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iPad To Boost Mobile PC Sales

An interest in mini-notebooks and slate computers will drive 2010 portable PC sales, researcher says.



iPad teardown shot, via the FCC.
(Click for larger image and for all 17 iPad teardown photos. )
The Apple iPad and slate-style computers from other manufacturers are expected to help the overall portable computer market surge to almost 215 million units this year, a market researcher said Monday.

Global revenue from mobile computers overall is expected to increase 6.4% this year to $116.9 billion from $109.8 billion in 2009, according to DisplaySearch. Unit sales are expected to rise 25.7% to 214.6 million units from 170.7 million units in 2009.

Also contributing to DisplaySearch's projected year-over-year growth in mobile computers in 2010 is higher sales to businesses, which delayed spending on replacements laptops last year because of the recession.

Mini-notebooks and slate computers will be the fastest growing segment, rising 28.5% in unit sales to 43.8 million units this year from 34.1 million in 2009, DisplaySearch predicted. Revenue will increase 15.6% to $13.4 billion from $11.6 billion.

The iPad and other tablets are expected to take some market share from netbooks, mini-laptops with screen sizes of 10 inches or less, as well as electronic readers, the research firm said. In addition, the majority of slate sales are expected to occur in North America and Western Europe, due in large part to Apple's distribution plans for the iPad and agreements with booksellers and other content providers.

The projected revenue growth from mobile computers this year is based on DisplaySearch's expectations of strong growth in shipments and less erosion of average selling prices. The iPad, which is expected to make up the bulk of slate shipments this year, has an ASP that starts at $499, increasing to $829, depending on the model.

The higher prices for slates in general are expected to offset netbook prices, which are as low as $300.

"We expect that, like Apple’s iPad, slates from other brands will be positioned as content consumption and manipulation devices, and the necessity of focusing on industrial design and features will result in ASPs that are higher than those of mini-notes,” John Jacobs, director of notebook market research, said in a statement.

Apple released the iPad Saturday and sold more than 300,000 units in the United States the first days, according to the company. iPad users downloaded more than 1 million apps from its App Store and more than 250,000 e-books from the company's new iBookstore.

Apple is expected to sell 7.1 million iPads worldwide in 2010, according to iSuppli.

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