Apple Computer stands to lose its No. 1 rank in mobile PC sales this year as Hewlett-Packard and even Motorola eat into its market share, research firm DisplaySearch said late Tuesday.
Apple's shipment of 10.2 million mobile PCs gave it a 17.2 percent market share in the fourth quarter of 2010 largely due to iPad tablet sales, California-based DisplaySearch said in a quarterly report. Mobile PCs include notebooks and tablets.
But consumer reactions to Motorola's Xoom tablet, seen as an iPad rival, could push that manufacturer up in the rankings, said Richard Shim, a DisplaySearch senior analyst in the United States.
Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad tablet, which has been dubbed an iPad killer, also could push HP upward from its DisplaySearch rank of No. 2 in the last quarter, he added. Both the Xoom and TouchPad were announced this year.
"In the mobile PC category, I expect there to be a shakeup in the ranking because of the introduction of new tablets," Shim said late on Tuesday. "If we look specifically at the tablet PC market, I expect Apple to maintain the top spot. However, if we look at the mobile PC market, which combines notebook, mini-note and tablet PCs, the success of HP's TouchPad will be very impactful to the overall rankings."
Apple's iPad is seen as a forerunner for a mass market of tablet PCs, which are lighter than netbooks and use touchscreen technology. A number of additional rivals such as Sony and Asustek Computer expect to move in on Apple's market share this year.
Hewlett-Packard took 15.6 percent share of the mobile PC market in the past quarter, DisplaySearch found. Acer, Dell and Toshiba ranked third through fifth, in that order. Toshiba was the only other firm of the top five to show year-on-year growth in shipments, DisplaySearch said. Their shipments relied almost exclusively on laptops, including netbooks.
The top five brands covered about 65 percent of the total mobile PC market.
Worldwide mobile PC shipments reached 59.6 million units in the fourth quarter, up 17 percent year on year, the market research firm said.
DisplaySearch said earlier in the month it expected about 56 million tablets to be produced in 2011, up more than 200 percent over 2010 tablet shipments.