Smartphones overtake PCs and Tablets in 2011

By on February 5, 2012
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Android accounting for 49% global marketshare.

In a report released by research firm Canalys, the Q4 results of last year have finally allowed a complete tally for 2011. There have been some surprising developments and others that were expected. Looking at the table below, you’ll see that for the first time, smartphone shipments have crossed the global shipments of desktop pc, laptops, netbooks and tablets combined.

The annual growth of smartphones is quite high, with almost 63% increase over last year. This has allowed for a global shipment of 487.7 million smartphones, compared to 414.6 million client PCs. Of course, the real star of the show are tablet computers, that have seen an astronomically high 274% increase over last year.

“In 2011 we saw a fall in demand for netbooks, and slowing demand for notebooks and desktops as a direct result of rising interest in pads (tablets),” said Chris Jones, Canalys VP and Principal Analyst. “But pads have had negligible impact on smart phone volumes and markets across the globe have seen persistent and substantial growth through 2011.

Coming back to smartphones, it seems that the sudden increase in popularity of tablets hasn’t affected the smartphone market. The competition among the major platforms seems to be one-sided, though, as Android smartphones had the lion’s share of shipments, with almost 49% global market share. Apple comes in at a distant second with 19% followed closely (and surprisingly) by Symbian. BlackBerry seems to be strolling along at 10.5%; not nearly as bad as everyone was making it out to be, but still nowhere near Apple or Android.


From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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