Mobile PC Shipments Up 43 Percent in Q1: Gartner

The mobile PC market saw its strongest growth rate in eight years, according to a new report from Gartner, which expects the enterprise refresh cycle to continue to grow. While tablets, like the Apple iPad and Dell Streak, aren't direct competitors, Gartner is keeping an eye on how they may future affect the market in the future.

The worldwide mobile PC market enjoyed its strongest year-over-year-growth rate in eight years, Gartner reported May 25, posting final numbers for the first quarter of 2010.
Encouraged predominantly by consumer segments, the market shipped 49.4 million units during the quarter - representing a 43 percent increase over the first quarter of 2009.
In more good news for the segment, Gartner saw an uptick in enterprise spending, and expects to see additional growth in professional spending toward the end of 2010 and into 2011, as a larger refresh cycle gets underway.
"Mini-notebook PCs were a big part of the bump in mobile PC shipments in the first quarter of 2010, with shipments growing 71 percent over the same period last year," Mikako Kitagawa, a Gartner principal analyst, wrote in the report. "However, mini-notebooks' share slowed in some regions as consumers begin to understand the limitations of mini-notebooks, especially in the face of aggressive price cuts of regular notebooks."
As the professional market grows, the ASP (average selling price) of mobile PCs is expected to stabilize, Gartner reported, which should result in slightly higher ASPs, compared to consumer mobile PCs.
Kitagawa added, "The [ASP] of mobile PCs was $732 in the first quarter of 2010, a 15.7 percent decline from the first quarter of 2009, when the ASP was $868."
Hewlett-Packard was again the top-selling vendor in the space, capturing 19.2 percent of the market - though HP and Dell, which came in third, with 18.5 percent market share, down from 12.4 percent a year earlier, were the only two vendors in the top five to show growth below the industry average. HP's market share was down from 22.3 percent during the first quarter of 2009.
Second-place Acer shipped 9.2 million units during the quarter, to capture 18.5 percent market share, which was up from 17.9 percent a year earlier, while fourth-place Toshiba shipped 4.6 million units, for 9.3 percent market share. Asus, in fifth position, shipped 4.3 million units, experiencing 112 percent year-on-year growth and a market share jump from 5.9 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to 8.8 percent in the first of 2010.
Asus and Acer, which saw 48 percent growth, showed the strongest growth among the top competitors, a feat Gartner attributed to sales in the low-end consumer market.
Estimating that there are currently 500 million mobile PCs in use worldwide, the research firm said it is keeping an eye on the affects of not-quite-competitors such as smartphones and media tablets, like the Apple iPad and Dell's newly launched Streak. While not direct replacements for mobile PCs, Gartner analysts are monitoring the ways in which consumers and businesses are using them.
"The top applications that are downloaded will tell a lot about how these devices could displace some mobile PC sales in the future," states the report.
Among iPad users, for example, productivity apps for number-crunching, work processing and file sharing have proven popular.