Windows PCs to decline as Android, Apple devices rise

Windows is going to be eclipsed by Android in 2016, according to market researcher IDC. Expect Apple's iOS to see an uptick too.

The PC will become a much less popular device by 2016 relative to mobile devices.
The PC will become a much less popular device by 2016 relative to mobile devices. Dell

The venerable Windows-Intel PC will see a sharp decline by 2016 while devices running Android and Apple's iOS are on the rise, market researcher IDC said today.

There will be a "dramatic shift" between 2011 and 2016, with the "once-dominant" Windows-Intel (aka, x86) PCs dropping from a market-dominating 35.9 percent share in 2011 to 25.1 percent in 2016," IDC said.

Mobile devices like Android phones and tablets and Apple iPhones and iPads will step into the void and begin to dominate. Android devices (using ARM chips) will grow from 29.4 percent share in 2011 to a leading 31.1 percent share in 2016. And Apple's iOS-based devices will grow from a 14.6 percent share in 2011 to 17.3 percent in 2016.

The once-dominant Windows-x86 PCs will drop from a market-leading 35.9 percent share in 2011 to 25.1 percent in 2016, IDC said.  Android and iOS market share will continue to rise, eventually eclipsing Windows.
The once-dominant Windows-x86 PCs will drop from a market-leading 35.9 percent share in 2011 to 25.1 percent in 2016, IDC said. Android and iOS market share will continue to rise, eventually eclipsing Windows. IDC

"Smart, connected, compute-capable [phones and tablets] are playing an increasingly important role in nearly every individual's life," Bob O'Donnell, vice president of clients and displays at IDC, said in a statement.

This year, unit shipments for smart connected devices should top 1.1 billion worldwide, IDC said. By 2016, IDC predicts shipments will jump to 1.84 billion units, more than double the 2011 figure.

This works out to a compound annual growth rate of 15.4 percent for the five-year forecast period, IDC said.

Android: But it's not all good news for all players in the Android market. "Android's growth is tied directly to the propagation of lower-priced devices," Tom Mainelli, research director of mobile connected devices at IDC, said in a statement. "So, while we expect dozens of hardware vendors to own some share in the Android market, many will find profitability difficult to sustain."

iOS: And IDC expects a large percentage of application developers to focus their efforts on iOS because iOS users are willing to pay for high-quality apps.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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