Despite turbulent economic conditions, mobile computing continues to see surging demand resulting from more advanced designs, new form factors and pent-up business demand, according to research by IT market analysis firm In-Stat. The report projected mobile computing devices, including tablets, mini-notes (netbooks and smartbooks) and notebook PCs would grow at a 19.1 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) through 2014 and account for more than 400 million units.
Research by In-Stat, documented in the company's "3Q10 Computing Forecasts: Desktops, Notebooks, Netbooks, and MIDs/Tablets" report, projected tablets would record the highest CAGR of 123.6 percent through 2014. Notebook shipments would reach 291 million units in 2014 and account for 52 percent of the computing market, according to their research. In-Stat predicted Asia Pacific would lead all regions in growth, surpassing 36 percent of the total market in 2014.
"While there will be a battle for the lower-end Internet-centric devices like tablets and netbooks, notebooks will continue to be the overall demand driver as consumers focus on lighter and lower-cost PCs and businesses continue to transition to mainstream and high-performance mobile platforms," said Jim McGregor, the company's chief technology strategist. "In addition, demand for mobile computing is coming from both developing and industrialized regions."
The report covers the worldwide market for desktop computing devices across six regions and includes shipment, growth and segmentation forecasts for desktop PCs, mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and tablets, mini-notes (netbooks, smartbooks, and UMPCs) and notebook PCs. The research is part of In-Stat's Mobile & Computing Devices service, which provides analysis and forecasts of the market for mobile communications and computing devices, including cell phones, smartphones, MIDs, tablets, mini-notes/netbooks and notebooks.
Other recent reports from research firms such as IDC and UBS Investment Research note that tablet devices could be the wild card in worldwide computing sales, as devices such as Apple's iPad tablet and recently announced competing devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Toshiba Folio 100 tablets bite into the market share of notebooks and netbooks. A UBS research note projected Apple could sell 28 million iPads in 2011, which would in turn affect sales of lower-end PCs.
"Sales of traditional notebooks appear to be feeling pressure from the iPad, causing a scramble by vendors to launch iPad-like tablets," UBS Investment Research analyst Maynard Um wrote in the note. "We believe that a majority of this impact is occurring on the lower end of PC sales as the iPad is priced close enough to this range that it becomes attractive to consumers looking to make purchases within this segment."
In May, IDC projected worldwide media tablet shipments would grow from 7.6 million units in 2010 to more than 46 million units in 2014, representing a compound annual growth rate of 57.4 percent. IDC defines media tablets as tablet form factor devices with 7-12-in. color displays. In comparison, IDC expected 398 million portable PCs would be shipped in 2014.