It's a TAB-tastrophe – 83 million fewer units to ship in 2014

But full steam ahead ... if your name is Google

The mist has cleared in Gartner’s crystal ball and the resident mystics have deduced that the tab revolution is coming to an end: some 83 million fewer fondleslabs are to be flogged worldwide this year than previously forecast.

Shipments of slablets into retailers and tech disties will still grow 10.6 per cent this year to 229 million units, but this is 11 per cent lower than the ball-stroker previously estimated.

Apparently “people are holding onto the machines for longer”, according to Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. The buying cycle has been stretched from 2.8 to three years, he told us. “That has had a big impact on the forecast,” he added.

Over a longer forecast period to 2018, the number-cruncher now anticipates some 155 million fewer pads will be purchased.

There is no compelling reason swap out a functioning tab just yet, and with prices on "ultraportables" gently sliding south the eye of the buyer is heading in that direction, the analyst reckons.

Rising channel inventories – Samsung was sat on a tab mountain in the summer – pointed to slowing demand. Shipments of tabs will account for 9.5 per cent of total PC sales this year. They are expected to grow 19.1 per cent next year to a little over 229k units.

The total device market is expected to grow to 2.41 billion in 2014 - that’s desktops, chunky notebooks, tabs, Ultrabooks and mobile phones. This will be up from 2.334 billion in 2013… growth of 3.2 per cent if the forecast is correct. By 2015, the market will swell to 2.53 billion devices, a rise of 5.2 per cent.

The traditional PC market will decline this year and next, but the falling prices of 2-in-1 ultra premium mobiles suggest this market will nearly double to 64 million units by 2015. Mobile phones including smart mobes will rise 2.9 per cent to 1.86 billion units this year, climbing 3.6 per cent next to 1.928 billion.

It will surprise few to note that across all devices, Android will remain the dominant OS: some 1.24 billion devices will run on the software this year, a 51.5 per cent share of the total market. Next year, the OS is expected to be on 1.45 billion machines, a 57.4 per cent share.

Apple’s iOS and Mac OS will find their way into 263 million systems or gadgets this year, a 10.9 per cent share of the total market. In 2015, Apple’s share is touted to rise to 11.6 per cent based on shipments of 295 million hardware units.

As for Microsoft, Gartner folk reckon Windows will be installed on 337 million units, a nearly 14 per cent market share. This lifts only slightly for 2015, with sales of 371 million equating to a share of 14.6 per cent.

The "others" segment made up by players including BlackBerry is expected to shrink this year and next. ®

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