Why Managing Phones Matters More Than PCs Or Tablets

Why Managing Phones Matters More Than PCs Or Tablets

Need more proof that we’re living in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) era, no matter what the official corporate policy says? Sales figures and forecasts from Gartner show that smartphones will continue to be the biggest-selling device platform for the foreseeable future, but tablets and PCs aren’t disappearing either.

Devices picture from Shutterstock

Here are Gartner’s worldwide shipment numbers for 2013 and projections through to 2015 for different form factors (all figures are in thousands of units):

Device Type 2012 2013 2014 2015
PC (Desk-Based and Notebook) 341,273 299,342 277,939 268,491
Tablet (Ultramobile) 119,529 179,531 263,450 324,565
Mobile Phone 1,746,177 1,804,334 1,893,425 1,964,788
Other Ultramobiles (Hybrid and Clamshell) 9,344 17,195 39,636 63,835
Total 2,216,322 2,300,402 2,474,451 2,621,678

Note that while PC sales are declining, and Gartner is projecting tablet sales will overtake them by 2015, they’re not going away. 268 million devices is not a small number. The need to manage PCs won’t disappear — but if you don’t have a plan to also manage mobile phones, you’re in big trouble.

How many form factors might you need to manage? Here are Gartner’s worldwide projections based on broad OS type (note that Windows includes Windows Phone and Mac and iOS have been bundled together):

OS 2012 2013 2014 2015
Android 503,690 877,885 1,102,572 1,254,367
Windows 346,272 327,956 359,855 422,726
iOS/Mac OS 213,690 266,769 344,206 397,234
RIM 34,581 24,019 15,416 10,597
Chrome 185 1,841 4,793 8,000
Others 1,117,905 801,932 647,572 528,755
Total 2,216,322 2,300,402 2,474,414 2,621,678

Android is already dominant, and Gartner projects that will continue. Windows will grow, but not at the same rate, while Apple will remain in third place.

Projections don’t always come true, but the evident diversity in the 2012 numbers, and the huge number of Android devices out there, show that we’re well beyond the single-OS workplace. Any IT management strategy needs to reflect that.



  • Might also be worth pointing out the respective turnover times. phones tend to get replaced on a 2-3 year cycle and have a much higher damage/failure rate, but PCs tend to be replaced on a 5-7 year cycle. laptops and tablets will both float in the middle somewhere. While

    tl;dr: comparing sales rates between different product types may not accurately reflect usage rates.

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