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PC shipments estimated to grow 4.4 percent in 2012

by Alistair Lowe on 16 March 2012, 10:12

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According to the latest forecast by Gartner Inc. PC shipments are set to see higher growth over the next two years, with 2012 hopefully witnessing shipments increasing by 4.4 per cent.

PC sales have been weak over the past few years, with the loss of momentum attributed in-part to issues in component supply, such as hard disk shortages caused by the recent floods in Thailand, however primarily, poor sales have been attributed to the change in consumer dynamics, with an ever increasing focus on portable computing.

Tablets are the primary market up-setter, with their trend to continue with the arrival of more powerful tablets, Android 5.0 and Windows 8 later this year, however, it's hoped that the uptake of Windows 8 on new Ultrabooks will help to attract consumers back towards the PC market and, as Microsoft demonstrated at its unveiling of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, system manufacturers are doing their best to rejuvenate PC designs with new approaches to touch-screen, gestures, NFC and simply more attractive form factors.

Gartner believes that, to what extent the PC market can recover lost ground, will come down to just how well new systems will be able to re-excite punters and how well these products are able to differentiate themselves from tablet offerings.

“Moreover, we expect the shift to the personal cloud will also accelerate as consumers increasingly adopt cloud-based services as part of their digital ecosystem,” stated Mr. Atwal, research director at Gartner. “The evolution of the personal cloud will challenge vendors across all mobile devices markets and add to the hurdles for PC vendors to overcome to revive the PCs and differentiate them from tablets. The creation of content capabilities of PCs may not be enough to counteract the better content consumption capabilities of media tablets.”

We can certainly understand Gartner's concern, however, if you took an Ultrabook, such as the recently announced 20mm-thick Acer Timeline Ultra M3 and, added the ability to rotate the screen, we could certainly see the appeal, a system able to play modern games at high settings, DVD playback, instant-on with up to an 8-hour battery life, a keyboard paired with fully-functional x86 Windows yet with tablet-like functionality and there's a compelling product right there. Given that in the future we may also see Kinect interfaces and NFC on Ultrabooks, we suspect they'll play a highly competitive role in the market towards the end of this year and throughout 2013.

“Emerging markets are key to driving worldwide PC growth in both the short and long-term, and our expectation is that 2012 and then 2013 onwards will be supported by growth in emerging markets as their share increases from just over 50 percent in 2011 to nearly 70 percent in 2016,” said Mr. Atwal. “Emerging markets have very low PC penetration and even with the availability of other devices we still expect a steady uptake of PCs."


HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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Fine to use W8 on Ultrabooks but the feedback I am getting and seeing on the W8 beta release does not bode well for a successful future for 8 beyond the hand portable market. Windows 7 is still the version of choice and likely to remain so, imhp.
Win8 sucks and businesses won't touch it unless they get downgrade rights like everyone did with Dell PC2 for years during the visra fiasco. All this crap will do is drive more Joe Sixpack types to ipads and ICS devices.

We tried Win8 on a Touchsmart at the office the other day, just to see what using w8 in an office tool is really like. The whole thing just annoyed us, even the pro-tablet jockeys. Typical office user A wants to get a new program started, has to jump back to Metro - are you REALLY going to move your hands away from mouse and keyboard for a few secs just to do the ipad-wannabe swipe motion? No. Maybe a couple fo times for the gimmick factor. Then it gets old. Simply annoying, even with ribbonised office 2010. Win8 under the hood is otehrwise quite good - i'd be really up for it if it wasn't for Metro. MS just killed the windows PC as the default computing device.