Industry analyst Gartner reports that the globe's major PC builders have shipped more laptops than desktop PCs for the first time.

The data signals a growing change in the buying habits of consumers - a trend for compact all-in-one systems that will doubtless transfer across to shoppers in Europe.

Everybody wants a laptop these days

It's no real surprise either. Today's dual-core notebooks can now easily match many desktop systems for both power and performance. Laptop computers are no longer the must-have accessory for business commuters. Many home buyers now don't see the need for a traditional desk-bound computer and laptop prices are becoming ludicrously low.

According to the Gartner report, 68.5 million desktops and laptops were shipped in the third quarter of 2007. It's a 14.4 percent increase compared to the same period last year

"Back-to-school sales were a major growth factor in mature regions," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner's Client Computing Markets group. "US sales were softer than expected," he added. "The popularity of mobile PCs in the home market continues to propel growth."

Who rolls out the most hardware? The global top five is as follows: HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba.