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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 13:03 GMT
Laptops set to out sell desktops
Student using laptop, BBC
The ubiquity of wireless may help explain the rise of the laptop
Laptops will overtake desktop PCs as the dominant form of computer in 2011, according to a report by analysts IDC.

The demand for bulky machines will continue to slowly grow but at a declining rate as portable machines become quicker and more efficient.

The report predicts the laptop market will grow by 16.1% year-on-year until 2011, compared to 3.8% for desktop PCs.

There will also be a short burst of desktop shipments over the next year as Microsoft rolls out Vista, it predicts.

Desktop decline

"The release of Vista and a desktop refresh will create some growth opportunity in late 2007 and early 2008, before resuming a declining growth trend in the out-years," said Doug Bell, analyst in IDC's personal computing program.

More than 82 million portable computers and nearly 140 million desktop PCs were shipped around the world in 2006, according to the report.

Neon-lit modded PC

Compared to the previous year, the numbers of laptops shipped rose by 26.3% compared to less than 2% for desktop PCs.

The gradual shift away from fixed machines may reflect the needs of an increasingly mobile workforce and the ubiquity of wireless networks.

A recent US survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that the number of internet users with wireless at home nearly doubled, from one out of 10 in January 2005 to one in 5 by December 2006.

The same survey found that 80% of laptops had wireless capabilities and 88% of laptop users used a wireless network at home.

Last year, a report by research firm Current Analysis found that 2005 was the first year that laptops outsold desktop computers in the US.

The latest report from IDC indicates that the appetite for computers on the move is set to continue.

"Portables are picking up some of the slack from Desktops," said Loren Loverde of IDC.

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