Feeds

Global notebook sales finally beat desktops

PCs are up, Macs are down

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Global sales of notebooks in the third quarter exceeded desktops for the first time in history, according to market watcher iSuppli.

"History," in this case, is of course a rather short period of time, what with the dawn of the personal computer era generally considered to have begun with the release of the MITS Altair 8800 in 1975 - though many a grizzled geek can provide a convincing argument about why the Altair doesn't deserve that honor.

Identifying the first notebook is a murkier proposition, but the Epson HX-20 came out in 1981 and the more-capable TRS Model 100 followed in 1983. Full-fledged "notebooks" they were not, but many a desk jockey relied upon them while on the road.

Epson HX-20

From the humble Epson HX-20, a mighty industry sprang forth

And now, after 25-plus years of being the underdog to what were, at first, far more capable desktops, the notebook has taken over the world. IDC had called the notebook's US victory back in October, but the new information from iSuppli makes it a worldwide win.

According to a report in the IEEE Times: "Notebook PC shipments rose almost 40 per cent in [the third quarter of 2008] compared to the same period in 2007 to hit 38.6 million units. Desktop PC shipments declined by 1.3 per cent for the same period to 38.5 million units."

Impressive. Equally impressive, however, is the fact that even as the economy was rapidly going down the dumper worldwide PC unit shipments rose to 79 million units, 15.4 per cent over the third quarter of 2007. All year, in fact, notebooks have kept the PC market rolling along, tracked by news stories such as Economy Hits US PC Sales, but Notebook growth remains strong in April and Notebook sales help boost Dell earnings in May.

Some of this growth, however, can be credited to the rise of the lower-cost netbook, seeing as how the little guys are counted along with full-fledged notebooks to total up the non-desktop figure. Again according to the IEEE Times when referring to the world's third-largest PC maker, Acer: "The company shipped nearly three million more notebooks in the third quarter than in previous quarter, the majority of them netbook products."

The news wasn't peachy for everyone, however. Apple, for example, saw its global market share dip by half a percentage point to 3.2 per cent. But there's even a silver lining to this cloud over Cupertino. As pointed out by the Silicon Alley Insider: "Apple... is increasingly a notebook company. If the trend toward notebooks continues - which we expect it will - Apple stands to gain market share."

But we can't resist adding our own two cents to that optimistic spin: Apple would best benefit from the Brave New Notebook World if and when it produces a netbook - and no, despite what some say, the iPhone 3G is not a netbook-beater. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.