A new study by IHI iSuppli shows that PCs might be a loser when it comes to the mobile device revolution; PC shipments are expected to drop by 1.2 percent in 2012, and third quarter PC shipments have fallen by eight percent, according to IDC and Gartner. The IHI iSuppli study is the first that indicates that the growth of the tablet and smartphone segments is taking a share from the PC market.
Cloud computing, on the other hand, looks to be a distinct winner as more people use tablets and smartphones.
“These form factors are just moving into their torrid growth phase,” wrote Bernard Golden in ComputerWorld. He predicted that the tablet and smartphone segments could expand by 1,000 percent or more in the next few years as people add these devices in addition to their existing computers. “That growth is going to make the cloud computing phenomenon even bigger,” he suggested.
The reason for the optimism is that smartphones and tablets are primarily consumption devices, not productivity devices. With a laptop you create, but with a tablet there is more likelihood that something will be consumed, whether TV, music or web site. And, this often resides on a server, not the local solid state hard drive.
“I do far more computing with my iPad than I ever imagined, but the computing is of a different form than what I do with my laptop or desktop machine,” wrote Golden. “The ultimate destination for my iPad apps is some cloud-based application. That's where the data and functionality reside. Every one of the apps I use drives remote computing in the cloud.”
This additional, incremental computing from tablets and smartphones should expand the cloud computing market more than most analysts predict, he wrote. But there are two other reasons that these segments will help cloud computing.
What Golden calls “API-ification” will be another driver of cloud growth. The “API-ification of cloud-based applications means it is much easier to access them via smartphones and tablets, enabling new market niches to be addressed,” he noted. “This API-driven app world expands the scope of computing, which will result in an explosion of applications as new market niches get exploited.”
The other reason the cloud will grow more is because really tablets and computers are just the first wave of a larger trend toward a world where devices of all kinds are connected to the internet and accessing cloud services and data.
“The upcoming effect of small, powerful, cheap and numerous devices will serve to expand computing well beyond how we think of it today,” Golden wrote. “One example is the Nike+ Fuelband, which essentially turns the human body into a LAN, generating data about heart rate and activity level and using it as a motivational goal.”
So, while PC manufacturers might be singing the blue, cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft (News - Alert) and Google could almost be suffering for another reason in the near future: Too much demand.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli