2010 will be the year of the notebook, netbook and slate PC, and the newly launched Apple iPad will lead the way, according to market research firm DisplaySearch.
The company said that the PC category will see an increase in shipments of just over a quarter to 215 million and sales of $117bn. The increase will be the result of new slate or tablet devices, including the iPad, and the biggest sales will be in North America and western Europe.
Some of these sales will come at the cost of other areas, however, and the researchers expect to see market share taken away from clamshell type devices and e-readers, as tablets have a similar form factor but more capabilities.
"We expect that, like Apple's iPad, slates from other brands will be positioned as content consumption and manipulation devices, and the necessity of focusing on industrial design and features will result in average selling prices that are higher than those of mini-notebooks," said John Jacobs, director of notebook market research at DisplaySearch.
Apple's iPad costs as much as $800, and higher prices for these new units will mean higher revenues for manufacturers. Demand will only increase once enterprise spending returns over the year and complementary applications are released, Jacobs added.
"Slates - especially those that will be able to mimic Apple's content library, model of content delivery, and its very successful App Store - will be able to generate greater revenue and healthier margins for the brands that build them, the retailers that sell them, and many of the component makers in the supply chain," he said.