Money that Intel has diverted to notebook manufacturers to stimulate demand for the machines is set to dry up next year.
That’s according to Taiwanese government quango Market Intelligence and Consulting (MIC), which also predicts the PC industry will flatline or even fall during the year.
Analyst Charles Chou told the Taipei Times that firms that got subsidies from Intel in an attempt to push notebook sales will find themselves out of pocket when Intel cancels the subsidies. He said that the only growth areas were likely to be Chromebooks and sales of machines to educational markets.
But in brighter news he said that we’ll all see more affordable 4K LCD TVs in 2015. He expects that the market wordwide will hit close to 30,000 units.
But if you don’t want a 40-inch or above LCD TV, the news is not too bright. 32-inch panels don’t have big margins and the manufacturers are concentrating their efforts on making ever bigger LCD TVs, in a pursuit of healthier profits.
However, the manufacturers can’t pull the plug on 32-inch or smaller LCD TVs because people in many countries don’t have the money to spend on mega TVs.
It’s also likely they don’t have the space, either.
There’s darkness at the end of the tunnel for vendors of notebooks, it appears.
Digitimes Research said that while notebook sales in 2014 fell by 2.1 percent in 2014, next year isn’t going to be too brilliant either.
It expects a further decline of 1.7 percent worlldwide in 2015, with shipments amounting to 168 million units.
The research outfit said that Microsoft Windows 10 is unlikely to bump up demand and efforts made by Microsoft to stimulate demand by reducing licensing fees aren’t going to turn things round.
It predicts declines in shipments of notebooks all the way through to 2018.
But every cloud has a silver lining because at least it will mean the price of notebooks will fall in 2015, partly due to Microsoft’s cunning plan to make machines with 11.6-inch notebooks sell for under 2015.
Chromebooks are expected to make additional depradations on the traditional Wintel notebook.
Notebooks using the conventional Wintel model seem to be past history, but Chromebooks are selling like there’s no tomorrow.
That’s the conclusion of research by ABI Research, which said that shipments of Chromebooks soared by 67 percent in a quarter.
Acer is the top dog in the sector, followed by Samsung and HP – those three accounted for 74 percent of shipment share during the first half of this year. That isn’t going to change in the second half of this year, said ABI.
So-called vertical markets like schools are a driving force, and Chromebooks also sell well in emerging markets. But ABI said that North America will account for 78 percent of the Chromebook market and other regions such as Asia Pacific and Western Europe are set to grow shipment market share over the next five years.
Stephanie Van Vactor, an analyst at ABI, said that while Chromebooks might be a temporary fad like the netbook, but the price and design mean that it’s attractive to the world+dog.
“People are hungry for a product that is cost effective but also provide the versatility and functionality of a laptop,” she said.
A report said Microsoft is cutting the licence cost on Windows 8.1 in a bid to offer notebooks costing $250 or less.
Digitimes Research said manufacturers will be offered Windows 8.1 with Bing with a tentative release date of February next year.
Microsoft has the problem that people who already produce notebooks running the Windows 8.1 operating system can’t compete with tablets at retail prices of $250 or lower. So it is aiming to mollify its partners by limiting the cheap version to notebooks with screen sizes 14-inches and below.
That’s unlikely to mollify manufacturers of notebooks – their margins are already cut to the bone.
Microsoft has been pursuing this strategy since the Computex show in June last year, but so far there hasn’t been much sign of progress. It is worried about Google with its Chromebook device but Microsoft’s core revenues depend on fat Windows licensing fees.