PC Analyst group IDC
has claimed that laptops and mobile computers will become the primary form of computer and outsell desktops by 2011.
Considering the progress of battery life (well, as long as they don't explode), TFT technology (with the introduction of LED backlights, higher resolutions, better viewing angles and colour definition) and general performance, more people will be turning to mobile computing as a more convenient form of doing many average user functions.
Prices have also continued to drop and bargains offered tend to be equivalent to the cost of an entire desktop PC, but with a form factor that is only a fraction of the space - not to mention the power and money savings enabled by a notebook over a desktop with a 1000W PSU!
Obviously a full desktop will still be preferable for gaming, and there will still be a need for large screens, oodles of storage and internal expansion. Not to mention those of us who enjoy building our own computers are pretty much restricted to desktops!
IDC went on to say that the roll out of Microsoft Vista will boost desktop PC sales for this year and next, but that the trend will be downwards subsequently - although it didn't say how much, and neither did it say why Vista wouldn't increase sales for laptops equally.
64.7 million computers were sold in Q4 last year, with a global growth of 7.3%. In a statement, the IDC website says that
"While Desktop volume will grow by low single-digit rates throughout, the forecast with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8 percent from 2006 to 2011, Portable PC shipments will maintain a CAGR of 16.1 percent over the same period. As a result, Portable PCs will represent more than 50 percent of all Client PCs worldwide in 2011 with a CAGR for Client PC shipments of 9.1 percent."
Emerging markets in Asia, the Pacific Rim, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East are destined to account for more than 50% of the desktop PC shipments in 2006 and will be more than 50% of all PC shipments by 2011.
Hopefully, this will mean more investment into notebook technology bringing overall prices down. In addition, it might also mean more companies develop for low power far more increasingly, rather than having several hundred watts dedicated to a single component.
I wonder how IDC predict trends up until 2011? If they're that good, maybe they can pick my lottery numbers for next week as well! Do you think you can predict PC trends? Give us your theories over in the forums.