With the convergence of the telco and PC markets reaching a pivotal stage, it's no great reach to predict that form-factor diversification will be one of the key trends in the PC market this year. Nonetheless, IDC's predictions for this year contain some insightful nuggets.
IDC reckons the mini-notebook craze is reaching its peak and will plateau this year. It also predicts that ultra-thins - those running on CULV-type CPUs - will grow, but more slowly than is hoped as they don't represent a compelling value proposition. On that note, price declines are expected to slow as the global economy cheers up.
Here's an intriguing one: while most people have more or less written-off WiMAX as a next-gen wirleless technology in favour of LTE, IDC reckons more portable PCs will ship with WiMAX embedded than with 3G. This will presumably be because Intel will chuck it into the chipset whether you like it or not, with a view to providing uses for it later.
Apple's iPad launch isn't predicted to fuel much demand for Windows tablets, and IDC won't be tracking the iPad because it doesn't run a ‘full' operating system. The share of all-in-one desktops will double, but touch-enabled PCs will gain little traction, due to the lack of killer apps. A tenth of commercial desktop clients will be virtual.
In other market research, ComScore says use of Facebook on mobile phones more than doubled last year, while mobile Twittering quadrupled. Meanwhile iSuppli has poured water on recent reports of the recovery in the semiconductor market. It points out that while year-on-year gains may look impressive, the market is pretty much at the same level it was three years ago.