I remember the mobile phone explosion. Right out of the blue, suddenly everyone had one, or was getting one. In a very short space of time, it became apparent that mobile phones were changing the way we lived our lives. We needed them. We could not do without them. We required them to go on with our lives in the convenient manner we had become accustomed to.

Might the same thing happen with laptops, I have often wondered. Could the market for portable computers explode? With wi-fi getting more and more prevalent, the laptop is becoming a more and more attractive purchase for many people. Soon, might everyone need a laptop the same way they currently need a mobile phone? Might the laptop become indispensable too?

For the first time, laptop machines are outselling desktop machines in the UK. Seemingly, low prices (you can get a low spec laptop for next to nothing now) and increased take-up of wireless internet use are the two factors behind this. A similar shift was reported in the United States a few years ago.

The number of laptops versus desktops sold by PC World between April and May this year stood at 55% compared to 45%.

This shift has taken place within the last 12 months, with figures for the same period in 2005 at 40% for laptops compared to 60% for desktops.
Users seem to want Internet on the move more now, but they also want to be able to watch their own movies on the move whenever the fancy takes them, or have the flexibility to take their machine into any room of the house they want to use it in. They want to relax on the sofa and surf the Net, not sit in front of a desk. Will this trend continue? Will laptop sales explode?

"I think this trend towards more laptops will continue, but I do think desktops will continue to co-exist for some time," said spokeswoman for PC World Gina Jones.

"The two forms do cater in different ways to the wide variety of different applications that people use their PCs for," she added.