Lenovo, the world’s No. 4 PC maker based in Morrisville, is preparing to launch its own table PC called LePad. New data from Gartner indicates wy.

The technology research firm cut its forecast for 2010 worldwide personal computer shipments on Monday as the economy tamps down PC demand and more consumers shift to tablets such as Apple Inc.’s iPad instead.

Gartner said it expects PC shipments to total 352.4 million units in 2010, a 14 percent increase from a year ago. Previously, Gartner forecast an 18 percent increase. For 2011, Gartner estimated worldwide PC shipments of 409 million, an annual uptick of 16 percent rather than the 18 percent growth it predicted earlier.

“These results reflect marked reductions in expected near-term unit growth based on expectations of weaker consumer demand, due in no small part to growing user interest in media tablets such as the iPad,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “Over the longer term, media tablets are expected to displace around 10 percent of PC units by 2014.”
Gartner also believes other mobile devices such as smartphones will cut into the PC market.

“PC market growth will be impacted by devices that enable better on-the-go content consumption such as media tablets and next-generation smartphones,” said Raphael Vasquez, a research analyst at Gartner. “These devices will be increasing embraced as complements if not substitutes for PCs where voice and light data consumption are desired. It is likely that desk-based PCs will be adversely impacted over the long-term by the adoption of hosted virtual desktops, which can readily use other devices like thin clients.”

In the near term, Gartner said consumers and businesses are still holding off on purchasing PCs to save money, given the troubled state of the economy. In the coming years, consumers will also turn to devices that let them easily read, watch video and consume other media on the go, such as the iPad or increasingly sophisticated smart phones, and purchase new PCs less frequently as a result.

In the U.S. and Western Europe, Gartner said media tablets will have more of the features of personal computers in the coming years, “luring consumers away from PCs and displacing a significant volume of PC shipments,” particularly of the inexpensive, low-powered netbook variety. By 2014, Gartner predicted tablets would displace about 10 percent of PCs shipped.

In emerging markets, Gartner said it’s possible consumers will skip buying PCs altogether and buy a tablet or smart phone as a first computing device.

Fore more details from Gartner, read here.

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