Deloitte Analysis of Top Technology Trends for 2011

Deloitte predicts a significant consumer and enterprise shift away from the desktop and laptop personal computer (PC) in favor of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and netbooks in its forecast of top trends for the technology sector in 2011, released today.

Among Deloitte’s top forecasted technology trends for 2011, highlights include:

More than half of all computers aren’t computers anymore

In 2011, more than 50 percent of computing devices sold globally will be smartphones, tablets and non-PC netbooks, breaking the PC’s decades-long market dominance. Unlike the 2009 netbook phenomenon, where buyers chose machines that were essentially less powerful versions of traditional PCs, the 2011 computing market will be dominated by devices that use different processing chips and operating systems than those used for PCs over the past 30 years. This shift represents a tipping point as we move from a world of mostly standardized PC-like devices to a far more heterogeneous environment.

Tablets in the enterprise: more than just a toy

In 2011, enterprises will purchase more than 25 percent of all tablet computers, a figure that is likely to increase in 2012 and beyond. Although some commentators view tablets as underpowered media-consumption toys suitable only for consumers, more than 10 million of these devices will likely be purchased by enterprises in 2011. Consumer demand for tablets is expected to remain strong; however, enterprise demand is likely to grow even faster, although from a lower base.

Operating system diversity: no standard emerges on the smartphone or tablet

By the end of 2011, no operating system will take control of the fast-growing non-PC computing market, which includes smartphones and the new generation of tablets. Some operating systems will capture more than a 5 percent share, but no single player will have yet become the de facto standard, as seen in previous computing ecosystems. Being the dominant operating system provider for the non-PC market will be a tremendous prize; however, it’s unlikely that a winner will emerge before the end of 2011.

Online regulation ratchets up, but cookies live on

Media criticism of online privacy will continue in 2011; however, legislative and regulatory changes that impact the way websites gather, share, and exploit user information will be minor. Cookies, which are the small files of personal information that websites create on a visitor’s computer, are very likely to remain core to the online user experience. While new online privacy legislation is expected to be modest, the online industry will likely become far more proactive when tackling privacy issues — expanding their efforts to influence legislation and increasing their level of self-regulation with the goal of avoiding new legislation altogether.

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