Notebook sales starting to show signs of renewed life
It's probably a bit premature to celebrate the return of booming notebook sales, but at least for one quarter, laptop shipments have given vendors reason to be optimistic. Mobile PC shipments around the world climbed to 47.9 million units in the third quarter of 2013, up 6 percent sequentially. In better times, single-digit percentage gains wouldn't elicit excitement, but in this case, that 6 percent spike represents the largest sequential growth in two years.
That's encouraging, but lest anyone get drunk on the success of notebooks last quarter, IHS provides some sobering insight by pointing out the market has now shrunk for five consecutive quarters on a year-over-year basis.
"Amid the onslaught of tablets, the notebook PC market now is desperately seeking any reason for optimism—and the sequential growth in the third quarter is offering a ray of hope," said Craig Stice, senior principal analyst, compute platforms for IHS. "However, even with a respite from the sequential decline and a few other hopeful developments, the mobile PC business is still on track to decline for the full year of 2013. This means the notebook market will contract for the second consecutive year, a proposition that once would have been unthinkable for the formerly high-flying mobile PC business."
Casting aside the wet blanket, there are reasons to remain optimistic. For one, Intel is about to release Bay Trail, which will lead to faster Ultrabooks with longer battery life. AMD has a new line of processors around the corner as well. In addition, Microsoft is finally dropping support for Windows XP in April 2014, a move that should lead to a refresh cycle in the commercial sector.