Detachable tablets could replace notebooks: report

PORTABLE FUTURE::As the world of personal computing becomes increasingly mobile, a number of global firms are competing for hardware and software market share

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 - Page 14

Detachable tablet computers will become popular next year and gradually replace smaller notebook computers, as they provide more mobility and run on application-centered operating systems, a local research house said.

“There is a likelihood that notebook computers will gradually be replaced by two or three-in-one tablets in the future, since most tablets are becoming multifunctional and detachable with optional docks or smartphones,” Digitimes Research senior analyst Joanne Chien (簡佩萍) said in an interview.

“As more PC manufacturers provide tablets supported by Apple Inc, Google Inc or Microsoft Corp’s operating systems, it offers users a wider choice of applications than notebook computers, benefiting both businesses and individuals,” Chien said.

In addition, detachable tablet computer’s portable features differentiate them from notebook computers, which are usually designed for larger screen sizes between 13 inches to 15 inches and are heavier, she added.

Digitimes Research estimated that global notebook shipments will decline by 1.4 percent from 192 million units this year to 189 million units next year, according to its report.

However, tablet computers and smartphones will have a 10 percent growth rate next year and more than 90 percent of mobile devices will run on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, while less than 10 percent will be powered by Microsoft’s Windows RT or Windows 8 operating systems, the report said.

Digitimes Research said notebook computers that are smaller in size will gradually be replaced by touch-screen tablets with seven-inch to 11-inch screens, while upcoming notebook computers will all be equipped with touch-screen panels and be moderately priced, similar to tablet computers.

“Though it costs more for manufacturers to provide notebooks with touch-screen panels, they will still add the feature to their new products to make them more appealing to customers, who still have a need for notebook computers,” Chien said by telephone.

Despite tablets being preferable in terms of portability and being easily detachable, desktop and notebook computers will still have their market shares, especially in emerging markets, where demand for high-end software and hardware are relatively lower than that in more advanced countries, she said.

This year, US-based Hewlett-Packard Co is expected to lead the global notebook market with a 16.5 percent share, while China’s Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) will grab 15.4 percent, followed by Acer Inc’s (宏碁) 12.6 percent and Asustek Computer Inc’s (華碩) 10.2 percent, Digitimes Research forecast.

Next year, Lenovo will become the No.1 notebook manufacturer holding 16.7 percent of market share, followed by HP with 16.2 percent and Asustek with 11.2 percent, the report said.