updated 04:55 pm EDT, Mon June 11, 2007
1 Billion PCs in 2008
The number of computers on Earth is set to blossom, according to a new study by Forrester. The company notes that a full billion PCs will have been produced by the end of 2008, representing roughly 27 years of the devices. The seemingly long time to reach the figure was due to its limitation primarily to wealthier nations that could afford the systems, the research notes. However, the figure may reach two billion as soon as 2015 -- just seven years after it reaches the initial landmark, Forrester observes. The sudden explosion is largely attributed to projects such as One Laptop Per Child and the ASUS Eee PC, both of which are designed for developing-world countries where average incomes are far lower. Major PC companies would ignore this at their own peril, the company says.
"The industry can probably survive selling incrementally better hardware and software to the people who already have technology in their lives," says research VP Simon Yates. "But the vast majority of growth in the PC and related industries will come from emerging markets."
Builders such as Apple, Dell, and other firms would also have to change their assumptions about how computers are sold, focusing on computers that last longer before becoming obsolete and designing systems which don't have the benefit of experimental launches in small areas. In some cases rivals may have to band together to produce enough PCs to cover a heavily populated area such as China or India.
If the above occurs, PC sales should multiply five times even as prices are cut to within a fifth of what the most developed countries see, Forrester notes.