back to article Tablets BEAT DOWN laptops in 4-to-1 Xmas bloodbath - analyst

Bow down before the might of the tablet. If you were unsure who is the master now, look no further than numbers from the UK wing of GfK, a market watcher which tracks over-the-counter sales. According to its data, more tablets were sold in December 2012 - no doubt as Christmas prezzies - than notebooks purchased in October, …


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  1. Jess

    Maybe MS were right not to bother about their OS being any good on a desktop.

    Thought probably not right to aim squarely at the iPad rather than at Android.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe MS were right not to bother about their OS being any good on a desktop.

      MS ended up falling between two stools and being good at neither. W8 desktop made me go urghh rather than wow and Win RT made me go meh.

      Up your game MS because this half arsed crap isn't good enough and there is plenty of competition about now.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe MS were right not to bother about their OS being any good on a desktop.

      Well, people have desktops and laptops. They don't all have tablets and so there will be some rise in sales until everyone that wants one has one, then the market will stagnate a bit.

  2. theJML

    Laptops for Christmas?

    I've always thought laptops have too many options and personal choices for gifting. Tablets, however, are really easy for a 3rd party to purchase. I mean, sure there are different capacities and such, but for the most part, there's only a few options. And someone that wants an iPad will say so instead of "a tablet would be nice". You can buy an iPad in like 10 clicks. Laptops, it's like, well, how much ram? HDD? do you like chicklet keys? do they need to be backlit? What size screen? Resolution? Do you need a number pad? Is on board graphics okay, or do you need a discrete card? etc...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Laptops for Christmas?

      Am I that alone in feeling the Tablet is sort of like "Been there, done that."? Like it's good and neat, but comes in handy as much as a car stereo? Sort of like for those in between times.

      Anyways, what makes a Tablet popular, is mobile internet with a decent size screen. It's the same reason smart phones became popular. It can be argued that the desktop PC became popular for the very same reason, but as time has told, the demand for cutting edge hardware does diminish.

      I do agree with you the too many choices aspects, but not necessarily on Tablet VS. Laptop. Being a Tablet really is just a device for a portable web browser, I would gift it to someone that doesn't use a computer for anything else. Now, if that someone did more than just surf the net, I would get them a laptop. To be honest, I'd probably play safe and get a laptop under both circumstances.

      1. A Butler
        Thumb Up

        Re: Laptops for Christmas?

        Agree 100% I am seeing the post 2012 tablet buzz starting to fade. They devices were purchased in vast quantities however from what I have seen usage has dropped a lot, even including the worshiped iPad.

        I would love some current web browsing stats on their usage.

  3. S4qFBxkFFg

    The netbook is dead, the laptop is dying, long live the tablet.

    I can see why, everything I do on my netbook (Acer Aspire 1) would probably be a lot more pleasant on a tablet - it's only rarely I'd do anything that would be improved by using a keyboard, so as soon as the bank balance improves we'll grab one.

    There's something to be mourned about a loss of the comparative openness of a PC in favour of locked-down tablets, but as long as the rootable androids are around, it's probably OK.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a laptop and a tablet. I use the tab for watching movies and TV with the laptop for writing (I am an author). Tabs are great, but limited for some things.

    Also, watching TV on my battery powered tab saves leccy instead of firing up my 1200W gaming system to feed my 54" plasma.

  5. Ian Grant

    Windows 8: best advert for Apple ever?

    I installed Windows 8 on my netbook (Asus dual core Atom with 2MB) but 'Metro' doesn't support my screen resolution so I have to use the Desktop mode. I was very disappointed. So I hooked my netbook up to my desktops 21" screen and bingo I could use Metro. And...its awful. And my mouse stopped working properly.

    Will be backing it off to Windows 7 Starter asap.

    I bought my first PC in 1984 and nowadays build my own. I have always disliked Macs (how do they comply with accessibility legislation?) and Unix (like all escapees) should have been confined to the test lab.

    Tablets are no good because I need Java support in the browser; the iPad may be pretty but is it any real use?

    If this is the future of personal computing then this retired SysProg (Unisys) is a Dodo.

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: Windows 8: best advert for Apple ever?

      @Ian Grant. Need Java ? you poor poor sod. Hacker bait. Trying to be a honeypot are you ? Or do you mean javascript ?

      Unix an escapee ? The original community IT project of sorts ? Perhaps oversold as as OS in the days when cobol ruled and client server was a buzzword, but now just too good/cheap to use anything else. And no, tablets are not the future of \\drum roll please \\ computing . They are just another new gadget. Much as I dislike Apple pricing, the small form device market segment is growing, but that does not mean much else is changing. PC market is merely saturated and for some uses better served by smaller devices. Super computer market is growing and different architectures being tried.

      What is missing from this lot of monologues is what the human factors are ? ie at what stage of computing does big data have political consequences and reaction ? Privacy, trend forecasting and restriction of data slurping, database amalgamation and privacy, not to mention any moves to formally restrict fishing expeditions by busybodies, spooks and plods, let alone chocolate factory and its imitators.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Windows 8: best advert for Apple ever?


      Apple has had accessibility functions of all sorts for quite some time. They are installed as an option when you first configure the OS. Accessibility has been a selling point for Apple pretty much since the Macintosh was introduced. If you don't need the functions, they aren't cluttering up your menus and you will probably not know that they are. I sure that it wouldn't be too hard to find a web site that specializes in in computer software and devices for people that have use issues.

  6. Tom 7

    Luggage up!

    I did notice recently, while somewhere warm, that every tablet user seemed to have some form of case that left the item 'thicker' than a laptop. Even one thin iPad was wrapped up in a good amount of leather. So why Thin???

    These were all being used on sun-loungers but I was surprised that 20% or so had keyboards attached which were being used furiously.

    A full survey was not possible without risking a thump but on meeting in the bar of an evening, and not topless areas, most of the users were bluecollar workers so I wouldn't put the old keyboard out to grass yet.

    1. Synonymous Howard

      Re: Luggage up!

      And how would you transport a laptop around then? Bare or in a bag / case / neoprene slip?

    2. Geoffrey W

      Re: Luggage up!

      Why Thin?

      Well, if it wasn't thin then when wrapped up in its case the package would be even thicker, wouldn't it.

  7. G R Goslin

    And the significance?

    I'd not read too much into this. The reason for most Christmas present choises is panic. "Whatever can we buy for Sidney, that he hasn't got already? I know, we'll buy him a tablet". The fate of most of these choices is frenzied use for a couple of months, or less, then they're back on the shelf. I've a couple of tablets, and sometimes wonder why I ever bought them. They're good for some applications. Mine gets most use as an expensive reader. However the desktop is good at everything. For portability I've a good netbook, which will do practically eveything the desktop will do, but is slower and more cramped. but will do it, in a package practically the same as a tablet.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: And the significance?

      And how many of the tablets were $75 Android 2.3 machines from Walmart rather than iPads

      I suspect that tablets outsold laptops at christmas for pretty much the same reason that kid's bikes outsold cars - it doesn't mean the whole world is going to start cycling to work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And the significance?

        When the oil runs out, get pedalling.

  8. pPPPP

    I had to listen to some wanker giving a sales pitch yesterday and he banged on about being able to all of his job on his ipad. Given i had seen most of his slide deck before because he'd pinched it from someone else I came to the conclusion he didn't do any proper work and spent most of his life attempting to achieve twat perfection.

    If a tablet had a keyboard and you didn't have to touch the screen and get bloody fingerprints all over it then I might consider buying one. Until then I'll stick with the free laptop my employer gave me.

    Yeah OK so I can't fit my laptop in my handbag, but then again, I'm male, don't have a handbag and buy new crap when the old crap breaks not when I must have yet another ******* pair of shoes, like my girlfriend does.

    That said, If someone didn't have a laptop and wanted an easy way to access the internet then a tablet seems like a reasonable choice to me. Wouldn't get one myself because I use my laptop to work but I could see my mum with one for example, except she already has a laptop (running Linux - ha!) so doesn't need one, and has better things to spend her money on, like shoes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anyone who says they can do all their work on an ipad can probably be replaced with a rock, and no one would notice the difference productivity wise. That is unless their job is playing angry birds.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Very cheap joke!

        My other half bought herself an ipad for her work. She uses it 4 or 5 hours a day. I haven't seen her laptop since and she has no idea what angry birds are (except when the gulls are squabbling over something in the garden)

        And no. She couldn't be replaced by a rock. Lots of children would be very disappointed if she was.

        1. sam bo

          Re: Very cheap joke!

          "And no. She couldn't be replaced by a rock. Lots of children would be very disappointed if she was."

          And that explains it all - she's a kindergarten teacher and uses it for finger painting. Very productive indeed !

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Acer Timeline Utlrabook = £499 (cheap ultrabook)

    Google Nexus 7 = £ 159

  10. John Riddoch

    To look at the numbers another way:

    The laptop market is more mature. Many people who want/need a laptop already have one, hence they aren't selling so well.

    The Tablet market is new & growing, so people who want them have to buy them rather than make do with an older one as they don't have an older one.

    Give it a year and we'll see how the numbers run as everyone who needs/wants a tablet has one and you only get the newcomers & upgraders.

    That said, it does seem as if tablets are taking over. Most people don't need anything more as they're just browsing the web, email & some light games. Given the cost of games on tablets (free-£3 in most cases), it's a cheaper proposition than a PC with £30+ games the norm.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Over the next year we may also see a healthy second hand market where people that were holding out for a better price can pick up a fondleslab that fits their budget. That should empty the closets of the early adopters that found carrying both the slab and their laptop (and sync'ing the two) became too much of a chore and will now consolidate down to just the laptop.

      If I could pick up a slab for under 100 quid, I might make the investment. I have been giving it thought and if I need a computing device when I am out of the house or office I usually need the full laptop. If I wind up traveling more for work, a slab might be handy if I can get all of the documents on it that I need. (Field service) In the mean time, I will keep the extra cash handy for a short holiday.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know plenty of people who got iPads for crimbo but surprisingly no netbooks or laptops - laptops are dull and for most people a tablet is more than capable. Instant on is one of the killer features and most people want web + email + media + facebook + twitter + some games for which a tablet is perfect.

    1. Denarius Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @AC true, tablets can be for fun, whatever that is, hence OK as presents. Laptops are work.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I know more who bought Nexus 7 than iPad but likewise no notebooks, in fact can't remember any friends or family ever buying a notebook as a Christmas present.

      1. Dana W

        Both are good, both sold well. The iPad mini was a popular gift, and You can't beat the price for the Nexus 7.

  12. IGnatius T Foobar

    Asus Transformer

    Absolutely loving my Asus Transformer. Best of both worlds, and my conventional laptop has literally not come out of the bag since I bought this great tablet. May Microsoft suffer the horrific death it deserves.

  13. The Alpha Klutz

    the problem is people dont know how to buy laptops

    they see it costs £250 and buy it, but they didnt realise or care that it has a CELERON chip inside.

    When Intel makes the C2Ds then they strip out most of the cache, half the instructions, all the extra cores, drop the clock speed and FSB, then call it a Celeron, and people wonder why their new computer is a piece of shit.

    So now, they see the £250 tablet and get that. The CPU is just a shit if not worse but it doesn't have to run WinFail so you at least get a passable computing experience. Which Microsoft can only offer you on the multi-hundred watt systems. 600 or 700 watts is a good Windows PC in my house. My Linux PCs and Macs pull about 30. That's thirty, three zero, not three hundred.

    1. RonWheeler

      Re: the problem is people dont know how to buy laptops

      My main PC is a mini-itx with a G620t processor (35w TDP) and a 12/8 gig SSD drive. Blazingly fast in Windows 7 x64. .Boots expnentially faster than my android phone and can do 100 times more.Small Pc plus big nontior for the price of an i-toy. .


  14. Wolfhound57


    This news won't surprise anyone who has spent any time knocking on doors in this great(lol) country, their are a majority of numptys hidden behind said egress control systems not to mention a horde of Fanbois and also remember how when you were a child you couldn't wait for the Christmas toy avalanche.

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