The mobile PC market isn’t doing great, but that’s only if you look at it independently of tablet device sales. NPD DisplaySearch now says that over the next five years, however, the mobile PC market will more than double, growing from 367.6 million units in 2012 to 762.7 million by 2017.
The growth is being driven by a sea change in PC computing, as tablet PCs continually replace your standard notebook form factors, and touch gets built in to more and more laptop devices. Almost every manufacturer now has at least one touch-capable model, which is actually required for Windows 8 certification, and which helps explain ambitious devices like the Asus Aspire R7.
In the near-term, NPD DisplaySearch expects tablet shipments to rise 67 percent year-over-year in 2013, reaching 256.5 million on their own. Notebook shipments are expected to slow in general, down to 183.3 million in 2017, from 203.3 million in 2013. NPD predicts growth for certain categories, including touch-enabled devices, and even projects that devices like the MacBook Air and Ultrabooks will adopt touch in the coming years.
NPD doesn’t see Windows 8 actually driving touch adoption, despite the requirement by Microsoft for certification. That’s probably because of reportedly lackluster sales performance by Microsoft’s latest OS so far, but still the category will grow as OEMs look to invest more in hybrid devices, sliders and tablet-style form factors that could potentially resonate better with where consumers seem to be spending their computing dollars these days.
Despite the generally rosy outlook NPD DisplaySearch paints, the fact remains that now, Apple is the company that stands to gain the most from an upsurge in tablet popularity. It sold around 19.5 million iPads during Q2 2013, representing 65 percent year over year growth, and so far no one has been able to come close to that. Others are slowly making inroads, however, including Asus, which reported its Q1 2013 earnings today, including 3 million tablet sales that offset notebook and PC component losses to the tune of $202 million in profit.