PC shipments up 15 percent last quarter (but none of those are the Apple tablet so whatever)

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There was plenty of talk ever since Lehman Brothers exploded in mid-2008 about how would consumers cope. Would they keep buying widgets in the face of insane job cuts? Would they keep buying, but only at a fraction of what they had in the past? Let’s take PC sales, a pretty good barometer of where the average person is. (It’s a big purchase, but not like buying a car or house.) Shipments of new PCs jumped 15 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. That’s worldwide, by the way, and much higher than the people who expect things expected. This is good news.

HP sold the most PCs in the time period, followed by Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba. (To think that, not too long ago, Dell was the name in PC sales…)

No one is buying desktops. That may be a bit of a stretch, but all of this growth has come from low-cost notebooks and even lower-cost netbooks. It seems the netbook is the sweet spot for most people: who needs a huge desktop sitting on the floor, along with a giant monitor sitting on the desk, when all you do is read your Yahoo e-mail and tweet that you loved Avatar?

(Who needs a desktop? Professionals and gamers. You try running Crysis, or even World of Warcraft, on a notebook with integrated graphics!)

Long story short, PC shipments are up, way up.

And now we’re all waiting to see what Apple does with its tablet computer.

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