The rise of media tablets has inadvertently overshadowed the trusty notebook we have all come to fondly know and rely upon for our daily computing needs. The launch of the iPad a year ago has taken the media limelight, end-user mindshare and even wallet share away from notebooks. But, that does not mean notebooks are out of the picture as yet.
Despite the high saturation and maturity of the PC market, a strong supply-side push from vendors is keeping the market thriving. IDC forecasts the Australian notebook PC market to continue to grow 10 per cent year-over-year in 2011.
Over the past six to 12 months, there has been a string of innovative devices entering the market. They include touch screen notebooks (such as the Acer Iconia), hybrid devices with detachable screens that double as a tablet (Acer Iconia Tab, Asus EeePad Transformer), convertible tablet PCs with flip hinge designs (Dell Inspiron Duo) and more recently, Chromebooks powered by Google’s Chrome OS.
While the emergence of these devices will help draw attention back to the clamshell form factor, IDC expects demand for these devices to remain niche due to their ambiguous value proposition.
That said, as the mobile computing trend intensifies, the need for lighter, thinner and longer battery life notebooks is expected to fuel demand for notebooks.
The introduction of Apple’s Macbook Air has sparked a new generation of thin and light notebooks which further compelled other vendors to release similar versions such as Samsung Series 9, Lenovo X1, Asus UX21 and Toshiba Portege R830. In fact, IDC has recorded a shift of interest from mini-notebooks back to traditional notebooks as the former starts to lose its appeal driven in part by vendors’ aggressive pricing strategies narrowing the price gap. It is apparent that the need for greater flexibility and mobility in end-user computing will be the main driver of growth in the notebooks market as we transition from a desk-based to a mobile workforce in 2011 and beyond.
- 2011 Notebook Trends by IDC Australia PC market analyst, Amy Cheah