Smartphones sell more than PCs

Picture of an iPhoneIt's official - 2011 was the year of the Smartphone, with research company Canalys confirming that these devices sold more widely than computers throughout last year. Worldwide, people bought 487.7m smartphones - over 158m of which were purchased during the last financial quarter - compared to 414.6m computers.
The figure is all the more remarkable when you consider that "computers" in this case refers to desktops, laptops and tablets combined.

Emerging markets
This will have inevitable effects on the manufacturing market, as resources shift towards producing the phones rather than their larger counterparts. No doubt the demand for higher capacity batteries or better power management on the devices will start to affect what's produced and when.

It's notable that in several emerging markets such as India the smartphone has already supplanted the PC as the main avenue through which people get onto the Internet. The desktop computer is often seen as somewhat old fashioned by way of contrast - a stage the West went through so the East didn't have to.

However, it's going to be a while before it's clear whether the smartphone overtaking the computer is going to prove to be a blip - and whether launches like the inevitable iPad 3 sometime this year end up making a difference.
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