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Report: Tablet shipments to surpass those of notebooks by 2016

A new report says tablet shipments will surpass notebooks by 2016 to become the dominant type of mobile computer sold around the world.

The report, put out by NPD Display Search, finds that the number of tablets that will be shipped between now and 2017 will increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 28%. That would take the number of tablet shipments up from 121 million units this year to more than 400 million five years from now.

Although notebooks will fall into second place by 2016, according to the report, the number of the devices shipped will grow, but at a much slower rate than tablets. The firm said it expects 208 million notebooks to ship this year, but only 393 million shipments in 2017.

“Consumer preference for mobile computing devices is shifting from notebook to tablet PCs, particularly in mature markets,” said Richard Shim, senior analyst at NPD Display Search, who said the adoption of tablets in North America, Western Europe and Japan will be key to the devices’ growth.

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The key to the growth of tablets over notebooks, the firm said, is how the platform will continue to build on convenience-oriented features while incorporating more powerful technologies.

NPD Display Search said those features include instant-on capability, long battery life and extreme portability. It said they will continue to grow by incorporating better technology, which will include multi-core processors, increasingly stable operating systems, growing app libraries and higher resolution displays.

At the same time, the report said, notebooks are expected to adopt some of tablets’ traits in order for that platform to also continue growing. Thinner form factors, higher resolution displays and touch functionality features are among the features notebooks are expected to adopt.

In total, the mobile PC market is expected to grow from 347 million shipments this year to more than 800 million by 2017, the report said.

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