Research firm Gartner Inc. today revised its forecasts for worldwide PC shipments due to weakness in the demand for mobile computers and increasing demand for media tablets and other internet enabled devices.

The research now predicts 2011 computer sales will increase 10.5 percent over 2010 to 387.8 million units, down from their previous projection of 15.9 percent growth this year. For 2012, Gartner has revised its sales growth estimates down from 14.8 percent to 13.6 percent.

Over the last five years mobile PCs have been the dynamic growth engine of the PC market averaging annual rates of growth approaching 40 percent. During most of this time, mobile PCs were the device of choice for connecting to the Internet. With Wi-Fi modules become embedded in media tablets, smartphones and ebook readers, the mobile PC is no longer the only portable way to access the internet.

"We expect growing consumer enthusiasm for mobile PC alternatives, such as the iPad and other media tablets, to dramatically slow home mobile PC sales." said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. "We once thought that mobile PC growth would continue to be sustained by consumers buying second and third mobile PCs as personal devices. However, we now believe that consumers are not only likely to forgo additional mobile PC buys but are also likely to extend the lifetimes of the mobile PCs they retain as they adopt media tablets and other mobile PC alternatives as their primary mobile device."

Consumer enthusiasm for media tablets is a key factor in Gartner's forecast that the consumer mobile PC market will remain weak, especially in mature markets. Consumer substitution of media tablets for mobile PCs already appears to be impacting mobile PC shipments in mature markets. In addition, consumers seem to taking a "wait and see" attitude toward netbooks as they anticipate the arrival of new media tablets during the rest of 2011.

Discuss in Digital Home's Computing Forum .