Market research firm Gartner underlined buoyant Intel results earlier this week by saying the PC industry has had its third consecutive quarter of double digit growth rates.

But the mini-notebook, a newly fledged little creature, has entered a mature growth stage, the analyst in charge of the report said.

Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said that worldwide PC shipments hit 82.9 million units in the second calendar quarter of 2010, amounting to a 20.7 percent increase compared to the same quarter in 2009.

While average selling prices (ASPs) continued to fall, they fell more slowly, so defying the law of gravity.

Kitagawa said that shipments of netbooks - or mini notebooks as Gartner calls them - fell significantly during Q2 2010. While growth still was above the overall mobile PC market, it fell to the 20 percent range compared to 70 percent in the previous two calendar quarters. "This slowdown indicates that mini-notebooks are entering a mature growth stage," she said.

While Hewlett Packard remained the leading worldwide company in shipments of PCs, its growth rate didn't match the rest of the industry as it refused to get entangled in price wars in Asia Pacific. Instead, it sought to protect its margins. HP also "underperformed" in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), failing to sell notebooks into the commercial space.

Acer stormed on and Dell hit its second quarter showing double digit growth. Dell is still weak selling into the consumer market. Lenovo made aggressive pricing movements, but Asus had the strongest growth rate in the top five. It squared the circle by a mixture of standard notebooks for better margins and sales of netbooks.

The figures below, courtesy of Gartner, show units shipped in the second quarter of 2010 in thousands of units.

Vendor
Q210 ship
Q210 share
Q209 ship
Q209 share
YoY growth
HP
14,455.2
17.4%
12,869
18.8%
12.3%
Acer
10,796
13%
8,203.4
12%
31.6%
Dell
10,283.2
12.4%
8,644.2
12.6%
19%
Lenovo
8,310.8
10%
5,645.8
8.2%
47.2%
Asus
4,317.9
5.2%
2,419.2
3.5%
78.5%
Toshiba
4,222.3
5.1%
3,312.5
4.8%
27.5%
Others
30,481.8
36.8%
27,537.4
40.1%
10.7%
Total
82,867.2
100%
68,631.5
100%
20.7%

* IDC also issued its analysis of the second quarter - the figures are roughly analogous to Gartner's but IDC puts growth at 22 percent for the quarter.