The mobile evolution has without a doubt taken over and changed the way we work and play with the advent of devices like smartphones that allow users to remain connected at all times. However, for consumers and professionals who are looking for a full-featured device with a larger form factor and advanced capabilities, the tablet market has found its target audience in those seeking a more complete computer experience in their mobile gadgets.
Though still a fairly new market, some critics were skeptical when tablets first hit the scene as to if they would eventually replace the laptop computer. While it’s still too early to tell, tablet PCs have certainly made a name for themselves in the mobile industry becoming one of the most popular mobile devices next to smartphones, and creating wars between manufacturers like Google and Apple.
According to a recent report, in 2011 alone, tablet PC shipments reached an estimated 73 million units, making up 25 percent of all mobile PCs shipped this past year. The latest NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report, noted that the year-over-year shipment growth rate for tablets in 2011 is expected to reach 256 percent, as strong tablet shipments in Q3’11 appeared to be a prelude to its equally high demand in Q4’11.
With the help of competitive new devices in 2011 such as the iPad 2 and the growing number of Google (News - Alert) Android based tablets available, the strong demand for incumbents and additional distribution channels have served as catalysts for the growth in accelerated tablet PC shipments.
Notebook PC shipments in 2011 are now expected to reach 187.5 million units, up 12 percent year over year, but slightly less than the previous forecast of 188 million, according to the NPD DisplaySearch report.
“In the short term, tablet PCs will be the growth accelerant in the overall mobile PC market, as macroeconomic factors and hard drive motor supply issues impact the market for notebook PCs,” said Richard Shim, Senior Analyst at NPD DisplaySearch. “In the longer term, notebook PC shipments will bounce back as ASPs continue to decline, Windows 8 launches, and new form factors, such as ultrabooks, continue to emerge.”
In the next five years, notebook PC shipments are forecast to reach 432 million units, and tablet PC shipments are projected to reach 383.3 million units. By 2017, the report anticipates that the demand for ultrabooks will be driven by consumer interest in sleek design and convenience like instant-on and long battery life. For the next two years, the premium price points of Ultrabooks will temper demand, and there may be some supply limitations in production of displays thin enough for Ultrabooks.
Stefanie Mosca is a Managing Editor for TMCnet, with a particular focus in wireless technologies as well as mobile and IP communications. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University and a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of New Haven. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page or follow her on Twitter (News - Alert) @stefaniemosca.
Edited by Jennifer Russell