Tablets influence future of notebooks

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NPD Displaysearch claims ultrathins set for boom

Ultra slim PC shipments are expected to grow significantly between 2011 and 2015 – from 3.4 million to 65 million respectively, making up a quarter of total mobile PC shipments.

According to a survey from NPD DisplaySearch, the world will see the mobile PC market evolve from a performance driven market into a convenience driven market, because demands from consumers are transforming into a desire for easy content access and usage.

The research shows that the most noticeable change is in the declining demand for notebooks, while tablets are still on the up and up. NPD predicts that tablets will exceed notebook PC shipments by 2015, while players in the latter are altering their business models to adopt well-received tablet features that consumers have responded well to.

Although ultra-thin PC adoption has not set the world on fire just yet, as production processes mature, material costs will become cheaper and, ultimately, the shelf prices will drop with them. They are already decreasing – albeit gradually – and adoption is, according to NPD, expected to receive a boost in 2013 thanks to convenience oriented computing and new processors. While Intel is most noticeably leading the charge on ultra-thins, thanks in part to its enormous marketing kitty, there is nothing to stop rival vendors from capitalising. Intel rules the Ultrabook market in name only, and we expect the competition to heat up.

NPD’s definition of ultra-slim PCs is notebooks with screen sizes larger than 14″ and a thickness of under 21mm, while notebooks with screen sizes less than 14″ must have thickness of less than 18mm. So Ultrabook modelsare included, as well as the Macbook Air and Pro, among others.

Senior analyst at NPD, Richard Shim, waxed lyrical that tablets have brought consumers instant-on activation, long battery life, and sleek designs: some of the features consumers have been after for years. “These attributes are the basis for enabling greater and easier accessibility to content and services,” Shim said. “Ultra-slim PCs are the notebook market’s response to tablets and aim to balance performance and convenience”. Of course, this reaction will also be beneficial for the panel market.


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