Increase in Mobile Computing Device Shipments Slows

Carl Weinschenk
Slide Show

Mobile Computing Goes Mainstream Across the Enterprise

Survey finds that most are planning to implement mobile computing applications in 2011.

Peaks and valleys in the evolution of a market are to be expected. From that perspective, it isn't a surprise that DisplaySearch's most recent "Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast" report said that the rate of increase in mobile computing device shipments will slow a bit this year. The report was released this week.

Not a shock, but worthy of note, if for no other reason than it seems like the first time in a while the news was not totally positive for mobile computers. Of course, the report offers more good than bad for mobile computing proponents: The study says that the rate of growth has declined from 30 percent last year to 27 percent this year. Overall, the firm says that 277.7 million mobile PCs will be shipped this year.

The results are like maintaining that a person's rate of weight gain will slow somewhat if he or she eats one piece of chocolate cake instead of two. It's true, but seems trivial. It will take a few more reports to determine whether this result really matters and if the trend lines will result in absolute growth actually slowing. At this point, it is a statistical blip, but can fairly be called a moderately significant one.

It also is worth noting that the hottest of the mobile devices-the tablet-continued its upward swing. The drag was caused by the slowdowns in mobile computing sales in emerging markets and in the mini-notebook category, which is the most hurt by the explosion of interest in tablets. DisplaySearch expects increased demand to build due to tablet sales.

As surprising as it seems, observers may be underestimating the iPad. AdMob, which now is owned by Google, surveyed 1,400 tablet users and found that 43 percent of users spend more time using the device than a PC. Activities that lost out to tablets were reading a book (59 percent of respondents) and listening to the radio (52 percent). In addition, 41 percent used their tablets more than their smartphones and 11 percent more than watching television. The survey questions, according to the story at Apple Insider, referenced tablets instead of iPads. It's safe to assume that most of the respondents owned the Apple product, though AdMob should have included a qualifying question.

On the enterprise side, Bob O'Donnell, IDC's vice president for clients and devices says in a video that-at least as of late last winter-relatively few organizations had deployed them. The interesting finding is that when the device belongs to the employee, use is about evenly split between email and apps. When the device belongs to the company, applications are used more than email (38 percent to 28 percent in the U.S.). The takeaway is that management has specific tasks in mind when they give out tablets. Not surprising, netbook and notebook penetration is hurt most when a tablet arrives.

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