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back to article Tablet and laptop sales neck and neck

Brits bought as many tablets as laptops in August, market watcher GfK said today. Good news for tablet proponents, that, but not for the folk making and selling computer kit. They make less money selling slabs than notebooks. So while notebooks accounted for 33.6 per cent of IT sales revenue in August 2012, down from 34.5 per …

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Anonymous Coward

Brits are renown for being fashion victims.

The irony is, just as the laptop makers perfect non breakable screen hinges, they now have to design snap off types.

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Windows

Era of the notebook over? Maybe for a lot of people. There'll always be someone who needs keyboards, meaty processors, etc.

Software doesn't write itself (yet).

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Silver badge

Maybe, but the associations of [no keyboard - ARM] and [keyboard - x86], are a legacy of how we got here, a legacy continued in software [ARM - toys, media, communicate] and [x86 - serious stuff, immersive games].

An x86 tablet with extra keyboard is actually the most versatile device- with an appropriate stand on your desk, you will enjoy a more ergonomic working position than you would with a traditional laptop, because both its screen AND display are in the correct place relative to the user. And if you wish to retire to a sofa to proof-read your latest literary masterpiece (in portrait), you have that option too.

Meaty processors are finding their way into ever slimmer devices, too. Obviously there will always be those who benefit from THE FASTEST thing available regardless of other considerations, and they will continue to be catered for -See gaming laptops, Crazy dual-screen Lenevo mobile workstations, esoteric toughened beasts for the military and geologists. (Strikes me though, that gaming laptops could be better cooled if their keyboards were removed to reveal a mesh.... heat rises, after all)

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Silver badge

When people say "end of the notebook era" or "end of the PC era", NO ONE is suggesting that PCs and laptops go away entirely, or anything close to that. The suggestion is merely that those markets have peaked and will now see sales falling rather than rising.

None of this makes what you say untrue, there will always be a big market for people who need a PC of some type because they need a real keyboard or more power. The reason tablet sales are doing so well and will continue to grow is that of people have been buying PCs who used them for little else beyond email and browsing. They don't packaged software, don't do a ton of typing and don't need a fraction of the power of a modern CPU. Tablets give them some real benefits over laptops in terms of the form factor, not having to worry about malware and constant security updates, etc.

Some people in this thread apparently seem to think that laptops that became tablets when you snap off the screen will become big sellers, but I really doubt it. Laptops that become tablets will be more expensive than just plain laptops and the tablet part will be a compromise that's thicker and heavier. People invested in Windows will buy them, but they will only be a fraction of the tablet market. The people I've described above don't want a PC at all, and will be happy to leave Windows' troubles and complexity behind.

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Software?

You really don't need all that meaty a processor for software development -- that's precisely why laptops are so popular amoung software engineers.

Heavy lifting is usually done on desktops, anyway, not laptops. Electronics CAD pretty much requires dual monitors, a fast CPU for autorouting (PCB, FPGA) and simulation. Mechanical CAD needs even more horsepower, including a pro-quality GPU rarely if ever found on a laptop, much less a tablet. Video editing likewise... video editors need as much horsepower as possible for realtime preview and fast rendering, particularly since projects are often multi-targeted (eg, DVD, Blu-ray, online). All modern video editors also use a fast GPU when available. Even fairly mundane photo editing needs a big machine, particular a 64-bit OS and 16GB or more RAM, needed for compositing HDR or panoramic shots at modern DSLR resolutions.

Programmers need keyboards, and benefit from larger screens, but you actually could develop code on a tablet. In fact, if you have an Android tablet, you can download CLI shells, compilers, text editors (even Emacs) from the Google Play store.

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When they say "tablet".....

Do they mean iPads?

I'd be really curious to see how that tablet number breaks down between iPads, Android-based tablets, and the odd Windows tablet PC.

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@Black Plague

70% iPad.

http://www.reghardware.com/2012/08/15/ihs_isuppli_q2_tablet_shipments/

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Re: @Black Plague

lol, about what I expected.

It's a shame really that Android sales haven't picked up. Though I'm part of the problem. Even after eyeballing a Tranformer Prime at the local electronics giant, I still balked at ponying up several hundred for a glorified toy that's just a bigger version of my Android phone. Though I balk at paying even more for an iPad, as well.

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Happy

Re: @Black Plague

Nexus 7 - a bigger version of your Android phone, but only £159.

Simples.

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Re: @Black Plague

I've been using an Android tablet as a laptop replacement for about two years now. My original tablet got knocked off the couch a few weeks ago, and has since been replaced with a Transformer Infinity.

Like any tool or toy, it's all about how you use it. The Transformer pretty much covers the few things my old tablet didn't do. It works with external HDDs, not just flash dongles. It works in NTFS, and takes a full SD card in the base, so I can unload flash media from digital cameras, preview JPGs, upload to the net, etc. It's certainly possible to write code on it, though I haven't installed a shell yet (but I'll get around to it -- had shell, C/C++, etc. on the old tablet).

One of mandatory features of a tablet is long battery life -- otherwise, you just have a slower laptop. I also use my tablet as a music book -- I have thousands of lead sheets for songs I play and sing. I left Friday night with the Infinity charged, drove to a jam Friday night, a gig Saturday, and when I got home last night, plenty of juice left to read email and play a few games.

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You’re logged in as Andrew James.

I suppose with the rise of tablets as consumption devices, the battering that your average household gives to its notebook will reduce so it wont need replacing with quite the same frequency.

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I'm not logged in as Andrew James.

No doubt when they do fire up the laptop, say to write a proper email or to upload pictures to the book of faces, it'll grind to a halt with all the windows, firefox and anti-virus updates.

Certainly all my Windows partition seems to do is update.

Mind you, Linux is no better, but at least it keeps it to the background and doesn't nag for a restart.

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Re: I'm not logged in as Andrew James.

Email isnt 'proper' unless typed on a physical keyboard? Almost all of my emails are sent from my phone these days. Pretty much the only use for my laptop is the wife typing up reports for work in her own time (stupid), or me ripping dvds.

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Re: I'm not logged in as Andrew James.

I've tried typing important emails with attachments etc. on a touchscreen tablet. It just isn't as nice as having a real machine with a keyboard, mouse etc.

I see tablets as consuming devices, I see PCs/notebooks/netbooks/laptops as producers.

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Meh

Supplimentary technology....

That's how I see Pads of any brand. Lighter to lug about than a laptop/ultrabook/netbook on your travels with a decent resolution and good battery life, enhanced by the convenience of WiFi Hotspots and 3G when and where needed.

However the laptop or PC will always be the workhorse for most, we use them to download and convert media like MP3's and video content into manageable formats and file sizes to compliment the Pads and Smartphones. It's all about storage capacity and believe you me, a 500GB+ hard disk is more convenient than a deck of SD cards.

Again the "Office" applications will come into the fray too, there are Office'esque apps for Pads, but what's available is better for editing and presenting content that's usually generated on a laptop by the mobile road warrior

The no brainer is gaming, Pad based games aren't too shabby but they cannot compare to the mid-range to high end gaming PC or laptop. Remember, not everyone enjoys the console.

I don't foresee the laptop ever being replaced by the 'fondeslabs' but remember that "most" Pad owners do in fact own a PC/Laptop [or Mac] too, so if anything Pads may well eat a little more into laptop sales

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Lowest Common Denominator

Jo/anne Average buys dumbed down trendy useless crap on Mastercard. The most s41t devices used to be laptops, but now they've become borderline useful the market has produced an even more pointless paradigm for consumers to waste money on.

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