With the increasing prevalence of Web-connected consumer electronics, research outfit iSuppli believes such devices will outnumber conventional computers in as little as two years. The firm predicts that by 2013 the number of Internet-enabled electronic devices such as televisions, set-top boxes, video game consoles, Blu-ray players, and media tablets will hit 503.6 million worldwide, up from 161 million in 2010. In the same timeframe, it's expected that PC shipments will reach 253.5 million units, up from 222.3 million last year.
That gap will only broaden as time progresses. By 2015, iSuppli believes shipments of Internet-ready consumer devices will skyrocket to 780.8 million units, while global PC shipments will total 479.1 million. That trend is largely attributed to the rise of tablets such as the iPad.
Although some industry giants believe they're simply a fad, the consensus seems to be that lightweight companion devices like tablets will become the primary mode of Web access -- something we've heard repeated countless times in recent years.
Last year, the top Internet-enabled devices were game consoles with shipments hovering north of 50 million units, followed by televisions at 40 million. That's due to change this year as the iPad and its rivals are projected to ship 61.9 million units, up 214% from 19.7 million in 2010.
Of the 780.8 million Web-connected devices forecast to be shipped in 2015, more than 300 million will be tablets. Blu-ray players will supposedly have the second-highest compound annual growth rate at 37.9% (about half of what's expected of slates).
"The Internet now is revolutionizing the consumer electronics business by delivering a range of products that can bring web-based content to homes. Increasingly, each Internet-enabled consumer electronics device is vying to become the center of what is known as the digital living room, aggregating content throughout the home and serving up movies, television programs, videos and music. In the future, consumers will be more likely to access the Internet through their televisions than via their PCs," said analyst Jordan Selburn.