The onward march of notebooks has been complemented by much more powerful machines in recent years. So much so that companies have looked to the devices as a potential replacement to the old and now humble desktop. JULIA TALEVSKI reports.
In recent days, the notebook has played a dominant role when it comes to the way companies conduct business and encourage more productivity among employees. New features and technological enhancements around longer battery life, wireless connectivity, bigger screens and lighter machines have all contributed to making the notebook a more attractive alternative to the humble desktop.
For the first time last year, notebook sales outstripped desktops, representing 50.3 per cent of all shipments, mainly boosted by mini notebook machines, according to IDC figures.
And while many vendors still say the desktop is not dead and indicate they continue to play a prominent role in the corporate environment, a recent Gartner claimed the PC industry will suffer badly this year; the market has already experienced a decline of almost 12 per cent, down to 275 million units.
The analyst firm is predicting desktop shipments will tumble by as much as 31.9 per cent. On the other hand, notebooks will experience a nine per cent increase from 2008, predominantly due to the new netbook category. But even when discounting that segment, it will see a steady 2.7 per cent rise.
The Gartner report claimed the desktop decline was due to people prolonging their desktop’s longevity during the poor economic times. It estimated users were holding on to their PCs for approximately fi ve years while notebook owners keep their devices for three years – the shorter time frame attributed to issues around dropping the device and breakage.
According to IDC PC analyst, Felipe Rego, the desktop has become a niche market sale with vendors trying to modify the category by pushing an all-in-one desktop concept featuring touchscreen technology.
“It doesn’t mean the desktop market is going to disappear as a lot of people are saying. All-in-one desktops are trying to revamp the category,” he said. “High-end notebooks have started to present a threat and the performance compared to the price is becoming more attractive and so is the issue of portability.” As the IDC shipment figures quoted above indicate, the mobility factor has stimulated an uptake in notebooks. However, Rego claimed there was still a perception notebooks are a more costly deployment over the desktop. “Because it is more mobile you can break it more easily than a desktop, which is just stationary, but the ability to take your notebook with you and the portability that brings compared to the desktop, is better option for some so that’s why we’re seeing a lot of notebook deployments.”