HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
September 24, 2007, Herald Journal

Laptops to overtake desktops by 2010


In last week’s column I thought it was safe to say that I no longer needed to use my air conditioners anymore.

Well, I was sure surprised last Monday with the weather jumping into the mid 80 degrees and turning so humid again.

Yes, I know I asked my loyal readers to “curl up in that favorite blanket or pour yourself a cup of coffee,” to stay warm while reading the last Bits & Bytes.

When I was typing that column, it was actually cold out, and I wondered what the odds were that the following week the weather would be hot and folks reading it would be using their air conditioners.

Was I was just testing “Murphy’s Law” thinking I would win?

I should have known better than to tempt Mr. Murphy.

I did end up using the air conditioning again.

Being curious about the origins of Murphy’s Law, I found a source that said:

Murphy’s Law (“If anything can go wrong, it will”) originated at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949.

It was named after Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on an Air Force project called “MX981.”

This project involved researching and documenting how much of a sudden deceleration a person (the pilot I imagine) can withstand.

One day, after finding that an electrical component (transducer) was wired incorrectly, Capt. Murphy said of the male technician who was at fault, “If there is any way to do it wrong, he’ll find it.”

The project manager kept a list of “laws” and added this particular law, which he called Murphy’s Law.

Did you know that there is an actual Murphy’s Law website?


IDC (International Data Consultants) which has been around for 43 year is one of the leading providers of market intelligence for the telecommunications, information and consumer technology markets.

They recently released a report about the sales of personal computers.

What is interesting is that the sales of “desktop” or “tower” computers will shortly be giving way to portable laptop or notebook computers.

In 2006 a total of 65.5 million personal computers were sold in the United States alone. Of this total, 39.4 million were desktops and 26.1 million were portables.

I count myself as one of the folks in that 26.1 million, for in 2006 I purchased my new laptop. I still have my old desktop with most of the files I transferred to my laptop, along with a large flat panel monitor. I also installed one of those cooling fan-trays that I have the laptop sitting on.

IDC’s numbers for 2007 are estimated to be 38.1 million desktops and 31.7 portable computers sold; notice how the portable laptops and notebooks are catching up.

Worldwide personal computer shipments are projected to rise this year by 12.6 percent to 257.5 million computers.

2008 is the year that we will see more people in the United States purchasing portable computers. The numbers from IDC are estimated to be 37.6 million portable computers to be sold versus 34.1 million desktops.

Looking ahead, the numbers show that portables will continue to dominate; more people will continue to prefer portable computers over desktops.

2011 is the furthest out that IDC went with their predications. IDC said that by then a total of 82 million personal computers will be sold in the United States. Of these computers 53.6 million will be portable computers and 28.4 million will be desktops.

If we look at the world-wide sales, IDC says this year 151.8 million desktops will be sold versus 105.7 portable computers that will also be purchased.

2010 is when the world-wide sales of portable computers are estimated to overtake desktops. IDC says 175.2 million portable laptop/notebook computers will be sold and 164.2 million desktops.

Loren Loverde, director of IDC’s “Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker” said on their website, “Overall, we should expect to see strong growth for the next several years, with double-digit increases expected through 2009.” Loverde continued, “The shift to mobility will continue to drive growth, as portable PCs are expected to represent more than 50 percent of shipment value during 2007 and more than half of worldwide volume by 2009.

Today’s laptops, notebooks, portables and “mobile” computing devices have improved so much – they easily rival desktop personal computers.

I know of many people that are replacing their desktops and going with laptops.

Today I solely use my laptop computer for everything. As far as my old “tower” desktop, it has been shut off for about a year, still sitting majestically on the table in the corner, gathering dust. . .I think I will turn it on later, just for old time’s sake.

For more information about IDC, you can visit their website at http://www.idc.com.