Although demand for notebooks remains strong, overall global PC demand in 2005 is expected to slow compared with last year, Gartner has predicted.
The analyst firm stated that worldwide PC shipments will total 199 million units in 2005, a nine per cent increase from 2004. In contrast PC shipments topped 183 million units in 2004, an 11.6 per cent increase over 2003.
Gartner expects mobile PC shipments to create a sweet spot that drives market growth by increasing 17.4 per cent in 2005. Meanwhile, desk-based PC shipments are forecast to grow at just 6.1 per cent.
"Overall shipment growth is expected to slow this year as both professional and home users wind down major replacement cycles," said George Shiffler, principal analyst for Gartner's client platforms research.
"We believe that professional replacement activity peaked in 2004 and will decelerate sharply over 2005. While home replacement activity will continue to provide some strength to the market in 2005, it too seems likely slow by year-end. Even so, mobile PC unit growth should outpace desk-based growth considerably again this year.
"Mobile PCs are becoming increasingly attractive to a broad range of users. There are a number of reasons for this including rapidly falling system prices, enhanced wireless experiences, and expanded multimedia/entertainment functionality."
KiyomiYamada, an analyst for Gartner's client platforms research, said that PC market growth could prove stronger if PC manufacturers are able to position the PC as a digital media hub.
However, Gartner remains sceptical that PC vendors will be able to take advantage of this opportunity.
"Media PCs remain relatively expensive and suffer from spotty reliability as well as troublesome ease-of-use," said Yamada.
"PCs are also handicapped by low interoperability with other media devices and poor aesthetics. This is hurting their ability to compete against alternative devices that are cheaper and more readily connected to media sources."
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