Smartphones and tablets are expected to surpass notebooks as the best-selling items at Commart Thailand 2013, the country's biggest IT trade show.
A model shows Bluetooth speakers that allow wireless streaming of music and sound from smartphones and Bluetooth-enabled devices as part of Commart Thailand 2013 at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center on Thursday. SOMCHAI POOMLARD
For the first time in 13 years, the two upstart gadget types will lead the market, said Pathom Indarodom, chief executive of fair organiser ARiP Plc.
Smartphones and tablets this year occupy 30% of the total display area, up from 10% previously.
Notebooks now take up 50% of the space, down from 70%. The remaining space is shared by accessories, smart TVs and edutainment products.
Smart TV sets that support the coming digital standard are available at the event.
Mr Pathom estimates sales from the four-day fair will be 3 billion baht.
The fair runs until Sunday at Bangkok's Queen Sirikit National Convention Center and features the latest gadgets and accessories as well as bargain products from leading suppliers.
Notebook vendors are slashing prices at the fair to boost sales.
For example, a Windows 8 touch-screen notebook saw its price cut to 17,900 baht, down from 35,000-38,000 baht at launch in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Hewlett-Packard (Thailand) is selling its latest Touchsmart Sleekbook equipped with Windows 8 and Core i3 processor for 19,990 baht, while Dell Thailand is offering a model with Core i3 processor for 17,900 baht.
Acer Computer (Thailand) has a Windows 8 notebook with touch-screen-based display equipped with a Pentium processor for 15,900 baht and a Core i5 for 17,900 baht.
Takon Niyomthai, country manager for Toshiba's IT division, said notebooks priced below 15,000 baht will be overtaken by tablets.
"The notebook equipped with Core i5 processor at 17,000-22,000 baht will be the most popular among users this year," he said.
Pornthep Watchara-amnouy, managing director of Asustek Computer, said tablets will replace notebooks priced below 20,000 baht for consumers who need multimedia usage.
The best-selling notebooks this year will be 22,000-25,000 baht with a long battery life and thinner profile, he said.
Tablet sales in Thailand, including for the One Tablet Per Child scheme, are expected to reach 3.5 million units, with notebook sales hitting 2.3 million.
Mr Pornthep said computer makers and resellers should be careful when importing notebooks to avoid a glut.