I can't say I'm surprised and if you've been reading my blog for the last year you would know why - I've been saying that this is going to be the year of the tablet, forecasting a surge before the holidays since last January.
And of course, it's not only the Apple iPad that is pushing the concept forward now - over 100 million units strong - but also the iPad mini, the Amazon Fire and the Google Nexus. The consumer is spoilt for choice across all price points as we lunge towards the Christmas period.
But it's not just the sexy attractiveness of the tablets that has pushed them ahead of the laptops, nor the convenience of using a hand-held device anywhere to do, well, pretty much anything apart from word processing, crunching numbers in a spreadsheet and printing off the results. So, OK, tablets still have a few challenges to overcome but they're pretty cool and great fun to use. They're also great for reading books and magazines as well as watching movies so their utility is pretty much unbeatable.
The real kicker in the laptop/tablet race that I hadn't realised was taking place is that we all pretty much have laptops, netbooks and even some dust gathering desktops at home already. Outside of the serious gamer applications, the laptops are now keeping pace with technology better than ever. Sure, Microsoft are still trying to develop operating systems that suck every last megabyte of RAM, ROM and hard drive capacity but most of us are finding that whatever legacy version we are using is adequate, or have moved over to Linux. Even the old chestnut of needing to upgrade on a regular basis because of hard drive capacity being overtaken by software and file storage is becoming a thing of the past as the low cost flash drives and cloud based storage becomes mainstream.
So the real reason that tablets overtook laptops is that everyone has a laptop or two - some new, many getting on a bit (maybe two years' old?), grandparents have them, for goodness sake and even their grandchildren have their cast-offs (grief). But not everyone has a tablet, not yet. OK, some folks will be on their second iPad - some will be on their fourth, for no other reason that there have been four iterations, but despite Apple's best endeavours there are plenty of people who don't have a tablet yet.
I knew that tablets would take off, the Kindle Fire last year sounded the challenge loud and clear. I've been quite upfront with my contention that this will be both the best year for dedicated eReaders and their peak as well, but I didn't guess that laptop sales would be a casualty. But I guess when we look back, it was inevitable.
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