Category: Laptops

Germany takes the lead in 2-in-1 market

German coat of armsMany analysts are predicting that 2-in-1 devices – that is to day PCs with detachable screens – are showing strong signs of growth.

And now IDC said that figures it has obtained will show that by the end of this year Germany will be the biggest 2-in-1 market in Western Europe. Its projections estimate that nearly 800,000 devices will ship to Germany by the end of this year.

IDC said volumes of 2-in-1s in the country have grown by 30 percent compared to last year, but demand for these devices has exceeded predictions.

And it’s not only ordinary people that are buying these devices but enterprises too, according to IDC. Chrystelle Labesque, a research manager at IDC Europe said: “2-in-1s are the only [PC] product category with a positive outlook over the next four years. This is due to an acceleration of the mobility trend, driven by increasing digitalisation of business processes in German companies and by the release of Windows 10.”

Windows 10, she said, has the potential to solve integration problems with existing IT infrastructures.

Unlike other territories, IDC said that Samsung beats Apple in the smartphone and tablet market with a third of total shipments.

Asustek notebook shipments plummet

elepantsAsustek shipped just  4.3 million notebooks in the second quarter, down from 4.8 million units in the first quarter and 4.6 million units in the second quarter of 2014.

Still notebooks did better than Asustek’s desktop shipments which were were only 500,000 units, 100,000 units lower than a quarter ago.

The company wants to maintain its notebook shipments at above 20 million units a year and has been launching new notebooks such as ultra-thin high-spec ZenBooks, high price-performance ratio T100 series devices and its latest gaming models, looking to shore up demand.

Asustek expects its notebook shipments to rise back to 4.8 million units in the third quarter, while desktop shipments will also increase to 600,000 units.

By the end of 2017, Asustek’s revenues from mobile devices will eclipse PCs and its mobile device business’ profitability will also catch up with that of the PC, helping to reduce the company’s dependence on PC products.

Asustek’s ZenBook and gaming notebook series together contribute 20 per cent of the company’s overall revenues and the percentage is expected to continue to expand to help the two product lines become main profit contributors in the second half.

Tablet sales have fallen fast. Asustek shipped one million tablets in the second quarter, with the company’s tablet shipments in the first half totalling 2.5 million units. Last year it flogged 4.1 million units in the first half of last year.

This has not stopped Asustek being optimistic about tablets. It said that its third-quarter tablet shipments to rise to 1.8 million units with the launch of its ZenPad series. Asustek maintains its annual shipment goal of seven million tablets in 2015 and the business will achieve a break-even performance in the year.

Asustek is also pushing into the enterprise tablet market. The ZenPad series will mostly adopt Intel’s platforms. Meanwhile, the LTE-supported models will use Qualcomm chips.

Q3 notebook shipments to fall sharply

Dell logoTaiwan accounts for 81.6 percent of the notebooks that ship worldwide and it appears that the downward trend of sales will continue throughout this year.

The prediction comes in the wake of results from CPU manufacturers Intel and AMD this week, and certainly means that other component suppliers are feeling the squeeze.

Digitimes Research (DR) predicts that over 32 million notebooks will ship during the third calendar quarter – that’s down by 12.2 percent on the same calendar quarter last year.

The third quarter was traditionally a buoyant period for notebook sales, but that pattern seems to have been disrupted.

DR said that of the 32 million shipping, HP will be the biggest customer responsible for a quarter of shipments, Dell 17 percent, Apple 14.3 percent, Asustek 11.2 percent, Acer 10.9 percent, Lenovo 10.6 percent and Toshiba 4.4 percent.

The biggest original design manufacturer (ODM) will be Quanta, then Compal, Wistron, Pegatron and Inventec. Of these, Quanta and Compal have 32.8 percent and 31.9 percent of the ODM market, said Digitimes Research.

PC makers despondent about Windows 10

windows-10-start-menu-customised-live-tilesIn a day when Microsoft is to announce more job cuts in its hardware and smartphone division, it seems that the upcoming Windows 10 won’t offer light at the end of the tunnel for the software behemoth.

The companies that make PCs, largely in Asia, don’t seem to think that the introduction of Windows 10 at the end of this month is going to boost their sales figures.

According to a report in Taiwanese wire Digitimes, the original development manufacturers (ODMs) don’t think Windows 10 will cut the mustard and won’t go down a storm with either individual buyers or commercial enterprises.

The wire said that “many” ODMs aren’t happy about the level of orders they’ve received for the second half of this year and think that many people just won’t bother to upgrade. Enterprises generally don’t immediately upgrade to new versions of Windows until they’re sure that the release will be stable.

Many decided to stick with Windows 7 and skip Windows 8.x.

Digitimes said that the channel is currently stuck with large amounts of inventory and the ODMs are not going to contribute to that by speculatively manufacturing notebooks in the hope that Windows 10 will take off.

Microsoft to up Windows licensing fees

Microsoft campusNotebook vendors who have the nerve to sell machines using high end hardware specs are going to have to pay Microsoft for the privilege.

According to a report in Taiwanese wire Digitimes, this is not making the vendors – such as HP, Dell, Acer, and Asustek very happy.

The notebook market is currently faltering as people move to smartphones and to tablets, and margins are already tight for the manufacturers.

But with Windows 10 due out at the end of July, the additional licensing fees that Microsoft will levy will leave the vendors between a rock and a hard place.

Prices are already at rock bottom for many models of Windows based notebooks and the only way the vendors can sell high end models is if they take the hit, as the world+dog won’t way to pay more than they need to for an already expensive machine.

Microsoft is offering free upgrades to Windows 10 for people using Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 in a bid to move minds and hearts of a somewhat disillusioned user base.

The free upgrade will expire after a year, and Microsoft hasn’t yet indicated what it will charge people then.

Chip making and PC figures a load of old Tosh

toshiba-11q4-C655D-S5330-cover-lgThe inquiry into creative accounting at Toshiba has found that the outfit’s semiconductor and PC businesses were also affected by the scandal.

In May, Toshiba set up a third-party committee to expand a probe into other businesses after an internal investigation found “accounting problems” related to infrastructure and construction work.

Although the figures took a bit of a tumble when they were recalculated by someone who was good with numbers few people batted so much as an eyelid.

The Nikkei Business Daily has been asking people in the know and found out that the same creative book-cooking antics had been found in Tosh’s PC and chip making operations.

Finding the same thing in the rest of the business will not only force the Japanese industrial conglomerate to revise down profit further, it shows that the problem is much worse than expected.

So far the “inappropriate book-keeping” had led to profits being overstated by $438 million in recent years.

A Toshiba spokeswoman said the Nikkei report was not based on anything that the company had announced and that the third-party investigation was ongoing.

Hybrid device shipments soar

windows-10-start-menu-customised-live-tilesHybrid devices look set to be the fastest growing segment of the mobile PC market this year.

Gartner is predicting that 21.5 million hybrid devices will ship this year, a rise of 70 percent compared to last year, and accounting for 12 percent of total sales of notebook PCs in 2015.

Of those hybrid devices, eight million are predicted to be ultramobile tablets – that’s “two-in-one” tablets and 13.5 million will be “two-in-one” ad convertible ultramobiles.

But it’s difficult for IT departments to choose hybrid ultramobiles because the PC base predominantly uses Windows 7, and legacy applications don’t use touch. Tracy Tsai, a research director at Gartner, believes this might change when Windows 10 becomes popular in businesses.

The leading vendor supplying hybrid devices is Lenovo, which has 41 percent market share, while Asus and HP are also contenders. But so too is Microsoft, which held a 36 percent market share last year, said Tsai.

PCs continue to fail

IBM PCFigures from IDC showed that the market for PCs in the Middle East and African (MEA) market continued to fall.

Its latest figures showed that in the first quarter of this year, sales fell by 9.6 percent compared to the same quarter last year, with only 4.3 million units shipped.

But the decline is a little more complicated than people getting bored of PCs. IDC thinks the “poor performance” is because of currency changes in some regions and also the instability caued by global oil prices.

Laptops fell by 9.4 percent to 2.7 million units. Desktop shipments fell by 10 percent, to 1.6 million units.

Fouad Charakla, research manager for PCs said that important markets like Nigeria, Turkey, Egypt and Algeria all faltered mainly because of currency fluctuations. Turkey, however, was hit “inventory pile ups” from the previous quarter.

HP is number one in the market, followed by Lenovo and Dell. But Toshiba – which is in fourth place – fell by a precipitous 34.3 percent.

IDC thinks that the MEA PC market will continue to fall in 2015 by an estimated 4.8 percent, year on year.

And IDC is predicting that the market between 2019 will stay flat. Commercial outfits will stay loyal to the X86 standard, but ordinary people will buy tablets and smartphones.

Solid state drives become affordable

indian-driverless-carDuring this year solid state drives (SSDs) in notebooks will achieve 40 percent market penetration.

That’s according to Taiwanese analysts at Trendforce, which sai that prices of SSDs are falling so much that it’s become affordable to use them in notebooks rather than traditional whirring hard drives.

For example, Trendforce said the contract price for 128GB drives fell to $50 in the second quarter and their grown up relations, 256GB drives, are only $90.

Vendors are beginning to produce next generation 3D NAND flash products during the course of this year and Trendforce estimates penetration will be as much as 50 percent by 2017.

One manufacturer in particular – Samsung – is setting the pace by aggressively its flash based products and its drives are being used more and more in notebook machines.

There also appears to be a change in interface between the drives and the host machine, with more vendors using high speed serial PCIe rather than S-ATA 3.0. Apple has already made the switch. Others are sure to follow.

Race to win Chromebook share hots up

GoogleA report said that at least six 2-in-1 Chromebooks will launch this year and they’ll all be aimed at the non educational markets.

According to Digitimes Research, Lenovo, Asustek, Google, HP and Acer will take the market on in the second half of this year.

Google doesn’t mind competing with its customers.

The report said that it will introduce two Chromebooks – one for the entry level and one for the high level, with shipments starting in the third quarter of this year.

Digitimes Research said the high end machine will have a 12.85 inch display and be powered with a Tegra 6 microprocessor. The low end model will have a 10.1-inch display and use Rockhip.

The analysts believe that Google wants to compete with Apple’s 12-inch iPad.

No details are yet available of prices, but it’s obvious that Apple won’t be too worried about the arrival of the Chromebooks, while Microsoft is bound to be somewhat concerned.