Smartphones displacing notebook PCs?

The coming crop of smartphones are data friendly, third-party software friendly phones with Wi-Fi. But there’s more! The processing power of the ARM application processors used in phones lags that of mobile PC CPUs by about 7 years, so this year’s phones will have roughly the computing power of a 2001 laptop.

These changes come together to make phones chip away at the uses of notebook PCs. Many people who used PCs only for email now use Blackberries instead. Many phones are good substitutes for personal organizer software on PCs. The iPhone can credibly substitute for a PC for web browsing.

These trends motivated Instat to say last November:

Smartphone use will grow mostly from use as a laptop replacement

According to Gartner, the year-on-year notebook sales growth numbers for notebook PCs from 2004 to 2007 remained healthy: 36%, 28%, 22%. The crossover in unit volume came in 2006, when smartphones and notebooks both shipped roughly 80 million units worldwide. That 22% unit growth in notebook sales from 2006 to 2007 represented a jump to over 100 million units shipped. Compare this to a 70% jump in smartphone unit shipments in the same period, to over 130 million.

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