It's a 'PC Plus,' Rather Than a 'Post-PC,' World, Analysts Say
Such systems offer "the best of both worlds," Krzanich said. "This is where the PC is heading." Include Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64, among those who agree with the Intel CEO. Brookwood told eWEEK that he has been using Windows tablets for years because the devices give him all the features of tablets as well as the backward-compatible Windows applications. He has never believed that tablets can do as good a job with such workloads as PCs. Being able to have the best of both tablets and PCs together is attractive. "I'd rather have one device that can do both than have a PC and a discrete tablet," Brookwood said. He said that PCs needed to adapt to meet new consumer demands and that Intel and Microsoft are showing that they can.However, even as new form factors come out from a wide range of PC makers, the next few years will be difficult for those in the market. IDC analysts in September forecast that tablet shipments in the fourth quarter will surpass those of PCs—both desktop and mobile—though for the year, PCs will still outsell tablets. However, by 2015, tablets shipments will outstrip PCs for the year, the analysts said. Between 2013 and 2017, tablet shipments will grow 78.9 percent—and smartphone shipments by 71.1 percent—while notebook shipments will jump 8.7 percent and desktops will decline 8.4 percent. In a September interview with BusinessWeek, current Apple CEO Tim Cook summed up what PC makers face. Cook noted that smartphones sales will continue to grow rapidly and that the tablet market will continue to see an influx of vendors—including the PC makers themselves—into an increasingly crowded space. He noted the numbers from IDC show tablets shipments overtaking those of PCs. "I have always said that the tablet market was going to surpass the PC market," Cook said. "I was saying that well before it was viewed to be sane to say that. It's clear that we're 24 months away from that. So that probably has accelerated even more than I would have thought over the last year. And so to do well in the PC market, you have even more differentiation. There has to be a different reason for buying a PC. Of course, we think about that a lot with the Mac and believe that we're doing that with the Mac. But if you're a PC player, it's not a great world to be in right now."
However, IDC's O'Donnell is less sure that two-in-ones will be embraced by consumers, saying they offered "the worst of both worlds." Most users are looking for 10-inch screens in their PCs, but screens in the 7-inch range for their tablets. Two-in-ones are looking to offer displays that are smaller than what people want in their PCs and larger than what they're looking for in tablets. In addition, the price points for convertibles now tend to be higher than what a separate PC and tablet go for now, he said.