For the past few years, we've seen the rise of the notebook
computer. The variety in the market has begun to expand, we've seen
specifications that more favorably compare with their desktop brethren and
we've seen prices come down to reasonable levels in the past year. You can
often times find bargain-basement Compaq and HP notebooks going for around $400
after rebate in your local sales fliers or online -- granted these models
typically come with 512MB of RAM and a Celeron processor, but it's enough to
suit the needs of basic users.
While notebooks have been on the move in record numbers,
desktop have been the bread and butter for most business customers due to
pricing advantages. It looks as though 2007 may change all of that and major PC
vendors like Dell and Hewlett-Packard will see notebooks as their dominant
revenue generator for PCs rather than desktops. eWeek
the end of 2006, the estimated percentage of revenue for companies from
desktops will be 47 percent, compared to 41.6 percent for notebooks. For 2007,
the numbers will nearly flip, with 45.6 percent of revenue coming from
notebooks and 43.1 percent from desktops, according to Farmer's estimates.
Later, in 2008, notebooks will represent nearly 50 percent of revenue, while
desktops will produce only about 40 percent of revenue.
The increase in revenue from notebook sales partly comes
from the higher transaction prices. Whereas the average desktop computer in
2007 is expected to cost $767, the average notebook will cost nearly $1,100.
However, higher pricing is not the only reason for the
shift. Over the past six years, sales of notebook computers have skyrocketed.
The sales mix for notebook computers has nearly doubled from 18.7% in 2000 to
36% in 2006. That number is expected to grow to 44% in 2008.
Analysts are predicting that by the end of 2007, notebooks
shipments will outpace desktop shipments in North America, Europe and
Australia. Higher shipments coupled with higher transaction prices will be a
big boon for companies like Dell and HP. HP has seen its revenue from notebooks
increase by 24% for the fourth quarter. In comparison, desktop revenue has
remained flat. Likewise, Dell has seen a 17% increase in revenue for notebooks
and only a 5% increase for desktops.
There will, however, always be a place in the market for
desktops. The enterprise market still heavily favors desktops and the lower
transaction prices still entice many.
That being said, notebooks are a hot item these days and
show no signs of slowdown. "I agree that there has been a real shift
toward mobile computing and that shift really started in 2002. You have had a
broadening of wireless Internet hotspots and that there has also been a group
of professionals who have really turned to mobile computing. If the 1990s were
the decade of the cell phone, then I think we are now in the decade of the
notebook. In public spaces, from airports to hockey rinks, you see people
typing away," said Charles King of Pund-IT Research.