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Could Compaq re-emerge to fly the tablet flag for HP

Tablets, it seems are going to be bigger than anyone thought at first. Bigger than PCs? Possibly

By PETER WHITE

Published: 25 August, 2011

READ MORE: Financial | Laptop | Netbook | Tablet

Continued ...

But right now this is the thrust of every change for tablet shipments - the market is bigger than everyone thought and Apple will retain a larger share than everyone thought. Our first revision was entitled "Tablets 2.0-This time think bigger" and subtitled "Taking bites out of Apple." But few of those biting at Apple's market share have managed to eat very much so far.

The departure of Hewlett-Packard from the group sniping at Apple's heels highlights a dramatic change for technology companies everywhere. HP even seems to want out of PCs, although it's not abundantly clear on the topic, because it seems it's too tough to make money in PCs. So how is it that Apple is generating phenomenal profits from devices which are only expected to be as well established as PCs in another 4 to five years?

And right in there are a number of observations just waiting to tumble out. You don't yet need an iPad or other Tablet for work, but you do need a PC. You definitely don't need a tablet to stay in touch on Facebook all day, but you do need a phone connection. You can't make calls on a Tablet, you find it hard to type things on a tablet, and you can't get all those enterprise apps or even the Microsoft products you are used to on a tablet. All of which is why most of us do not have Tablets. Yet. But the world assumes that all that will change.

Of course there are other reasons we don't have tablets yet (you can stop reading if you have one). For some people, they are so busy working in the way that they have worked for years, that it simply doesn't occur to them to try to move to a tablet. Let's remember that the PC revolution was pushed as a set of productivity improvements, but actually the relationship between work and PCs was far more complex. We are perhaps more productive, but we use the time we save checking our email or Facebook pages, or looking up things on Wikipedia that win us arguments.

Today we have a world that cannot get off automated portable devices, there is an interdependency. But we're not sure everyone is more productive - just tied in.

Other people haven't bought into tablets because they are too expensive, they are too breakable, they are too heavy to carry (funnily enough the device is harder to hold in your hands than it is to put a laptop on a desk).

We come back to our universal CE observation - new things sell if you want one, can afford one and they really take off when you see someone else who has one. That final jealously ingredient cuts in when someone has one who in your opinion, should not have got one before you. A kind of keeping up with the Jones' techno-lust takes over.

Let's just look at the key facts. Apple's tablet revenues last quarter were $6 billion out of $28.5 billion. The company is overall worth $345 billion. Hewlett Packard's Personal Systems Group did just $9.4 billion in the same period out of a total of $21 billion. The company is worth $50 billion or about one seventh the value of Apple, despite them being roughly equivalent in size.

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