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Tablets, touchscreen computers to power mobile PC market

Tablets, touchscreen computers

Tablets and touchscreens will provide a huge helping hand to the PC industry in the coming years, says NPD DisplaySearch.

Shipments of mobile PC are forecast to reach 762.7 million globally by 2017, up from 367.6 million last year, according to NPD’s “DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report” released today. Most of that growth will come about as tablets replace traditional notebooks as the dominant device and touchscreens wend their way to more notebooks.

“The mobile PC industry is undergoing significant change this year,” NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim said in a statement. “The rapid rise and establishment of white box tablet PCs (tablets made by small local brands, mainly in China) is putting pressure on traditional notebook PCs. These low-cost tablets are reaching further into emerging regions where notebook PC penetration rates have remained low, resulting in cannibalization by tablet PCs.”

Tablet shipments are projected to hit 579.4 million by 2017 from 256.5 million this year. Notebook shipments are likely to drop to 183.3 million in 2017 from 203.3 million in 2013, a 10 percent decline. But shipments of touch-enabled notebooks will surge by 48 percent from this year to next year.

Touchscreens will be found mainly in ultraslim notebooks, such as the MacBook Air, according to the report. Ultraslims now account for around 66 percent of all touch-enabled notebooks. But that number will shoot up to 80 percent by 2017. Intel has stated that any ultrabook powered by its new Haswell processor must include a touchscreen.

Microsoft has geared Windows 8 toward touchscreen devices as well as traditional PCs. But the latest version of Windows won’t play a big role in convincing consumers to go touchscreen, says NPD DisplaySearch. Rather, touchscreen demand will be driven by lower price tags and different types of devices, including hybrids, convertibles, and sliders.

“Thus far, Windows 8 has had a limited impact on driving touch adoption in notebook PCs, due to a lack of applications needing touch and the high cost of touch on notebook PCs,” Shim said. “Form factors aimed at differentiation from standard clamshell notebooks will help to drive consumer adoption of touch-enabled notebook PCs, starting in the second half of 2013.”