July 3, 2012 at 1:57 PM ET
Shipments of tablets are expected to exceed those of notebooks in 2016, according to according to the latest NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report.
NPD's findings jibe with those from Forrester Research, which recently also cited 2016 as a tipping point year, when tablets will become the "preferred primary device for millions of people around the world."
Richard Shim, senior analyst NPD DisplaySearch, said that in the company's report that consumer "preference for mobile computing devices is shifting from notebook to tablet PCs, particularly in mature markets," including North America, Japan and Western Europe.
Notebook shipments will increase from 208 million units this year, to 393 million units by 2017, NPD DisplaySearch said. In contrast, tablet shipments will jump from 121 million units this year to 416 million units by 2017, "for a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent."
What tablets have going in their favor are the "convenience-oriented features, including instant-on capability, long battery life and extreme portability," the research firm said, "making them a compelling alternative to notebook PCs."
The tablet outlook will also be bolstered by device that start to incorporate "multi-core processors, increasingly stable operating systems, growing app libraries and higher-resolution displays."
With Microsoft getting ready to bring touch-friendly Windows 8 to market this year, and PC makers being busy bringing out "ultrabooks," lighter and faster laptops, notebook PCs "are also evolving to meet the challenge" from tablets, NPD Display Search said. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
The notebook PC market "will remain the largest part of the mobile PC market during the forecast period, accounting for 60 percent of mobile PC shipments in 2012, declining to 49 percent by 2017," the research firm said.