The world is increasingly going mobile in 2012, a trend that is unlikely to reverse anytime soon. Finding cheap laptops, mobile phones and tablets has never been easier. Forrester Research estimates 1 billion smartphone and tablet users across the world by 2016, with 257 million smartphone users in the US alone. Some evident trends in gadgets and computing in 2012 are:
1. The Tablet Invasion
Apple created the ‘tablet’ category in mobile computing almost overnight when it launched the iPad. Now dozens of competing products have flooded the market, with screen sizes ranging from 7″ to the iPad’s 9.7 inches. Samsung Galaxy Tab is the most serious competitor to the Apple iPad with sales topping 2.3 million units worldwide. The global tablet market will continue to increase in size, with sales expected to top 392 million units by 2016.
2. Introducing ‘Smart PCs’
Microsoft announced the ‘Microsoft Surface’ device in June 2012, a hybrid between a full-fledged laptop and a tablet. The Surface will be powered by Windows 8 and is expected to launch in October 2012. Close on the heels of Microsoft, Samsung announced the launch of the Ativ line of smart PCs with similar capabilities in August. Needless to say, these Smart PCs will create an altogether new computing category, at the expense of net books.
3. Declining Netbook Sales
The impact of cheap tablets and even cheaper laptops is being felt in the burgeoning netbook market, which saw sales decline by as much as 34 percent year-on-year. With the influx of even more powerful tablets and Smart PCs, we can imagine the net book market collapsing completely in an year or two.
4. Cheaper Laptops Amid Declining Sales
Tablets and smartphones have eaten into the share of PC sales. Which is why searching for affordable laptops is easy as the market gets flooded with deals and offers. Incredible deals on laptops and desktops can be had easily as panicked manufacturers dump their inventory in a mad scramble to adapt to newer technologies (touch, ultrabooks).
5. Bigger, Faster Smartphones
From the recent iPhone 5 announcement to the Galaxy S3 and the success of Samsung Note, one thing can be gauged very easily: smartphone screen sizes (and quality) will continue to increase as manufacturers entice customers with the promise of better picture quality and larger screens. The Galaxy Note, which is set to sell 30 million units by the end of the year, already has an impressive 5.3 inch screen. The new iPhone has a larger screen as well. With dual core processors the norm, smartphones will increasingly rival full-fledged laptops and PCs for power, speed and functionality.