Considering the popularity and portability of tablet computers, it's been a hot debate whether tablets will give the netbook/notebook market a run for its money. But now tablet fans have a new reason for supporting tablets in the debate – a new survey by NDP in its Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report states that tablet shipments will surpass notebook shipments in 2016. The survey also reveals that overall mobile PC shipments are expected to grow from 347 million units in 2012 to over 809 million units by 2017.

Poeple to opt for tablets over notebooks... (Image Credit:NDP)

Poeple to opt for tablets over notebooks… (Image Credit: NDP)

Tablets like Apple’s iPad are believed to be the growth drivers for the mobile PC market over the next few years. And with the launch of new, high performance tablets like Google's Nexus 7 and Microsoft's Surface, this market looks likely to eclipse the notebook/netbook market in the coming years; the NDP survey indicates that this might well turn out to be the case.

The survey points out that notebook PC shipments are expected to increase from 208 million units in 2012 to 393 million units by 2017. On the other hand, tablet PC shipments are expected to grow from 121 million units to 416 million units in this period, for a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent. The key driver for tablet growth is likely to be its adoption in mature markets, which will account for 66 percent of shipments in 2012 and remain in the 60 percent range throughout the forecast period. Tablet PC shipments will also grow in mature markets like the U.S. and Japan from 80 million units in 2012 to 254 million units by 2017.

“Consumer preference for mobile computing devices is shifting from notebooks to tablet PCs, particularly in mature markets,” said Richard Shim, Senior Analyst at NPD DisplaySearch. “While the lines between tablet and notebook PCs are blurring, we expect mature markets to be the primary regions for tablet PC adoption. New entrants are tending to launch their initial products in mature markets. Services and infrastructure needed to create compelling new usage models are often better established in mature markets.”

Tablets are quite popular for their convenience-oriented features like instant-on capability, long battery life and extreme portability. They are also expected to evolve in form factor and performance. Tablets like Microsoft's surface come with multi-core processors and detachable keyboards, making them a strong computing device. Moreover, notebook PCs are also evolving to keep up with the popularity of tablet PCs. They now come with sleeker designs, higher resolution displays and touch functionality. Android tablets are quite affordable and a recent survey revealed how IT and business professionals will opt for Android tablets over other devices in the developing countries. Obviously, the price range plays an important role here.

Would you go for tablet PCs in the future than a notebook? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Cover Image Credit: Getty Images

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