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Laptops finally overtake desktop computers

Global laptop shipments surpassed desktops in the third quarter, marking the first time mobile PCs have led the market, a research firm said Tuesday.Laptop shipments rose by nearly 40% in the quarter compared with the same period last year to reach 38.6 million units, according to iSuppli. Desktop shipments, on the other hand, dropped by 1.3% to 38.5 million units. While the scale of the global economic downturn became apparent in the third quarter, the impact had yet to be felt in the worldwide PC market, which saw an overall increase of 15.4% to 79 million units. ISuppli had predicted a 12% growth rate. There was no change in the rankings of the top five PC makers in terms of shipments. Hewlett-Packard led the market with an 18.8% share, followed by Dell, 13.9%; Acer, 12.2%; Lenovo, 7.5%; and Toshiba, 4.6%.

Acer had an exceptional quarter. Shipments soared 79% year over year. The company shipped almost 3 million more laptops than in the second quarter, with most of those systems being netbooks. The fast-growing netbook category is defined as ultralight, ultraportable PCs with screen sizes of 10 inches or less. Prices are often as low as $300. Outside of the top five, No. 7 Apple lost nearly half a point of market share from the second quarter, falling to 3.2%, iSuppli said. Asustek surpassed Lenovo to become the fifth-largest laptop maker. Asustek was No. 6 in the overall market.

Source: InfoWeek


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  1. over9000
    December 24th, 2008 | 10:02

    portability and competitive pricing ftw!

    (inb4 linux users telling us about linux even though it’s not mentioned in the article, and boring us all to death)

  2. Respect-My-Authority
    December 24th, 2008 | 10:35

    This all depends…when they go by how many Desktop shipments they obviously don’t include custom built rigs, and I think that’s a big part in it. So many more people are getting in to building their own rigs that they don’t buy desktop’s anymore, so that’s probably the reason for laptop’s surpassing them. I mean, I know laptop’s are nice, and you can’t beat portability, but probably a large portion of the desktop pc’s users are gamers, and a large portion of that portion build their own rigs, and they would never be able to game on a laptop like they would a desktop.

  3. t94xr
    December 24th, 2008 | 11:04

    there needs to be a distinction, Netbooks are considered Laptops on those figures.
    Take away netbooks and laptops will be normal, netbooks will have been the thing that put it over the norm…

    Acer had a great year because they were the first to bring out the EeePC netbook, before anyone else got in.
    I know for a fact there was a bulkload of those that were sold!

  4. M
    December 24th, 2008 | 11:26

    That happened in 2006 in Norway ^^.
    Welcome to our portable party, the world!

  5. tt334
    December 24th, 2008 | 11:29

    eee is asus.

    acer has its own netbook one.

    i agree with #2 – desktop pcs won’t die out – perhaps we’ll start seeing smaller form factor desktop pc’s – but the versatility of a desktop and the ability to upgrade means that desktops are not a declining segment.

    with sata and new easier motherboards – putting together a pc is becoming child’s play. out of my last 5 desktops – i’ve built all of them myself – and gone are the days of jumpers – incorrect cable order – millions of drivers.

    its getting almost to the stage of true plug-and-play.

    that is why people are opting for components rather than finished boxed pcs.

    one thing i do get from the figures – is that the apple market share is shrinking… good riddance.

  6. OFI
    December 24th, 2008 | 11:44

    This was bound to happen with laptops now at a minimal cost and with hardware far more than capable of doing anything the average consumer wants to do. Most people I know have done away with the desktop.

    Bought myself my Acer only a few months back :-D When at home it’s used as a desktop PC anyway with monitor, keyboard, mouse etc
    Desktops only really have the advantage for pro editting and hardcore gaming. With more and more moving to consoles the latter will only reduce.

  7. Ddd
    December 24th, 2008 | 11:45

    Portable Gaming are inn :D

    But only for those that have saved about 3000-4000 dollars tough.

    Yeah thats right its possible to get a portable Gaming Laptop with 9800GTX

  8. DDS
    December 24th, 2008 | 13:12

    I don’t think custom builds are counted. Many people build their own desktops these days, (one of the reasons is that many branded desktop builders like to save cash by using cheaper parts in and you can’t upgrade your PC yourself without voiding the warranty).
    Desktop PCs are mostly used by hardcore gamers and people, who need PC only at home. For gaming, PC will always be the best platform. Because a rig built using newer hardware can produce far better graphics than any console in the market. (however, it will cost less to buy a console than a high or near high-end PC).
    Laptops are useful for those, who like to have their computer everywhere they go. But most people nowdays buy laptops prebuilt instead of building their own. That’s why they overtake desktops.

    December 24th, 2008 | 13:20

    This means death for the desktop very soon. With the advances in laptops, they even out preform the best gaming PC’s in a much smaller more efficient package. Once Linux has better gaming capabilities, it will be the death of tower PCs.

  10. someonebored
    December 24th, 2008 | 13:24

    everyone has a desktop comp and are now getting laptops thats why its higher

  11. bon
    December 24th, 2008 | 13:39

    Please, gamers and custom builders are just a small fraction of desktops. It is only a niche market with companies selling faster graphics and processors every few months, telling you have to buy it or no games will work. Maybe you guys should go out in the real world some time.

    Majority desktop users and market are companies, offices and home users who doesn’t care about games and graphics. Every business, public offices, company, bank … small and big have thousands of desktops with each cubicle having one.

  12. Gniarf
    December 24th, 2008 | 13:55

    @9 LAPTOP:Err…nope laptops don’t outperform or even even the best gaming rigs. You can’t have an intel skulltrail (google for it if you don’t know what it is) in a laptop.

    On the other hand most people don’t need that much power: they just want to check their emails, browse websites, listen to mp3s & watch movies. Any lappy can do that, plus you gain mobility.

  13. Xyu
    December 24th, 2008 | 14:10

    Or, more people realized, that buying a complete computer is waste of money and start building computers themselves.

  14. LAPTOP
    December 24th, 2008 | 14:12

    @ 12

    Um, no. Alienware has gaming laptops that will easily out perform the skull trail. Only an !diot would buy that, becuase its overkill. No game can even support 4 cores, nevermind the 8 on the skull trail, so you have 6 unused cores. Waste of money, when the laptop with a faster c2d will match the same performance. Ive even seen benchmarks where dell gaming laptops out perform tri-sli setups, so your argument is flawed.

  15. Xyu
    December 24th, 2008 | 14:23

    No games exists that support 4 cores? What cave have you lived in, in a last 2 years? Most of the new games come with multicore support. In some of them even can be set to use NN number of cores out of the available onces.
    Get your facts straight

    December 24th, 2008 | 14:31

    Laptops suck big time. The one and only avantage is their mobility. That’s all. Everything else sucks. Even their mobility sucks unless you’re a student or somebody who changes working environment quickly. From ergonomics, comfort, productivity, to performance and quality. Playing games, watching movies or doing any work other than just writing (an essay or something like that) in Word on that tiny screen and crap performance is just silly.

  17. Desktops = Weak
    December 24th, 2008 | 14:36

    # 16

    are you still using a laptop from 1995 in 640×480 res? Todays laptops easily outperform 90% of desktops, with HD resolutions on their monitors.

  18. wickedfriends.org
    December 24th, 2008 | 14:51

    my toshiba is nearly two years old and is only outmatched by a FEW of the 3rd quarter highest selling desktop in terms of performance.

    toshiba is way ahead of the laptop curve but will never be at the top of sales due to their high prices. but toshiba ONLY makes laptops, you’d be stupid to not buy a toshiba when purchasing a laptop IMO.

    and building a rig is the only way to go for a desktop IMO, its getting cheaper and easier and the pride factor comes in a lot for me and my buddies when we spent an entire night piecing a hog together and boot it up for the first time.

    homemade PCs are the way to go for desktops, toshiba for laptops.

    i like my macbook air and iMacs too but just because they’re shiny. and my work bought them for me. :)

  19. not so serious
    December 24th, 2008 | 15:44

    whenever i’m hangin’, i’m holding on my lappy with 2 hands.

  20. Laptop user
    December 24th, 2008 | 15:51

    “Laptops suck big time. The one and only avantage is their mobility. That’s all. Everything else sucks.”

    Agreed. Buy a laptop, will still need a monitor, extra hd, usb hub, keyboard and mouse.
    So no point unless you really need to carry it around.
    And at least mine is noisier than my old pc was.

  21. Happy Holidays
    December 24th, 2008 | 16:19

    No one can seriously think that a laptop is better for anything else than “mobility”. Screen is SMALL (using 30″ 2560×1600 with desktop), keyboard is crap, you’ll need additional mouse etc. You will probably get decent gaming performance from high-end laptops but at a triple cost and try to buy laptop with RAID5, not possible.

  22. Novocain
    December 24th, 2008 | 16:43

    #2 respectmyauthority

    this study was not to include custom pc sales, they are talking about notebooks sold more than prebuilt and shipped pcs. not pc’s in general

    better yet
    LEARN TO UNDERSTAND before you jump the gun and start rambling about garbage that has no merit.

  23. arnold
    December 24th, 2008 | 17:58

    soon laptop craptop will be all over the place :)

  24. A.Bundy
    December 24th, 2008 | 18:00

    oh yeah, they are great for web browsing and email. until the idiot that bought it realizes thats pretty much all you can do with it. Wanna game? too bad. Wanna watch hidef movies? yeah right. Your looking at $1500 or more for those features which is probably less than 1% of those sales. drop in an SSD drive and your doubling the price.

  25. poopfaced
    December 24th, 2008 | 19:04

    Only cause nobody buys pre built desktops anymore


  26. noob
    December 24th, 2008 | 19:31

    ^ lol it’s pikachu!

  27. argh
    December 24th, 2008 | 19:39

    Actually the people who build their own desktops are a minority, and they are very experienced users.

    Laptops are the dominating market now, and in the future iphones will take the place of laptops.

    Voice command and touch screen are the future.

  28. R4wm
    December 24th, 2008 | 20:13

    i agree with that,… toshiba laptops and custom built pc’s are the way of the futch!

  29. thehun
    December 24th, 2008 | 20:17

    I’ll never buy a desktop again. My everex plays mostthe latest games is portable, plays movies awesome with the 17″ screen. built in wireless no more need to pay for the internet again.

  30. erok713
    December 24th, 2008 | 20:39

    I like to have a desktop and a laptop.

  31. NoNeed4AName
    December 24th, 2008 | 21:02

    Most peoples use there computers to surf + word…
    a netbook/laptop works just fine for that.
    Real deal HTPC builders (1080p) and gamers use desktop.
    But we are just waiting for the powerful laptops or a eeebox.

    most people drink Coca Cola, but the “real deal” drinks Jolt Cola =)

  32. ju bin
    December 24th, 2008 | 22:34

    even hardcore gamiers do not need desktops anymore. the best alienware laptops benchmark much higher than any gaming desktop that can be built the only drawback would be the smaller screen. but still i would never trade my gaming laptop it runs great.

  33. Gniarf
    December 24th, 2008 | 22:48

    @14 LAPTOP:
    “Alienware has gaming laptops that will easily out perform the skull trail”.
    Which? From what I see on their website, their best one is the m17x, and from what I can see, NONE of its components can even match skully’s. What did I miss?

    “Only an !diot would buy that, because its overkill.”
    I totaly agree, but same goes for the laptop that outpermforms it (if any).

    “No game can even support 4 cores,”
    Supcom can (I did it).

    “The laptop with a faster c2d will match the same performance.”
    Faster c2d? If you speak about frequency, that would be in the 3.2-4Ghz range. Which is something I yet have to see on a laptop (not counting overclocked configs ofc).

    “Ive even seen benchmarks where dell gaming laptops out perform tri-sli setups.”
    “even seen”…you problably looked for THE exception in a long list, but if not may I see those benchs?

    Now, do server farms use laptops? Can you put nitrogen cooling in a laptop (and overclock it like a madman)?

  34. Jon
    December 25th, 2008 | 15:14

    Some of you have been gaming far too long. The average person does not game (on a PC) but merely browse the web and check e-mail.

    Once laptops started decreasing in price it was a sign of change. Now that there are netbooks it’s just a bigger sign. Heck, laptop parts and chipsets are used to make extremely small desktops like the Dell Studio Hybrid. You can even add a Blu-Ray drive to it and it has a HDMI and S/PDIF output.