Here's a Switch: Laptops to Eat into Tablet Sales

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Photograph: Marc Simon
Conventional wisdom so far on tablets -- the iPad in particular -- is that they're cannibalizing PC sales. PC sales forecasts this year have been downgraded and Apple's CEO has declared this the "post-PC era". What we're witnessing may not really be a notebook vs. tablet war, however, one analyst suggests. Perhaps tablets are converging with laptops to create the ultimate device-an ultrathin, touch-sensitive notebook that will ironically undermine the tablet itself.

We've certainly been seeing a lot more ultrathin, ultraportable laptops lately, as well as many tablet laptop combos, from the Asus Transformer dockable tablet to the patented Dell Panerai. The distinction between our mobile and portable devices is starting to blur, as laptops get lighter and thinner and tablets get more powerful.

Bernstein Research's findings about laptop vs. tablet sales (click to enlarge)
Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi believes the converged ultraportable tablet/notebook "might undermine tablet sales, rather than vice versa," according to All Things Digital. In other words, the PC isn't dead because the tablet killed it. The PC may just be morphing with the tablet into a new hybrid device.

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