Notebooks fly past desktops in consumer PC sales

The writing has been on the wall for years concerning the rise of the notebook computer. Notebooks were once relegated to business professionals and the upwardly mobile types that didn't mind paying $1,000 USD or more to “cut the cord.”

However, Intel's Centrino campaign coupled with lower component prices have allowed the notebook market to blossom. Society's craving for wireless Internet access anywhere and a shrinking performance gap between desktops and notebooks have finally allowed the former to rise to the top in consumer PC sales.

Notebooks for the first time outsold desktops during 2007 for the consumer market. Online retailer reinforced the dominance of the notebook with its sales stats for the holiday season – 16 of its top-selling PCs during the holiday season were notebooks.

While consumers are quickly adopting notebooks to replace desktops, corporations are also making the switch – albeit at a slower pace. For this reason, notebooks still trail desktops slightly in overall PC marketshare.

Notebook sales increased to 31.6 million units during 2007 (a rise of 21 percent) while desktop sales dipped to 35 million units (a fall of 4 percent) for the overall PC market. Notebooks are expected to gain momentum in the coming years and are projected to reach 66 percent overall PC marketshare (71 percent for consumers) by 2011.

Consumers have been quick to snap up current bargain-basement 15.4” notebooks which can often be had for $399 to $499 at retailers like Staples, Best Buy and Circuit City – often without rebates attached. While these cheap desktop alternatives often come with integrated graphics, Celeron-M or Pentium Dual Core processors and usually 1GB of memory, their specs are more than enough to browse the Internet and plow through productivity applications.

Manufacturers like ASUS have also opened the floodgates at even lower price points with the Eee PC. The Eee PC starts at $299 for a model with a 630MHz Celeron-M processor, 512MB of RAM and a 2GB solid-state drive (SSD). The meager specifications for the Eee PC family haven't stopped consumers from snatching the sub-notebooks up at a record pace and ASUS is projecting to sell 3.8 million of the devices during 2008.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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