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ARM rains on x86 as smartphones outship PCs

Netbooks cop a hiding

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Netbooks are so yesterday's technology. Shipments of the small, not-so-cheap computers plunged during 2011 by 25 per cent, figures from market watcher Canalys show.

The decline worsened during the year, with year-on-year shipments down more than 32 per cent during the final quarter of 2011.

All other PC categories experienced growth during the year, Canalys said. Even desktop computers, for which shipments were 2.3 per cent higher in 2011 than they were during 2010.

Notebook shipments were up 7.5 per cent year on year, but it was tablets that really took off: shipments shot up 274.2 per cent.

That lifted client personal computer shipments as a whole 14.8 per cent, Canalys' numbers show.

Some 63.2m tablets shipped in 2011, just behind the 112.4m desktops but some way away from the 209.6m notebooks pumped out of factories during the year.

So while chip maker Intel may be concerned about the growth of tablets, there's no real indication the category is about to outsell laptops, one of the markets it dominates. Intel is, of course, more worried by tablets' use of ARM chips rather than its own.

A bigger concern for the chip giant is the rise of the smartphone, all of which are powered by ARM chips too. Some 487.7m of them shipped in 2011 - 17.6 per cent more than the 414.6m client PCs, as Canalys measures them.

Chuck in the tablets with all those smartphones and that's more than half a billion client computing devices shipped during 2011 with ARM on board. Intel has to make do with whatever's left out of the remaining 351.4m desktop and mobile PCs after AMD has eked its small share.

Thank goodness for all those data centre server sales, eh, Chipzilla? ®

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