In just four years, your laptop could be looking rather outdated, as the sales of notebook computers are expected to fall short – very short – of tablet PC sales before the end of the decade.
A forecast report from NPD DisplaySearch says laptop shipments are expected to hit 393 million units by 2017, while exponential tablet progress will see 121 million shipments this year rising to 416 million by 2017.
Tablet growth will get a push from growing popularity in what NPD called mature markets – North America, Japan, and Western Europe, which will account for 66 per cent of shipments this year, and remain in the 60 per cent range through 2017.
NPD DisplaySearch senior analyst Richard Shim said that while the lines between tablet and notebook PCs are blurring, consumer preference for mobile computing devices is shifting in the direction of slimmer, sleeker tablets.
As tablet technology advances, so will the machines' features, bringing instant-on capabilities, long battery life, and extreme portability, along with multi-core processors, stable operating systems, growing app libraries, and high-resolution displays, DisplaySearch said.
Still, laptops are expected to remain a large segment of the mobile PC market, accounting for almost 50 per cent of the market by 2017.
Overall mobile PC shipments, including notebooks, mini notebooks and tablets, are expected to grow from 347 million units this year, to more than 809 million by 2017, NPD reported.
The data is in line with a similar DisplaySearch report from May.
In February, Apple chief Tim Cook reiterated that tablets will one day outsell PCs. That same month, IDC reported that the smartphone market eclipsed the PC market in terms of sales during the previous quarter for the first time.