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People still spending more time on personal computers than tablets, smarpthones

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MONTREAL - People will still spend more time on personal computers in 2013 than they will on tablets and smartphones, despite the popularity of these smaller devices, says a new tech trends report.

More than 80 per cent of the data going across the Internet this year will continue to come from laptop and desktop personal computers, the Deloitte Canada 2013 trends report said.

Why?

"People like big screens," said Duncan Stewart, director of research for technology, media and telecom at Deloitte in Toronto.

"They watch a two-hour movie, they play a half-hour game. They check Facebook for a while. The session length tends to be much longer."

The PC's accompanying keyboard and mouse, or trackpad, are also needed for people to perform most of their computing, Stewart said.

More than 70 per cent of the hours people spend on computing devices — PCs, smartphones and tablets — will be on a personal computer in 2013 and work will account for much of that, Stewart's report, released Tuesday, said.

In people's non-work lives, they're likely to use personal computers more than 50 per cent of the time, the report found.

Smartphones can have screens that are only about three inches, or about 76 millimetres, and tablets can have screens that are seven to 10 inches (178 mm to 254 mm).

Stewart said there's no shortage of online articles heralding the replacement of personal computers with touch screen tablets. Not so fast, he said.

"The PC is not dead: it's about usage, not units," said Stewart's report.

While not matching the growth of tablets and smartphones in the last few years, PC sales have remained strong, the report said.

There's expected to be almost 1.6 billion personal computers in use globally in 2013, up from 1.4 billion in 2010. By contrast, there will be about a quarter of a billion tablets in use globally and the smartphone base will be more than 1.5 billion worldwide in 2013, the report said.

Stewart said companies with more than 100 employees worldwide are not replacing computers with tablets.

Tablets are being used in addition to PCs to replace paper, such as agendas and lists. Doctors are using tablets to replace clipboards and restaurants can use them to replace such things as wine lists, he added.

Also in 2013, Deloitte Canada notes that ultra-high resolution televisions, also known as ultra high definition TVs, have made their debut and cost $25,000 to $35,000.

Few are expected to be sold in Canada this year, Stewart said.

Called 4K TVs, the next general of high-definition television, they were rolled out by manufacturers such as Sony and Samsung at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"Virtually nobody in Canada will buy a 4K set in 2013 and those who won't be able to watch very much on it," Stewart said.

"These things take years to roll out."

Stewart said the ultra-high resolution is ideal for Hollywood movies and live sports.

"It could lead to less blurring on stuff like a baseball being struck or a hockey shot," he said, and "seeing every blade of grass at the Masters (golf tournament)."

Also on the TV front, televisions worldwide are starting to come out with gesture and voice control. But Stewart said this doesn't mean the remote control device will become obsolete.

"What if I forget and wave my arm and 'Oh my god the Habs are about to score' and I've just changed the channel," he said.

As a result, TV viewers could get frustrated and go back to the "trusty old remote control."

Stewart noted that gesture and voice control have an 80 per cent to 90 per cent accuracy level, but he said they are "not yet ready for prime time."

Other predictions for 2013:

Live TV — sports, news and reality shows — will keep the vast majority of Canadian viewers from "cutting the cord'' on traditional TV services in 2013. Deloitte Canada is predicting that less than one per cent of Canadians will abandon TV services they're paying for from cable, satellite or telecom providers, despite hype around it.

Deloitte is also predicting that crowd funding websites will raise $3.3 billion in 2013, a 100 per cent increase on the $1.5 billion raised in 2011. These websites allow large numbers of individuals to give money to a project, company, an artist or a cause. Consumer lending is also available online through crowd funding.

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