IDC: tablets to overtake portable PCs by end of 2013

According to the IDC (International Data Corporation)'s latest report on their Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, tablet computers are projected to overtake the mobile PC market by the end of this year. And more than that, the IDC suggests that tablet sales will grow past those of the entire PC market by the year 2015. If you're a keyboard lover, this might be good news for you – cheap computers on the horizon!

Of course if you're in the market for the highest-end PCs there are to grab, there may be a shrinking market that results in a desperate set of manufacturers. This could go several ways, one of which is cheaply constructed machines sold at tablet-level prices.

"Tablets surpassing portables in 2013, and total PCs in 2015, marks a significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and the applications and ecosystems that power them. IDC continues to believe that PCs will have an important role in this new era of computing, especially among business users.

But for many consumers, a tablet is a simple and elegant solution for core use cases that were previously addressed by the PC." – Ryan Reith, Program Manager for IDC's Mobility Trackers

According to the IDC, this quarter's continued shift toward smaller screen sizes on tablets is a sign that the entire market is becoming more affordable. While back in 2011 it was the 8 – 11-inch tablet market that was dominating at 73%, tablets smaller than 8-inches are now creeping up at 55% of the total.

The IDC predicts that by 2017, tablets smaller than 8-inches will make up 57% of the market while tablets larger than 11-inches will be at 6%. That's a tiny sum compared even to the still-large 37% of tablets at 8 – 11-inches, but there it is: the spread continues.

Results from the IDC note that tablet shipments are expected to grow 58.7% year-over-year in 2013, this number reaching 229.3 million units across the planet. This amount of unit sales is up from 144.5 million units sold through the entirety of 2012.

The Worldwide Average Selling Price (ASP) for tablets is expected by the IDC to decline this year to $381, that's 10.8% below the ASP from 2012. The current ASP for a PC (that's any PC, not just laptops, mind you) is $635.

Sound about right to you? How can the manufacturers sticking with PC form factors hope to compete against the tablet tides? Are you planning on sticking with your desktop or notebook computer, or does the tablet universe call to you?