From Computer Business Review, a sister publication.
International Data Corp is suggesting that within four years half of the client machines attaching to the internet or corporate intranets will be non-PC devices. IDC reckons that in 2001, 92.8 million PCs which can be used for internet/intranet access will be shipped, up from 25.4 million in 1996. What will change radically is that other devices will challenge that PC domination. While there were less than one million non-PC internet devices sold last year, that will soar to 48.2 million in 2001, says IDC. Such devices will be a mix of NC clients, NetPCs, screenphones, handheld units, NetTVs, and games consoles. IDC tips NetTVs as becoming popular internet platforms. From a standing start last year, 12.4 million NetTVs will be sold in 2001, it forecasts. Less positively for those who have predicted that NC shipments will equal or surpass PC sales within a couple of years, IDC suggests that only 6.6 million NC client devices, such as those desktop machines being offered by Sun Microsystems Inc, Network Computing Devices Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co, Tektronix Inc, and Oracle Corp, will ship in 2001. NC clients could potentially take a 7% to 10% share of available enterprise desktops by 2001, IDC concludes. This is slightly lower than the share that will be taken by other types of internet connected devices, such as screenphones, smart handheld devices, and games consoles. IDC is also being cautious about the take-up of NetPCs, as conceived by Intel and Microsoft late last year. Just under 3.0 million NetPC units are likely to ship in 2001, it says.