Stan Shih, the CEO of Acer, a computer and notebook manufacturer, made dome noise this week by suggesting that tablets like the iPad and the several Android and RIM competitors were just a “short-term fad” and that more powerful notebooks and desktop machines were still the future for businesses.
Shih also reportedly stated that Apple’s success with its iPad tablet has been achieved through its outside-the-box thinking, which he said is an attitude that all notebook players should learn.
While Shih was most likely sincere in his statement, it should be noted that as head of a global company that produces products that compete with tablets (and actually a few tablets) he has a vested interest in maintaining interest in notebooks and desktops. The fact is though – especially within businesses – there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that he’s wrong.
According to research company IHS, shipments of “internet enabled consumer electronic devices” will reach 503 million units by 2013. This is just a shade less than double the number of PC shipments IHS predicts for the same period, at 253 million units. By 2015, IHS expects the non-PC device shipments to reach 781 million units, against PC sales of 479 million.
These numbers include more than tablets – it’s smartphones, internet-enabled TVs and more – but it points to the same thing: The decline of the computer as we know it. Businesses are already finding new and cool ways to use tablets in their day-to-day operations. We wrote earlier this week about how doctors can use tablets in the operating room and in their everyday practice, and there are a ton of real world use cases from restaurants to retailers and more. And with mobile data speeds increasing to handle heavier loads like video and large file transfers, tablets are going to increasingly become the connection for mobile workers to the home office.
This is not the makings of a fad. Tablets are here to stay.
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