Tablet shipments will eclipse those of notebooks in just four years time, according to new research, as Apple's iPad leads a slate storm that will overshadow traditional mobile computing. While the mobile market as a whole is expected to more than double by 2017, NPD DisplaySearch claims, that growth will be disproportionately driven by tablet sales, shipments of which are tipped to more than triple.
The research team suggests that notebook shipments will grow from 208m units this year to an estimated 393m units in 2017. Meanwhile, tablet shipments will grow from 121m this year to 416m units in the same period, with particular interest from the so-called "mature markets" of North America, Japan and Western Europe which are already showing traditional computing saturation.
"While the lines between tablet and notebook PCs are blurring, we expect mature markets to be the primary regions for tablet PC adoption" NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim says. "New entrants are tending to launch their initial products in mature markets. Services and infrastructure needed to create compelling new usage models are often better established in mature markets."
Overall, the mobile PC market will grow from 347m units this year to in excess of 809m units by 2017. Tablet shipments will overtake those of notebooks sometime in 2016, it's predicted.