All this talk about the connected home and digital ecosystems is not going away anytime soon. According to International Data Corporation, nearly 1 billion connected computing devices (including smartphones, PCs and tablets) shipped last year, and that number is expected to double by 2016.
“We have for a long time counted the PC market and the tablet and smartphone market separately,” Bob O’Donnell, vice president of clients and displays at IDC, tells Marketing Daily. “Increasingly, we see those worlds melded together. Almost anyone you talk to has multiples of those devices.”
In 2011, shipments of those devices (which doesn’t include connected non-computing devices such as televisions or Blu-Ray disc players) totaled 916 million units, with revenues of $489 billion, according to IDC. The company predicts unit shipments for those devices should top 1.1 billion by 2012 and will reach 1.84 billion units by 2016.
“Those are enormous numbers,” O’Donnell says. “Yes, most of those will be smartphones, but PCs and tablets are still relevant devices. They’re all part of a large computing ecosystem.”
The increasing dependence on several devices will have an impact on the operating systems running all of those devices. While IDC projects Windows-based devices to slip from a 36% share to a 25% share of all devices by 2016, Android and iOS will account for 31% and 17% of devices, meaning that none will really hold a dominant lead over any of the others, O’Donnell says.
“It’s going to be a very diverse world,” O’Donnell says. “There’s not one solution. There’s no one winner here. If I’m an application developer or service, I have to be cognizant of the fact that I have to [work on] multiple platforms.”