Sales of tablets and smartphones will outnumber personal computers this year as consumers begin using a wider variety of devices to access the Internet, according to a study by the Deloitte consulting firm.
"Deloitte predicts that in 2011 more than 50 percent of computing devices sold globally will not be PCs," Deloitte said in its latest Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions report.
It said sales of smartphones and tablet computers would come to 425 million, well above sales of 390 million PCs.
Tablets are expected to rack up 50 million sales and smartphones 375 million.
Deloitte said the PC era is far from over as they will remain the workhorse computing platform.
"However, when looking at the future of computing devices, 2011 may well mark the tipping point as we move from a world of mostly standardised PC-like devices, containing standardised chips and software, to a far more heterogeneous environment."
It said it it expects at least two distinct chip architectures to emerge and at least five different operating systems with more than five percent market share.
Deloitte said it also expects 2011 to be a breakthrough year for tablets in the workplace, with more than 25 percent of sales in 2011 going to companies.
Software to allow tablets to become integrated to secure business networks has recently become available.