Portable computers used to be rare and expensive, but these days they make up almost half of all PC sales. In Western Europe, they represent well over half.
Businesses still buy a lot of desktop computers, but consumers now prefer notebooks, largely because prices have dropped precipitously, says Eszter Morvay, a senior research analyst for the global market intelligence firm International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass. The drop began in 2003, when HP Compaq, the largest vendor, cut its notebook prices. Then Taiwanese manufacturer Acer targeted the European market, forcing HP, Dell, and other competitors to cut prices by about 15 percent per year.
”What was once a US $1600 purchase is now $600,” says Morvay. ”The price gap between desktops and notebooks has shrunk to close to zero.” She predicts that by 2012, 80 percent of all new PCs sold will be notebook-size—or even smaller.