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Comeback Kid? Notebooks, Laptops Up

Notebook market enjoys the strongest sequential growth in four years, according to analysts IHS.
Shipments of ‘mobile PCs’, including notebooks, ultra thin Ultrabooks and convertible PC/tablets like the Asus Transformer (x86 based) hit 52.6 million, up 9.4% from 48.1 million in Q3. 

It was the strongest sequential growth since Q4 2009, but less than the 55.3 million the industry had been hoping for, as notebooks and Ultrabooks failed to charm consumers over the holidays. 

Notebooks have suffered badly since the arrival of the iPhone and Android tablets now at very inexpensive prices, even with innovations like Ultrabooks. 

There was no one category in mobile PCs that suffered – it was pretty much across the board on mobile PC form factors that didn’t quite hit what we had projected, IHS analyst Craig Stice told CN. 

Analysts believed things were looking positive for the Q4 last, after the third had come in on target. 

“The introduction of new platforms and the arrival of Intel’s new-generation Atom processor Bay Trail were expected to enable a new entry-level pricing point for the PC market not seen since the netbook,” said Stice.

But with consumer PC’s demand struggling, vendors maintained a conservative buying plan, keeping inventory lean.

However, the decline seen in the last two years should start to level off, and Stice predicts better prospects for 2014 – including Intel’s Bay Trail, which will provide longer battery life and powerful graphics, the expiration of Windows XP in April, which may encourage consumers to ditch old laptops in favor of new Windows 8 devices.

Tablets like iPads and Android tablets are reaching saturation, which could stoke new interest among those wishing to go back to the full power of a notebook. 

However, the PC space isn’t likely to bounce back to the double-digit growth.