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Demand for tablet PC’s is ripping into sales of notebooks with the new category growing by 256 per cent in 2011 to nearly 73 million units.

Tablet sales now account for a quarter of all mobile PC sales, according to the latest research from market research firm NPD DisplaySearch.

In bad news for Intel NPD analysts said that ultrabooks will not make a significant impact on the market for the next couple of years, due to their high price tag and possibly supply limitations affecting the production of ultra-thin displays.

Late last year at the Acer Ultrabook launch Intel executives bragged that Ultrabooks will capture 40% of the market by the end of 2012.

NPD research reveals that 72.7m tablets were shipped in 2011, to give the category a 25.5 per cent share of all mobile PC shipments.

Overall mobile PC sales figures stood at 285.4 million units for 2011, which is a year-on-year increase of 31 per cent.

The research Company has  lowered its notebook PC shipment forecast for 2011 from 188m to 187.5m units, they are likely to bounce back this year to provide stronger competition for tablets.

“In the short term, tablet PCs will be the growth accelerant in the overall mobile PC market, as macroeconomic factors and hard drive motor supply issues impact the market for notebook PCs,” said Richard Shim, senior analyst at NPD DisplaySearch.

By 2017, notebook PC shipments are forecast to reach 432 million units, and tablet PC shipments are projected to reach 383.3 million units, driven by more mature operating systems, a wider selection of apps, increasingly powerful multi-core processors and higher resolution displays, the analyst said.

The past 12 months have certainly seen a maturation in a tablet market still dominated by Apple’s iPad 2, with rival Android devices led by Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 making up some ground while those late to the game like HP and RIM struggled to make an impact.

Looking ahead, 2012 is likely to see more legal fisticuffs between Samsung and Apple, a big buzz around the forthcoming tablet-friendly Windows 8 OS and, most probably, the long-awaited iPad 3.

 Notebook PC shipments in 2011 are now expected to reach 187.5 million units, up 12% Y/Y, but slightly less than the previous forecast of 188 million. Mini-note PC shipments are expected to reach 25.2 million units, up 20% Y/Y. Overall mobile PC shipments in 2011 are projected to reach 285.4 million units, up 31% Y/Y.

“In the short term, tablet PCs will be the growth accelerant in the overall mobile PC market, as macroeconomic factors and hard drive motor supply issues impact the market for notebook PCs,” said Richard Shim, Senior Analyst at NPD DisplaySearch. “In the longer term, notebook PC shipments will bounce back as ASPs continue to decline, Windows 8 launches, and new form factors, such as ultrabooks, continue to emerge.”

 

By 2017, notebook PC shipments are forecast to reach 432 million units, and tablet PC shipments are projected to reach 383.3 million units. Ultrabooks are an emerging form factor that is expected to contribute to demand in later years of the forecast. Demand for ultrabooks will be driven by consumer interest in sleek design and convenience like instant-on and long battery life. For the next two years, the premium price points of Ultrabooks will temper demand, and there may be some supply limitations in production of displays thin enough for Ultrabooks.”

Tablet PC shipments will be driven by increasingly powerful multi-core processors, mature operating systems, growing application libraries, and higher resolution panels. NPD DisplaySearch forecasts that tablet PCs with 250 to 300 pixel per inch panels will make up nearly 25% of shipments in 2012.

The updated forecast also points to the following:


· Mobile PC shipments into emerging regions are growing, with 2011 shipments projected to be 138 million units, up 48% Y/Y, and increasing to 452.8 million by 2017. Mobile PC shipments into mature regions are estimated to reach 147.5 million units in 2011 and grow to 371.6 million units by 2017.


· Mobile PC shipments will be up in late 2012 and 2013 with the introduction of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system and new mobile processors from Intel

 

 

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