pcsTablets are killing PCs softly (with their song).

Tablet shipments are expected to grow by almost 70 percent in 2013, sending desktop and laptop computer shipments into a “nosedive.”

Research firm Gartner predicted that the worldwide sale of devices, including PCs, tablets, and mobile phones, will increase by 5.9 percent in 2013 and hit 2.35 billion units. Tablets and smartphones are driving this growth, while PC sales are expected to total 305 million units — a decline of 10.6 percent. Tablet sales are likely to eclipse PCs by 2015.

Tablets are like hot young starlets edging out the older competition. They are mobile, cost-effective, and provide the degree of instant gratification that consumers these days demand. Furthermore, startups from a range of sectors are building beautiful, sleek apps designed just for tablets, which are in many ways better suited to media, social media, e-commerce, and education than PCs or mobile phones.

Consumers want the ability to consume, create, and share content anytime and anywhere, said Carolina Milanesi, Gartner’s vice president for research on consumer devices. Even within the tablet spectrum, there are changes. Consumers are shifting away from premium tablets to basic tablets, and ultramobile devices (like Chromebooks) are on the rise.

Android is currently the dominant operating system across all devices and Gartner predicts that this will continue to be the case. Ninety percent of Android sales are in the mobile phone sector, while eighty-five percent of Microsoft sales are for PCs, and Apple has a strong presence across all devices.

Tablets were written off as a fad when they first came out, and many say that they will never replace PCs. However they have proved remarkably convenient, whether you are casually browsing for a little black dress or out in field conducting sales calls. The bring-your-own device (BYOD) movement is gaining momentum and companies are looking for and building software to adapt mobile devices to the enterprise world. The outlook for PC makers is not good.

To learn more about where users are behaving on the mobile web, check out the “Digital lifestyle: Curating context in a connected world” track at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat conference, July 9-10.

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