If the huge profusion of mobile handsets, phablets and tablets on display at CES weren’t enough of an indicator, we now have some numbers from Gartner that spell out how the PC industry continues to decline in the face of smaller, cheaper, more portable, and more popular computing devices. Total worldwide PC shipments for Q4 totaled 90.3 million units, a decline of 4.9% over Q4 2011’s 95 million units, according to preliminary figures out today from the analyst group. Other key points: HP has regained its lead over Lenovo, with 14.6 million PCs shipped, giving it a 16.2% share of the market. And Windows 8 has so far had very little impact on things.

Although in the past vendors and analysts have explained PC sales declines as due in part to a softer economy, this time around Gartner is fairly straightforward in linking the drop to the rise of competition…

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