Tablets, ultrabooks to drive mobile
A new report from analyst firm Juniper Research forecasts that shipments of mobile computing devices - including tablets, ultrabooks and other notebooks - will more than double over the next five years.
Driving this growth will be tablets and devices from Intel's new Ultrabook category, with combined shipments of these devices making up 73% of the total market by that time.
The ‘Ultrabooks & Mobile Computing' report finds that the consumerisation of IT is making the traditional notebook seem like a museum piece, as thin, lightweight touchscreen tablets like Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tab step out of the movie screen and into the home. Notebook vendors are flocking to Intel's new category, one which will provide a tablet user experience in a notebook form-factor.
At the heart of the user experience are technologies like SSD (Solid State Drives) which, along with other hardware and software enhancements, provide features such as instant-on and thinner designs. Juniper's report finds that there are still many challenges for the industry and explores the strategies available to vendors with regards to technologies like SSD.
According to report author Daniel Ashdown: "solid state storage in tablets and in Ultrabooks is undoubtedly superior in terms of boot-time and ‘z' height compared with HDDs, but this has to be balanced against other factors such as cost and storage capacity. Vendors need to explore a range of options, including cloud storage and hybrid solutions to make these products competitive."
The report says ultrabook shipments will reach 178 million by 2016 - growing at three times the rate of tablets. However, tablet shipments will still be higher, reaching 253 million annually.
Windows 8 will play a pivotal role in driving Ultrabook adoption, with extended battery life, always-on-always-connected and other functionalities coming with Microsoft's next OS.
Netbooks shipments will comprise just a third of today's volumes by 2016, as tablets and low-cost, but superior performance notebooks continue to cannibalise this short-lived segment.
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