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December 16, 2013

StatCounter: Desktop Still King of Worldwide Internet Access

The idea of the post-PC era is still strong for many, but a recent reports from Web analytics firm StatCounter suggests that, in much of the world, the PC is still going, and still going strong thanks to a look at just how people are getting online throughout the world. While mobile devices are having a fairly strong showing, and even tablet use is fairly well-represented, the overwhelming favorite is still the desktop, and by a wide margin.

The StatCounter reports show that global tablet Internet usage for the month of November was 4.8 percent of the whole. Mobile devices came in with a healthy 19.1 percent. But the rest—fully 76.1 percent—turned to desktops for online access. When it comes to what kind of tablet is used to get online, though, the market turns largely to the iPad line of tablets, with Apple accounting for 74.5 percent of tablet Internet use, while Samsung stands at just 10.85 percent, having raised its totals from eight percent in November 2012.

StatCounter's CEO, Aodhan Cullen, notes “Samsung is in a distant second place,” but suggests that Samsung's successes in the smartphone sector may be enough to make a challenge on Apple's dominance, at least as far as the mobile sector goes.

The numbers are slightly different in the United States and in the United Kingdom as well, but actually come pretty close in terms of the overall global numbers. The United States' breakdown, for example, features 6.8 percent tablet, 15.2 percent mobile, and 77.9 percent desktop. The United Kingdom, meanwhile, boasts 9.6 percent on tablets, 14.8 percent on mobile, and 75.4 percent on desktop. 

With all these different numbers in play, StatCounter has released a new interface allowing for tracking across several different platforms either separately or in various combinations. This in turn is likely to prove useful indeed, particularly for developers who will want to know if mobile devices are gaining, and by how much.

It's something of a surprise that tablets haven't been gaining more, particularly in the global setting where desktops and laptops aren't always brought into play due to issues of expense, transport and the like. Shipping tablets is only slightly tougher than shipping smartphones, owing largely to comparable size. Still, tablets are a comparatively new technology, and simply may not have caught on with the global market due to that comparative youth. Granted, smartphones aren't much older, but it's possible that those extra few years, along with some local development, may be enough to push these devices over the top. By way of example, mobile video in India was doing quite well thanks to smartphones, though other devices played a part in the overall equation.

It's a changing landscape, and there are no two ways about that. It may not be changing quite as fast as some envisioned, but there are certainly changes afoot. The post-PC era may still be some time in coming, but it's looking like it may still be a possibility, if the changing numbers in Internet access are any indication.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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