See Ars Technica for a great article on 35 years of personal digital devices, from the advent of PCs to smartphones and tablets.
What’s most interesting is that the new and smaller personal computing devices have not replaced PCs, at least so far: “The truth of the matter is that the PC isn’t going away anytime soon. Sales figures show that the market may have flattened out somewhat, but it is still growing: 353 million PCs were sold in 2011. That’s a massive figure despite a global recession, and it’s the highest it has ever been.”
The adoption of smart phones and tablets, however, has been much faster than the adoption of PCs (see graph below where “computers” should read “PCs”), no doubt because of the existence of the World Wide Web. It has served as a universal and open platform for the creation of all the exciting applications that have made these devices so useful and so addictive for so many people.