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Notebook sales on the rise

Ready to take a quarter of all PC sales this year

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Never let it be said that notebooks aren't popular: some 30.5 million were sold last year, accounting for 23.5 per cent of all PCs sold, according to the latest IDC count. Gartner puts the figure at 21.8 per cent.

In 2001, 22.5 per cent of PCs sold notebooks, says IDC - 20.2 per cent, says Gartner. At those rates of growth, it's not hard to imagine notebooks grabbing at least a quarter of the worldwide PC market this year.

Whoever's numbers you prefer, there's no doubt notebook shipments have been increasing each year for the last four years or so. However, 2002 seems to have been a particularly popular time for the portable, driven by increasing interest in computing on the move, lower prices and - frankly - because notebooks look a lot better than desktops.

Wireless networking and broadband must have played a part too, particularly in the consumer space, by finally allowing users to move around their home untethered and surf the Net at high speed. Desktop-class mobile graphics chips from the likes of ATI and Nvidia have helped too.

And it's a lot easier to justify an upgrade if you're changing form factor, now that, for many people, processors are as powerful as they need them to be.

Driving sales in 2003 will be the efforts of PC manufacturers who've taken note of last year's notebook sales and will be promoting them hard this year. Apple says 2003 will be the year of the notebook; Intel is spending a fortune on Centrino marketing; AMD recently launched a staggering 12 mobile Athlon XPs.

Notebooks are, of course, higher value items, so it's no wonder vendors are keen to push mobile computing. ®

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