Feeds

Global notebook sales finally beat desktops

PCs are up, Macs are down

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch
It does everything a smartwatch should do ... but Apple owns it
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.