Notebooks will exceed desktop PC shipments in the coming months in the US, though desktops remain central to manufacturers product plans.

Most major PC makers in the US this week revealed new desktops for home and office customers that use relatively new technologies such as dual-core processors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and the BTX (balanced technology extended) chassis design.

The long-awaited PC replacement cycle that fuelled sales the last few years has been marked by a surge in notebook shipments as a percentage of the overall market. Many home and business users have chosen to replace their older pre-Y2K desktops with notebooks that have greatly caught up to their bigger cousins in terms of performance.

In fact, PC vendors will probably ship more notebooks than desktops in the US during August and September, the so-called back-to-school shopping season, said Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis at NPD Techworld. That would be the first month in which notebook shipments exceed desktop shipments in the US, he said.

In mature PC markets in countries like the US, Japan, the UK and Germany, households looking to add a second or third PC are driving notebook sales, Baker said. Many users still want to have a high-performance desktop as the linchpin of their PC arsenal, but it often makes more sense to add notebooks as additional PCs with the growth of technologies like wireless networking and the performance gains of modern notebooks, he said.

As a result, desktop vendors have been forced to evolve, and are attempting to use a number of different marketing strategies to reach the public and corporate purchasing managers. Desktops are popular with retail stores because they produce a greater amount of revenue after the sale, such as accessories, upgraded components and peripherals like printers or monitors, Baker said.

Desktop shipments are still also very strong in emerging economies with low rates of PC adoption, Baker said.