Hey, it’s only 18+ lbs and a few bucks more!

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.

In Steve Ballmer’s dreams.

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

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.

This is only personal opinion; but, sooner or later the balance point will be governed by real portability vs. screen size. When I traveled a lot for business, I took a laptop; but, it was as light as possible.

In my office, I want as big a display as is practical. Right now, that’s a 16×10 20-incher. A little bigger wouldn’t be turned away. I’d hate to carry around a laptop with that size screen attached.



  1. Jas says:

    Laptops are convenient when you have to move about, but I much prefer the larger keyboard and screen and full-sized mouse provided by the desktop. I am not giving up my desktop anytime soon.

  2. RuralRob says:

    I keep reading about advances in flexible screens that can be folded or rolled up, so I hope that in 5-10 years we’ll have compact laptops with 20″ screens that can be rolled up into the case like a window shade.

  3. Angel H. Wong says:

    Don’t forget that laptops are cash cows since so far there’s no laptop clones.

  4. undissembled says:

    Why are these damn ContentLinks still on here? Is this website going broke? You can afford not to have this shit on your blog John.

    On the subject. When a laptop is as fast as the fastest desktop with the best GPU available and for the same price, then I will switch. I’ll be waiting a while.

  5. NSFW says:

    #1: that’s why you get a docking station. All the benefits of full size KVM without having to sort out or duplicate your data between two different systems.

  6. Mike Drips says:

    IDC is on crack. There might be higher sales of laptops but I cannot imagine large enterprises replacing desktops with easily stolen laptops. Plus, as much as I like the 18 pound Dell “laptop” with the 20″ screen, its not viable in the enterprise as it’s too expensive.

    Price is a factor but the high risk of theft is going to dampen enterprises moving all of their workers to laptops.

    I run a very high end desktop PC at home with a 22″ monitor and frankly I miss that extra video real estate when I am at the office or when I am on the road with my laptop with has a 14″ screen.

    Well laptops may well outsell desktops someday, but I intend to always own both types of PC. I have a UMPC and a Pocket PC phone as well, but let’s not venture down those dark roads of early adopter hell.

  7. Nostradamus says:

    Laptop with docking station is what I predict to be the standard.

  8. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    I’ve been carrying a laptop continuously since 1992. I have a desktop in this office, but I use it less and less, mainly when I need a really big display.

    Speaking of that, the standard laptop screens suck. This one is 1400 x 1050 in a standard Dell Lat D600 package. It’s all the screen I need for making books and doing Internet research. I’m a four-finger typist, and this poor old keyboard has been really used hard, and I actually prefer it.

    Mike D hits the jackpot with his comment about stolen machines. Also, when was the last time someone lost a desktop? Or dropped it in the parking lot? Or spilled coffee onto the motherboatrd?

    For home use, other than gamers, laptops are often a much better choice.

  9. James Hill says:

    At this point I only use laptops at home, and the only workstations I have at the office are for development and testing. I could see buying a small form factor device to have as a HTPC, but otherwise the freedom of being able to be anywhere in my home with the laptop trumps the need to have a larger monitor.

    That being said, I do agree that the fight is going to be between wide screens sizes.

  10. ECA says:

    Nope, cant see it happening…

    To those that KNOW the difference.
    Laptop, is not a secure device and can be stolen.
    Monitor size..
    KB size…
    Expandability..
    Upgrade of tech, video, audio, networking..
    RAM expandability…

    If you had many of these in a Laptop it would be the size of the Armpit to your Knee cap, and weight at least 5-10 lbs..

  11. Peter Rodwell says:

    I’m too comfortable with my desktops – big screens, keyboards that can take a lot of hammering, trackerballs, expandability, power, speed, etc – to want a laptop. Plus, when I go out it’s to get away from my computers, not to take one with me. Also, I haven’t ever had a desktop battery explode.

    As others have pointed out, big companies (major buyers of desktop PCs) will hardly be interested in giving, say, their accounts department laptops instead of cheaper and less easily stolen desktops.

    And I keep getting “slow down cowboy” messages even though I haven’t posted for well over 15 seconds…

  12. Mac Guy says:

    I’m probably going to get bitched at for bringing this up, but Steve Jobs called this one a couple years ago.

  13. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #3 – – Don’t forget that laptops are cash cows since so far there’s no laptop clones.

    Comment by Angel H. Wong — 3/21/2007 @ 8:20 am

    What? ALL laptops are clones… in fact, there are (someone correct me here) 7? (6 or 7) actual laptop makers, and the only one that has a mainstream name is Toshiba.

    Dell doesn’t make their own laptops. HP doesn’t either. Can anyone fill in the details which I’ve now forgotten?

  14. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #8 – For home use, other than gamers, laptops are often a much better choice.

    Comment by Olo Baggins of Bywater — 3/21/2007 @ 9:05 am

    I do not agree. Everyone wants computers to be smaller, which may be a natural reaction if you’ve been engaged in conspicuois consumption and your subconscience is waking up to how destructive that is… but smaller is not better.

    Laptops are hard to upgrade, and expensive to upgrade, and in most ways, impossible to upgrade. But the worst of it is that people assume that since they are mobile, they should be mobile… which often leads to disasters that never happen with desktops.

    I’m speaking from the point of view of a guy who people bring broken laptops to.

    That said, as an Office/Internet box, laptops are great. But if people put logic and reason to the question, and ignored trivial concerns like asthetics, I think they’d be better served by desktops…

    If you are buying a PC for a kid (especially a teenage girl) there should be a NO LAPTOP rule… There is no reason you should use a computer while laying belly down across a fluffy bed, with the laptop’s ventilation stuffed into a comforter, while two other girls, all on cell phones, have a giggle fit bouncing up up and down mindlessly.

    You see a potentially erotic pillowfit about to happen.

    I see a laptop in danger and a looming disaster.

  15. Tom says:

    I’m an IT Manager in a small organization and this mirrors the trend in our office. We’ve always had “field staff” but increasingly other people want to bring their computers with them to meetings (on and off site) and be able to work at home or on the road.

    This does create some issues. Mostly it’s that laptops break more often for a variety of reasons.

    A number of people posting have said that “smart” folks would choose a desktop over a laptop because they’re relatively cheaper , faster and more upgradeable. Desktops ARE cheaper and that is something to keep in mind.

    However, the importance of upgradeability is overstated. Most people don’t upgrade their desktops beyond what’s possible in a laptop anyway. In our office we’ll add more RAM to an older computer to extend it’s life but that’s about it. After a computer’s a few years old, spending money and time on upgrading it rarely makes sense compared to buying new. The folks that spend time and money doing significant upgrades are primarily gamers and hobbiests. They aren’t Jane and Joe user.

    At home, we’ve had one desktop and one laptop for about 5 years. I’m about ready to replace the desktop with a second laptop just because the ability to use a computer anywhere in the house outweighs any advantage a desktop has.

    I also run a server on an old laptop as opposed to an old desktop because it uses a lot less power.

  16. Tom says:

    #6 (Mike)

    There are a lot more small businesses and home users than there are large enterprises. Even in large enterprises, I’d venture that there are already a significant number of laptop users.

    We’ve just expanded our office and we decided not to provide phone lines in the new space and very nearly decided not to run ethernet and just use wireless instead. The workforce is becoming more mobile and less tied to a desk.

    Also, there are now college students moving into the workforce who are accustomed to having mobile computers.

  17. Brew Kline says:

    I’ve only been using a laptop now for about two months but already I see the major trouble with them.

    First, since the LCD display is hinged at keyboard level it forces me to hunch down which is causing me neck and shoulder pain. Before with a desktop I would set the standalone display at a level where my my body, neck and head would be erect and straight as my eyes would be directly looking at the screeen 25% below the top edge. The laptop offers terrible ergonomics, though the keyboard is a charm.

    Second, the native resolutions are getting ridiculous. The Dell Latitude D600 series were designed with the perfect resolution: 1024×768. Anything greater in resolution causes eyestrain. The zoom option on my current 1440×900 is clumsy and tiresome to use. Of course, PC companies do this to satisfy American’s addiction to higher numbers. Numbers is all people care about even when it goes agains style, utility and class. The few people with higher tastes have to suffer.

  18. Esteban says:

    We recently got laptops for our high school. This has been a godsend, since we no longer have to share the computer lab with the elementary students (we’re a K-12 school). That said, laptops in the kindergarten class would be a very bad idea.

  19. maria says:

    Sams had a 42″ wall monitor hooked up to a laptop. Whole thing 2grand. I Think I saw the future.

  20. right-wing nut job says:

    In Re: LCD real estate (screen size)

    In the screen size debate it surprises me that wearable “glasses’ don’t replace LCD screens altogether.

    You now the kind that allow you to adjust the opacity of the what you are seeing.

    They could be completly shareable like earbuds from a portable musci player so that more than one person can “see” your screen.

    Couldn’t they use Bluetooth to transmit the video data wirelessly?

    They would also create 100% privacy from prying eyes.

    This is escpecially true for portable computing.

    I know they are on the market. But they don’t catch on because of usability issues.

    The person who develops truely wearable “glasses” that subsititue for a computer monitor will retire early and rich.

    the nut

  21. You can plug a monitor into you laptop or use a docking station.
    Thanks to USB laptops work out great.
    The cost of a laptop is a notch higher including hard drives, memory etc.
    When the lcd screen goes the replacement is too costly.

  22. There are a lot of articles going out with different blogs also talking about laptops outselling desktop. Laptops and Notebooks are great, but there are still something that most desktop users can’t find. Like a big screen, although some has wide screen, but not like that on a desktop. Though even without big screen there are still more with laptops. Though desktop is also good at some point. They have different specs, and i think one of the main reason why laptops sells more than a desktop, I think laptops are even more practical.


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