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More tablets to be sold than PCs in 2015, report says

ConsumersSteve Jobs
Sales in emerging markets and at lower-price points will drive tablet sales in coming years
More consumers expected to shop for larger-screen tablets, research analyst predicts

Don't be surprised if you start to see more people with tablets than laptops -- a report Monday said tablet shipments will exceed PCs by 2015. 

Gartner said worldwide tablet shipments -- meaning units sold from manufacturers to retailers -- will climb from 256 million in 2014 to nearly 321 million next year. At the same time, shipments of desktops and laptops will fall from 276 million this year to less than 262 million in 2015. 

The shift represents the first time tablet shipments surpass PCs, which would be a monumental change in the tech landscape. Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs predicted the shift in 2010, calling it the "post-PC" era, comparing desktops and laptops to trucks.

"We were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks because that's what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers and America started to move into those urban and then suburban centers, cars got more popular," he said. "PCs are going to be like trucks. They're still going to be around. They're still going to have a lot of value, but they're going to be used by one out of X people."

Emerging markets and interest in lower-price devices are driving tablet growth, said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. Atwal said consumers should expect to see more tablets available for less than $100. 

Atwal also expects more consumers to shop for larger-screen tablets than before. The demand for small-sized tablets will decrease as consumers buy more and more smartphones with screens larger than 4 and 5 inches. Apple, for example, is expected to release an iPhone with a screen larger than 5 inches this fall. 

“Now that you're phone is getting bigger, you're kind of replacing the activities of a 7-inch tablet," Atwal told The Times by phone. “So now you might have a 6-inch screen phone and a 10-inch screen tablet. It's an interesting mix and match of screen sizes.”

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