It's taken 27 years to reach 1 billion PCs in use, and market researchers say it will take only five to reach the next billion.
Forrester Research is set to release a report Monday titled, "Worldwide PC Adoption Forecast to 2015," saying that many of those next billion will be used by first-time PC users in emerging nations like Brazil, Russia, India and China. At least 775 million new PCs will be in use in those countries by 2015, according to Forrester.
Not only is access to computers beneficial to those users, it also will represent a big bump in sales for PC manufacturers and sellers. Though the computer industry can still profit from selling replacement machines to existing users, the big money to be made is in the far greater number of users who have never owned one.
There are, of course, drawbacks in entering new markets, the report warns. Computer sellers in mature markets can count on a fairly predictable cycle of PC buying, but untapped markets are hardly as predictable and vendors will likely need to work together to scale production appropriately over the next decade, says Forrester.
Additionally, at least part of the bump in PC ownership and use will be due to programs like One Laptop Per Child, Microsoft's Unlimited Potential, Intel's World Ahead, and AMD's 50X15, which aim to bring low-cost computing to underprivileged students and developing countries.