Tag: acer

Notebook shipments creep up

notebooksSales of notebooks in the third quarter of this year are only up by 2.6 percent compared to the same quarter last year, despite bullish talk by vendors like Microsoft and Intel.

Digitimes Research said shipments for the calendar third quarter amounted to 45.198 million units, with HP being the top dog worldwide.

HP had a market share of 21 percent, Lenovo 20.9 percent, Dell 12.5 percent, Acer 9.7 percent, Apple 8.5 percent, Asustek 8.3 percent and Toshiba 6.2 percent, the Taiwanese research unit estimated.

These of course are the brand names, but many of the notebooks are made by original design manufacturers (ODMs) based in Taiwan.  These ODMs accounted for a significant 36,958 notebooks in the quarter.

The ODM battle is fought between Compal (34.5%), Wistron (15.7%), Inventec (6.7%) and Pegatron (5.7%).

Digitimes Research also breaks out the shipments in terms of screen sizes with 8.2 percent being sub 12 inch models, 13 percent 12 inch notebooks, 13 percent 13 inch units, 22.7 percent 14 inch units, 47.2 percent 15 inch notebooks and 6.1 percent 16 inches and above.

The market research unit does not, however, appear to have provided figures for touch and non touch screen machines.

Kaveri makes this Acer Aspire E5 sing

Acer E5-551_1AMD has been making a big noise about its Kaveri chip range of Mobile APUs and we got a look at what it could do to Acer E5-551 15.6 laptop.

AMD A-Series APU family, codenamed Kaveri, is starting to pop up in systems from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba. According to AMD, the new mobile APUs mark the debut of Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) features and Graphics Core Next (GCN) Architecture for mobile. Acer’s Aspire E5 is first to arrive in the UK and will be sold through Debenhams so this makes it interesting from a user or a channel perspective.

The AMD A8 Kaveri chip is now powering the new Acer E5-551 laptop is designed for multi-tasking from gaming and light photo-editing to running multiples instances of software and streaming music. The E5-551 features a DVD reader and writer for long plane flights where you need a better movie. It is also well placed for the school market as it can practically anything a school kid could throw at it.

The machine is priced for about £409 which makes it a good budget model for smaller companies who are providing portables for those who have to do work, rather than just look at tablets. Normally there is not much between computers in this range. Most have WXGA screens based on TN technology and conventional hard drives and plastic bodies.

 Acer E5-551_9The Spec

Processor: AMD Quad-Core A8-7100

Mainboard: AMD A76M

Memory: 8192 MB, DDR3L, 1600 MHz, dual-channel, 2 memory banks, both filled

Graphics adapter :AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri), Core: 533 MHz, DDR3L, shared memory, bus: 64 Bit

Display: 15.6 inch 16:9, 1366×768 pixel, AU Optronics AUO47EC, TN LED

Connections2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 1 combo audio in/out, 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC,

Networking: Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Atheros Communications AR9565 Wireless Network Adapter (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth

Optical drive: Matshita DVD-RAM UJ8E2Q

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit

Weight: 2.5 kg

Battery: 56 Wh Lithium-Ion

 Acer E5-551_10Design

The Aspire A5 design is, bluntly, a bit of a snooze and not its strongest feature. Certainly, it is thinner than many laptops in this range but it is not that thin. It is lighter and easy to carry than others we have had. Certainly in comparison to the bricks that are available in this price range it is certainly not bad. Besides, for £409 design is something that happens to other people’s computer.

The plastic case also seems to pick up every type of grease that a hand can generate and make the machine slimy.

 The chip

The important part of this computer is an AMD Quad-Core A8-7100 which is a quad core with eight GPU cores to carry out the AMD Radeon R7 series graphics. The idea of the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) is that it allows the CPU and GPU to work together by quickly dividing and directing the right tasks toward the appropriate cores to improve performance and efficiency. The chip managed to make running software a breeze and it even passed our Firefox running trillions of opens tabs trick without any problems.

 The Graphics

The graphics on the Kaveri platform is far better than Intel’s equivalent HD graphics cores integrated into the Haswell chips. This makes Kaveri armed laptop owners able to play reasonably demanding games and videos. Playing Civ 5 was not only possible it was a quality game on Acer E5-551, something that I have only seen on our other home laptop, which has a dedicated card, when there was nothing else running. HD films came out very well, limited only by the screen which for a budget machine was still not too bad.

Connectivity

The machine has an HDMI socket, Ethernet connection, two USB 2.0 sockets, a USB 3.0 connection and a VGA out.  Not bad not great.

Communication

The Atheros AR9565 Wi-Fi module supports the IEEE 901.11 b, g and n standards,  Bluetooth, version 4.0. The signal connections were fairly standard and nothing to right home about

Battery

The 56 Wh Lithium-Ion managed 4.5 half hours before needing a recharge, which was not too bad given the thrashing we were giving it.  Again, this is due to the lower power draw of the AMD A8 chip.

Noise and heat

There was no noise coming from the machine at all. This was unheard of in any laptop in this price range, particularly one with an ordinary hard drive. One could almost believe it is fanless. The heat levels were also not to bad.  The laptop did get warm, but not hot and was comfortable to put on your lap.

Keyboard

The flat, roughened keys were not bad and were capable of fast touch typing.

Touchpad

The ClickPad which is a large, single-surface which you press when you want to ‘click’ was reasonable in comparison to the alternatives we have used.  Generally, if you are not going to have a touch screen on a laptop you are always going to be better with a mouse. When such use was impossible though once you got used to it was fine. Most of the touchpad surface can be pressed, which is interpreted as a left click except for in the lower right of the Clickpad.

 Hard-drive

The hard drive is 1TB which is more than enough for any portable music or movie collection.  It is not an SSD but we never heard it in operation.

Summery

The Acer E5-551 would be a normal budget laptop where it not for the Kaveri chip making it into something special. It enabled speed, enhanced graphics, extended battery life, and quiet operation something which we have not seen from Intel equivalents in the market.  It is still a budget machine, limited by the lack of a quality screen, but for that price it it is jolly useful.

The Eyes have it

four-stars

 

 

 

Good value for money.

 

PC shipments in Europe “stabilise”

european-commissionA report from market research firm IDC said there are indications that shipments of PCs in the European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) stabilised in the first quarter of this year.

21.8 million units shipped in EMEA, a decline of 1.1 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

But Western Europe showed a growth of 8.6 percent, spurred by business demand.  If that percentage is taken as a pie, commerical units showed an increase of 15.1 percent, while the retail market showed growth of 2.1 percent.

It’s the end of support for Windows XP that drove the rebound, according to Chrystelle Labesque of IDC.  And companies have started to invest in IT again, she said.  There is more business confidence.  Neverless, the overall PC market in central and eastern Europe and in the Middle East and Africa showed a year on year decline of 12 percent.

HP did well, as did Lenovo, while Dell was in third place and Acer in fourth place.  Asus took the fifth place.

PC market falls again

IBMoldThe news for resellers specialising in the PC business in western Europe continues to be gloomy, apart from those specialising in the enterprise sector.

Gartner issued a report that said the market fell in western Europe by four percent in the last quarter of 2013.

And it’s all PC segments.  Mobile and desktop PC shipments fell by 6.5 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.  Sales to enterprises fell by 1.7 percent while sales of PCs to individual people fell by seven percent.

However, it’s not all bad news. Gartner said that large corporations are switching away from Windows XP – support from Microsoft ceases in April.

HP is the number one player, followed by Lenovo, Acer, Asus, and Apple. The total number of PCs shipped in Q4 2013 amounted to 14,671,825.

PC shipments in the UK amounted to 2.9 million units in the quarter, down 6.7 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012.

Mobile shipments fell 10 percent.

HP, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba and Apple were the top five vendors in the UK for the quarter.

Tablet sales soared in last quarter

ipad 3Rather as expected, global tablet shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013 showed a 29.8 percent rise compared to the same quarter a year before.

That’s according to the research wing of Digitimes, which thinks 78.45 million units shipped during the period.

But the research doesn’t spell particularly good news for Apple.  It hogs 29.7 percent of shipments, other vendors account for 36.6 percent, while white box units represent 33.8 percent of the market.

According to Digitimes Research, the Android OS represent 51.2 percent of shipments, Apple’s iOS 44.9 percent and Microsoft Windows based tablets a trifling 3.9 percent.

Breaking the market share out, the research showed Apple at 29.7 percent, Samsung 17.4 percent, Amazon 5.4 percent, Lenovo 4.2 percent.  Acer, Dell and HP trailed with market shares of one percent or below.

Acer turns in big loss

acer-w3Taiwanese PC maker Acer said that it lost $274 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

That includes a chunk of money set aside to pay for depreciated stock as well as a provision of money to lay off seven percent of its staff worldwide. Executives will have to endure a 30 percent reduction in their salaries from now on.

Acer has brought in retired founder Stan Shih in a bid to turn the company around – its sales fell by 16.2 percent in 2013 compared to the year before.

Most of its woes are caused by the decline in PC sales, and it appears from the stock write-off that applies to Windows based touch notebooks.

Acer turns to cloud for inspiration

acer-logo-ceTroubled Taiwanese PC manufacturer Acer believes its future lies in the cloud.

Acer has been hit by the general decline of PC sales and recently Stan Shih, its founder, was hauled out of retirement while a number of senior executives clocked out of the operation.

According to Taiwanese wires, Acer’s spanking new CEO, Jason Chen, told journos at a press conference that it would concentrate on a concept called “Build your own Cloud”.

That, according to Acer, is different from private clouds which use public clouds, really.

Acer will weld the build your own cloud concept to tablets, to PCs and and to notebooks.

And, this is not an April Fool’s joke, it will raise salaries on the 1st of April and give year end bonuses but not performance bonuses, said Digitimes.

Acer takes axe to management

acer-logo-ceStan Shih, who came out of retirement to rescue Acer from its parlous state, has apparently been busy since his return.

Smartphone supremo Chen Guowei has apparently left Acer to spend more time with his family.  Guowei was in charge of Acer’s business unit in mainland China.

And the net has spread wider, according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, the head of EMEA operations, Walter Deppeler, is set to leave the company too.

The company plans to cut as many as seven percent of its global workforce.  Like other PC manufacturers, Acer has been hit by a drop in demand for X86 based systems and a widespread move to smartphones and tablets that aren’t Acer tablets.

Stan Shih returns in Acer reshuffle

Acer's Stan ShihThe founder of Acer – Stan Shih – has returned to the company he founded as chairman and interim president.

That follows CEO and chairman JT Wang stepping down, along with president Jim Wong.

Acer has been particularly hard hit by the slump in PC sales over several quarters and we guess the return of Shih is seen by the board as giving the company’s fortunes a blip.

Shih saw Acer’s fortunes rise during the 1990s as he turned the company from yet another PC manufacturer to become a global player competing with the likes of Dell, HP and Lenovo.

He retired some years ago and observers see little respite in PC performance as people move away from notebooks to tablets and smartphones.

Acer down: CEO quits

acer-logo-ceAfter turning in a net loss for its third financial quarter, Acer’s CEO and chairman JT Wang three himself on his sword.

The company turned in a net loss of NT$12.949 billion and attributed much of the shortfall to its Gateway, Packard Bell and Founder brands, according to a report on Taiwanese wire Digitimes.

Wang will remain as chairman until June 2014 but his job as CEO goes now to Jim Wong, corporate president of Acer.

Acer had a gross margin of 6.81 percent for the quarter. It’s very exposed to the downturn at the consumer end of the PC market.

That is  underlined by the news it shipped 1.4 million notebooks in October, down 10 percent from September. Digitimes again reported that much of that was due to labour shortages in China, where much of its kit is manufactured.

Microsoft is damaged – report

Windows 8.1 is unlikely to save Microsoft’s bacon and slowness in delivering an adequate OS has damaged its reputation, a report suggests.

According to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, unnamed sources in the supply chain are suggesting that there will be little or no improvement in the PC market not only this year, but into next year too.

It isn’t all Microsoft’s fault, however.  Sales of PCs are in decline because people are using tablets and smartphones more.

Even though the unnamed sources think that things are looking gloomy, nevertheless a number of vendors including HP, Lenovo, Acer and Asustek are introducing devices tailored to Windows 8.1, says Digitimes, here.

Intel’s Q3 shows a profit dip

Brian KrzanichA UK executive at Intel once pointed out to me that a billion of anything is a lot of something.

And Intel released its third quarter results late yesterday evening, turning in a net profit of $2.95 billion, down from the same quarter last year of $2.97 billion. The Q3 net profit is based on sales of $13.48 billion but turned in a gross profit margin of 62.4 percent.

Intel expects the fourth quarter to be flat, but claimed at an analyst conference after its results were released that there are signs of an uptick in the X86 market.

Its customers, including giants like Dell, HP and Acer, and industry analysts such as Gartner and IDC may beg to differ that the PC market is recovering.

Meanwhile the chip behemoth admitted that sales to consumers continued to be sluggish. Right now the firm’s strength seems to be in the server market, where margins are high.

Brian Krzanich, Intel’s CEO, needs to do something to address the company’s so far woeful performance in tablets and smartphones. Most handset makers use chips based on ARM technology which are far cheaper than Intel processors.

While Intel has been a leader in process technology, it is having trouble getting the right yields on 14 nanometre technology – and it admitted as much last night.

PC market continues to be weak

IDC graphIDC released figures estimating that worldwide PC shipments accounted for 81.6 million units in Q3 of 2013 – that’s a drop of 7.6 percent, compared to the previous year.

But IDC said it had expected a decline of 9.5 percent for the quarter.  It said that shipments were weak in the early part of the quarter but business buys and channel intake of Windows 8.1 based systems happened in September.

IDC said emerging markets continued to be weak, while the channel and vendors were stock heavy on Ivy Bridge systems and eroded by lower priced smartphones and tablets.

Upgrades from Windows XP boosted shipments in the enterprise desktop section.

Rajani Singh, senior research analyst at IDC, said that the US market hasn’t changed that much. There may be a small increase in the fourth quarter, he said. But that will be followed “by a challenging 2014”.

In EMEA the PC market continued to decline with weak consumer demand a shift to tablets.  The channel maintained lean inventories during the period.

The only bright light were “pockets of investments” despite companies still being reluctant to spend any money.

Lenovo is the top vendor and is expanding into the channel, while HP and Dell were numbers two and three.  Acer and Asus both were weakened by lack of spend by consumers. Asus doesn’t have a significant corporate user base.

Acer shuffles UK GM, North Europe ops

acer-logo-ceTop notebook peddler Acer has chosen Marco Andresen as general manager in the UK, replacing Neil Marshall who was promoted to looking after North Europe operations.

Both Andresen and Marshall will cooperate on their current and new positions frmo 1 November, 2013.

Andresen is marketing director for the Nordics and country manager for Acer Sweden. He previously held biz dev and marketing roles at retailer Media Markt, as well as HP and IBM.

“The UK is a critically important market for us and one of the most competitive,” Andresen said.

Cheap tablets are getting even cheaper

cheap-tabletsNow that even grocers are targeting the 7-inch tablet segment, the dog eat dog of cheap tablets is getting even more brutal. Chinese white-box players are further cutting their prices, according to channel sources cited by Digitimes.

A quick glance at tablet prices in the UK and the continent reveals that there are already heaps of tablets priced at £99 or less, with some truly cheap models going for as little as £49.

What’s more, some big vendors like Asus, Acer and Lenovo also have products at or close to the £99 mark and let’s not forget Tesco’s impressive Hudl, which is priced at £119 yet it features a much better screen than similarly priced tablets.

Google and Amazon had a thing or two to do with this trend. The Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 series of tablets reinvented the £199 space last year, so quite a few companies introduced similar products and similar price points. As a result, the white-box crowd has no choice but to run for the hills, or in this case for the bargain bin.

This doesn’t appear to bode well for big brands. It was recently reported that Google was forced to slash orders for the second generation Nexus 7 due to soft demand. People who want cheap tablets seem to be going after even cheaper models and the £/$199 price point is now practically reserved for high-end 7-inch tablets.

In addition, the market share of small white-box outfits is going up, from 26 percent in Q2 2012 to 39 percent in Q2 2013. The top five brands are losing share, but if the prices of entry level Asus, Acer and Lenovo tablets are anything to go by – they are not far behind in the race to the bottom.