Those of us that follow trends in the global consumer electronics market knew that this day would come. Media Tablets will overtake Notebook PCs as the largest mobile computing category this year, according to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research.
Tablets, now viewed by many analysts to be in direct competition with all forms of notebook PCs, will gain a 52 percent majority share of the mobile computing market by the end of 2015.
ABI Research forecasts the flat overall growth of the notebook PC segment, due to longer replacement cycles and device competition, causing notebook devices to drop from 51 percent market share in 2013 to 48 percent in 2015.
Moreover, the current downward trend will continue beyond this year. Notebook PC market share is forecast to decline again to 47% by year-end 2016.
Although some tablets are competing for share of wallet with notebook PCs, most tablets serve a niche that emphasizes portability and connectivity to the Internet -- where the common computing resources and information repositories reside.
Cloud Computing Fuels Market Segmentation
"Notebooks offer a combination of portability and productivity that has yet to be achieved by any other portable mobile computing device," said Stephanie Van Vactor, research analyst at ABI Research.
However, while tablets are still very popular -- in both the consumer and enterprise sector -- the adoption rate is beginning to slow, which demonstrates that these devices do not serve the same purpose as the more capable notebook PCs.
According to the ABI assessment, Chromebooks (at the lowest price point) and Ultrabooks (at the highest price point) are experiencing demand in the market and are forecast to reach a combined growth of 47 percent for the calendar year 2015.
That said, the ongoing shift to cloud computing -- and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) in particular -- will continue to drive further market segmentation, where a limited number of use-cases require the application software to run on a notebook PC.
Low-cost, purpose-built, mobile devices -- such as Google Chromebooks and Android tablets -- take advantage of the pervasive trends, by giving the device end-user the best value for their common computing needs.
Both devices apply open-source models to achieve their goals of enabling affordable and efficient mainstream personal computing advancements. It has become crystal clear, a community-powered approach to develop new hardware and software solutions is the forward-thinking methodology for progressive market development.