Android and iOS devices (iPads, iPhones) had a higher combined shipment volume than the entire PC industry in 2011, according to mobile analyst Horace Dediu in Asymco.
A total of 358 million Android and iOS units were shipped last year, Dediu found (using data from the smartphone industry, Apple and Gartner), compared to 336 million PC units (excluding Macs).
"The growth rate and the scale itself combine to make the entrants impossible to ignore," comments Dediu (here). "We cannot consider the iPad as a 'niche'...it has a higher trajectory than the iPhone which became a disruptive force in itself."
These numbers are perhaps validation of earlier predictions made by analysts. In December 2011, a study from USC foresaw that "for the vast majority of Americans, the tablet will be the computer tool of choice by the middle of the decade, while the desktop PC fades away" (RAIN coverage here).
And in 2010, Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker predicted that smartphone sales would surpass those of PCs by 2012 (RAIN coverage here).
More recently, radio group heads told Inside Radio they would focus on the mobile experience in 2012. "Stations need to think of how their websites are built beyond the desktop browser," said Hubbard Radio VP of digital media Mark Preston (RAIN coverage here).