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Will desktops make a comeback?

Desktop computers might not hold the market lead, but some are saying they could stage a comeback in the next few years.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Velocity Micro
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Desktop sales are plummeting, while notebook shipments are on the rise. But that doesn't mean desktops are dead. And execs at AMD and Via believe desktop sales will turn around in 2010.

"I think you will see the resurgence of the small form-factor desktop," Patrick Moorhead, a vice president at AMD, told The New York Times in a recent interview.

Via Vice President Richard Brown echoed that sentiment. He said that, especially when it comes to the corporate world, the desktop is still alive and well.

"Companies are tending to go back to desktops," Brown told the Times. "That's certainly what we're seeing."

Admittedly, both AMD and Via have a vested interest in seeing desktop computers stick around and outperform expectations. But those expectations are already low.

According to market research firm IDC, desktop shipments are expected to decline over the next few years. In the U.S. alone, desktop shipments were expected to decline by 14.2 percent in 2009. IDC believes desktop shipments will slide by 3.6 percent in 2010, 1.9 percent in 2011, and 1.2 percent in both 2012 and 2013. Worldwide, desktop shipments were expected to fall by 12.9 percent in 2009, but increase at a slow rate of 0.1 percent, 1.6 percent, and 2.0 percent in 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively. IDC believes desktop shipments will increase by 0.9 percent in 2013.

Much of that movement in worldwide shipments is coming from Asia, Brown told the Times.

"In China and elsewhere, those people have started to desire a real computer when they get home," Brown said. "They want a bigger screen and more power. The desktop offers that."

Brown makes a fine point. And worldwide, things are expected to look up for the desktop. But those figures pale in comparison to portable PCs, which could see double-digit sales gains through 2013. Worst of all for the desktop, consumers are becoming increasingly more likely to go mobile than stay sedentary.

Regardless, it seems that desktops might be able to hold their own going forward. But for how long? More importantly, just how well will they be able to stick it out as notebooks continue to dominate the market?

Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below.