would compete with the PC. The tablet was described as a “living room device,” supporting gaming, media and entertainment within the household. In January 2010, before the launch of the iPad,Flurry analyzed the 200 different applications in use by early testers. The chart below makes it clear that the number one use of the device was for gaming, as the larger screen, upgraded memory and multi-touch were expected to improve the gaming experience.

It may seem that the same is true today. Gartner research from July 2013 describes that consumers are more interested in using their tablet for entertainment than work. Tablet users spent 50% of their screen time on entertainment, including games, movies and listening to music. Another 25% of their screen time is spent on communication activities such as email and visiting social media sites, 15% creating content (videos and blogs), and 9% searching for information online.

However, tablet use in the workplace is rapidly increasing, offering employees the ability to be constantly connected from outside the office. According to Tech Pro research report: The impact of tablets in the workplace, more than half of respondents said their organizations are buying tablets and providing them for employees.

With the ability to multitask, attachable keyboards, and Microsoft Office programs, the functionality of tablets is greatly improving.  Many analysts label this trend, the rise of the tablet, as the “Post-PC” era, which is pretty clear given the declining PC unit sales over the past couple of years.

However, industry analyst Benedict Evans claims that both the tablet and PCs are losing market share as a result of the growth in popularity of the smartphone. Evans stated, “Looking at tablets and smartphones as mobile devices in a new category that competes with PCs may be the wrong comparison – in fact, it may be better to think of tablets, laptops and desktops as one ‘big screen’ segment, all of which compete with smartphones, and for which the opportunity is just smaller than that for smartphones. And so tablets will over time eat away at laptop and desktop sales just as laptops ate away at desktop sales, but the truly transformative new category is the smartphone.”

This is evident in the graph below, which depicts tablets as eating away at the laptop sales and smartphone sales booming.

So will the tablet replace the office desktop or will stay a living room entertainment tool? Potentially the phablet and laptop/tablet convertibles will gain popularity, offering the best of both worlds. Only time will tell.


  1. I have a lenova tablet and a dell laptop and have provided I ball tablets to my employees. I haven’t noticed a significant productivity improvement. The downside is more people opting to work from home leasing to a lower productivity. Tablets I believe are a long way off from replacing the laptop in all areas with the exception of useless games


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