Portables such as ultrathin mobiles and WiMAX-enabled machines will account for more than 60% of all PC shipments, researcher predicts.
The drop in PC prices that consumers and businesses enjoyed in 2009 will slow dramatically this year, as sales pick up during the improving economy, a market research firm predicted Monday.
That will lead to the emergence and adoption of PCs in alternative form factors to the familar laptop and netbook.
Research firm IDC forecasts that current low prices established during the economic downturn will make it more likely that PC buyers will be willing to experiment with new types of PCs, such as ultra-thin portables and all-in-one desktops.
"We're expecting consumer and commercial PC buyers alike to be more experimental with new types of PCs, especially because of their lower price points," IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell said in a statement.
The steady decline in average selling prices last year will "slow dramatically," as a result of stronger demand in the commercial and cusumer markets, IDC said. With demand rising, it is "less likely that the market will aggressively lower ASPs to spur growth."
Other 2010 IDC predictions for the PC market include:
Apple's iPad tablet, set for release April 3, will not spur increased sales of Windows-based tablet PCs. While such products from vendors, such as Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, are likely to garner interest, the number of shipments will remain low.
Touch-enabled portable and desktop PCs are unlikely to gain much traction in the marketplace, despite the popularity of touch-enabled smartphones, such as Apple's iPhone.
"Without compelling touch-specific software, consumers aren't likely to buy touch-enabled PCs in large quantities," IDC said in releasing its top 10 predictions for 2010. "In turn, application developers will hold back until a larger installed base is available."
IDC also sees drastically slower growth in netbooks, the inexpensive mini-laptops that drove shipment growth in the PC market last year. Declining prices for other portable PCs, along with the fact that netbooks offer less functionality, will translate into netbook shipment growth falling below that of the mobile PC market as a whole, the researcher said.
More IDC predictions:
Ultra-thin laptopswill make up less than 5% of portable PC shipments, because the value of the systems will not be compelling enough to drive significant growth.
Shipments of portable PCs with WiMAXembedded will surpass shipments of laptops with 3G cellular embedded. While activation rates of 3G-enabled PCs will be higher than WiMAX laptops, the foundation is being laid for future adoption of the wireless broadband technology, IDC said.
All-in-one desktops will double in market share to nearly 10% of the worldwide desktop market, driven by stronger sales to consumers and businesses.
Six in 10 PC shipments will be mobile PCs.
One in 10 of new enterprise desktop client deployments will be virtual. This will stem from businesses' willingness to experiment with new computing models, as the economy improves.
The DVD will remain the dominant optical drive in PCs. The technology is "good enough" from both a price and picture quality standpoint to prevent being displaced by more expensive Blu-ray.
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