Tag: IHS

Smartwatches to steal the day

fobwatchThe jury is still out on whether smartwatches will storm the market but if one research outfit is to be believed, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

IHS, a market research company based in the USA, says revenues for smartwatches will be worth around $300 million this year and predicts a rise of 80 percent annually for “at least” four more years to come.

IHS claims the market will be worth around $23 billion by 2023, with shipments of 800 million units – compared to 54 million this year. Those optimistic figures are fuelled by the belief that we’ll see better resolution and colour displays in years to come.

Sweta Dash, who analyses displays at IHS, believes that fashion will drive sales.  “Wearables are best viewed as functional fashion accessories rather than as electronic goods.  Because the fashion accesory market is determined by design rather than by simple function, wearable products such as smartwatches must be adapable to various forms including squares, circles, or even ovals.”

Battery power is important too.

But Dash sounds a word of caution in what otherwise is a very upbeat report.  “Smartwatches and smart glasses from Google and others are not completely ready for mainstream consumer adoption.” They’re all expensive and won’t make them mass market until prices drop.

Storage sales down in 2013

ihs_storageShipments of storage products fell by five percent last year, said market research company IHS.

However, solid state drive shipments in 2013 doubled and the reason for the decline in the whole sector is because of contractions in the hard drive and optical disk drive sectors.

Shipments of storage including SSDs, conventional hard drives and optical drives totalled 755 million units. HDDs fell by seven percent to 444.4 million units, optical drives fell by 12 percent to 253 million units while SSDs rose by 82 percent to 57 million units, said IHS. The figures do not include non PC related drives.

The convential HDD sector suffered from the increase in the popularity of smartphones and tablets.  However, the enterprise PC sector is more promising than the consumer end of the show.

SSDs are likely to rise by 50 percent during 2014, reaching 189 million units in 2017, which will be half the size of the HDD market which is expected to total 397 million in that year.

Notebook market continues to plunge

notebooksWhile the notebook PC showed sequential growth in the third quarter the news is not good.

That’s according to market research company IHS, which said shipments “plunged” on a year to year basis.

IHS said that mobile PC shipments were 47.9 million worldwide, a rise of six percent from the quarter before. But despite this sequential growth, the market has now shrunk for five consecutive quarters on a year for year basis.

Craig Stice, senior principal analyst at HIS, said: “Amid the onslaught of tablets, the notebook PC market now is desperately seeking any reason for optimism. However, even with a respite from the sequential decline and a few other hopeful developments, the mobile PC business still on track to decline for the full year of 2013.”

He said the global PC market is forecast to fall again this year, repeating its decline in 2012. That was the first decline in 11 years.

Notebook display panel shipments down, down, down

dell-latitude-7000-330pxShipments of LCD panels for notebooks dropped 23 percent in July year-on-year, according to new data from IHS. Eight out of the nine leading PC vendors cut their LCD shipments and total shipments were just 1.49 million units, down from 19.3 million in July 2012. Worse, shipments were down 18 percent sequentially.

The sharp drop can be in part attributed to seasonal trends, but there were a few other factors as well. Demand for new Haswell-based deigns remains soft and the fact that many people are still waiting for Windows 8.1 did not help, either. All this resulted in some inventory problems.

“Notebook brands during the third quarter typically increase their purchases of LCD panels as they prepare to launch new mobile PC models for the second half of the year,” said Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays at IHS. “However, many key brands this year have accumulated large panel inventory surpluses because of weak sales in the first half. This has caused them to reduce purchases in July, leading to major declines in notebook PC panel market shipments both on a sequential and an annual basis.”

Many notebook makers are still sitting on heaps of old displays and they are clearly having a hard time getting rid of them. Acer’s panel orders dropped 53 percent in June, Toshiba was down 43 percent and even mighty Lenovo experienced a 35 percent drop. It did not get any better in July.

IHS expects to see some positive figures in August, as the market should return to sequential growth, but on-year figures won’t look good.

Ultrabooks help SSD sales

ssdSolid-state drives are the new black and they are slowly starting to trickle down into mainstream PCs, thanks to cheaper Ultrabooks and increasing demand for non-enterprise drives. According to research firm IHS, SSD shipments for ultrathin notebooks and Ultrabooks totalled 5.9 million units this year, up from just 1.9 million a year ago.

SSDs are also making their first forays into the tablet sector, with shipments of 1.6 million units, up from 542,000 units last year. If demand for Windows 8 tablets and hybrids ever picks up, SSD deployment will follow suit.

Overall SSD shipments in the first quarter of 2013 amounted to 11.5 million units, up from 6 million in Q1 2012. However, it should be pointed out that IHS did not include shipments of NAND flash components for cache SSD drives and hybrid drives. In contrast, shipments of mechanical drives fell seven percent in Q1 to 135.7 million units, down from 145.5 million a year ago.

“The SSD market enjoyed big results in the first quarter as both the consumer and enterprise markets ramped up their use of machines that made use of the drives,” said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS. “Most notably, SSD attach rates climbed in ultrathin/Ultrabook PCs where SSDs are the de facto storage medium, and also in PC tablets where productivity options differentiate them from media tablets.”

Things could have been even better had Ultrabook sales taken off, but demand remains relatively soft. Hybrids, or 2-in-1s are the new flavour of the day, but analysts aren’t sure they will be a big success, either.

The big winners in Q1 were Samsung, Intel, SanDisk, HGST and newcomers Seagate and LSI.

Sales of slim HDDs are soaring

seagate-hddEarlier this year Seagate and Western Digital introduced a range of 5-millimetre and 7-millimetre HDDs/SSHDs and it appears they will have no shortage of customers. According to IHS, sales of 5- and 7-millimetre drives will soar to 133 million units by 2017, up from just five million last year.

Ultra thin hard drives and hybrid drives are used in Ultrabooks and other thin devices, which are expected to slowly squeeze more traditional form factors out of the consumer market in coming years.

IHS reckons shipments of 9.5mm drives will drop to 79 million units by 2017, down from 245 million in 2012, reports Electronicsfeed.

However, it won’t all be smooth sailing for hard drive makers. Shipments of SSDs are still growing at a fast pace. SSD shipments are projected to climb some 90 percent this year, hitting 64.6 million units, whereas hard drives shipments are slowing down. They are expected to drop five percent to 545.8 million units. Ultra thin hard drives and hybrids will help in the short term, but SSDs will continue to find new markets as prices of NAND drop.

The big hope for hard drive makers is that they will manage to score more design wins with their new thin drives, as they are still a lot cheaper than SSDs. This is where they can expect some help from Microsoft, as Windows 8.x is a lot more bloated than iOS or Android, so there is a chance that cheap Windows hybrids and tablets will have to use mechanical drives, or hybrid drives.

“Both the thinner HDDs along with hybrid HDDs could even start finding acceptance in ultrathin PCs and tablet PCs—two products that now mostly use solid-state drives as their storage element. Hard disks have lost market share to SSDs, which offer better performance and can be more easily used to achieve a thinner and lighter form factor crucial to tablets and ultrathin PCs,” said Fang Zhang, storage systems analyst at IHS.

In the long run, however, hard drives have no place in tablets or hybrids, or 2-in-1s as Intel likes to call them these days. In any case they are a cheap and proven interim alternative, as they will enable vendors to come up with cheaper ultrathin devices before SSD prices come down to acceptable levels.

IHS ups tablet panel shipment forecast

Keep taking the tabletsIHS has increased its forecast for tablet displays by six percent for 2013.

The numbers were boosted by orders from Chinese white-box tablet makers who seem to be growing at a much faster pace than big brands. A total of 262 million displays for tablets should be shipped this year, up from a previous forecast of 246 million units. Looking back at 2012, this represents 69 percent growth. 

SSD sales continue to rise

ssdSolid state drives (SSDs) will account for more than one third of the computer storage market in 2017.

That’s according to IHS research, which says the predicted figure is almost seven times the number of shipments recorded in 2012.

IHS said that total worldwide shipments are expected to increase from 31 million units to 227 million units in the space of five years, forcing down the percentage of the market devoted to hard disk drives; from 94 percent in 2012, hard disk drives are expected to take up just 64 percent of the total market in five years.

The company pointed out that the explosive growth over this period equates to around 48 percent, and will put SSD on the map as a promising substitute for hard disk drives.

It said the rise in the number of SSDs being shipped across the globe had already begun as a result of the demand for ultrabooks and other super-slim laptop models. It said the continued demand over the next few years would drive “demand considerably.”

IHS also pointed out that touchscreen displays were becoming more prominent, and the upcoming Haswell processor created by Intel is set to revolutionise thin computers for consumers.

It said these units demand powerful, versatile and compact drives. Combine this with the price of NAND flash memory drastically decreasing, and the conditions are perfect for a surge in SSDs.

However, the future dominance of the SSD is not all bad news for the trusty hard disk drive. Firstly they were said to have price on their side, proving to be  far cheaper in price than their high-tech competitors.

They also have better storage functionality compared to SSDs.

Demand for SSDs to stay strong

hdd-hugeAlthough the PC market has seen better days, shipments of solid state drives are expected to grow more than 600 percent by 2017, according to the latest figures released by IHS. However, even at this rate, two thirds of PCs shipped in 2017 will still have mechanical hard drives, although many of them will probably be hybrids. 

PC SSD shipments are expected to hit 227 million units in 2017, up from 31 million last year.

Hard drive shipments will drop to 410 million by 2017, down 14 percent from 475 million in 2012. In just five short years SSDs will claim 36 percent of the market, up from just six percent last year. HDDs will account for the remaining 64 percent, but memory makers stand to cash in from them as well, as hybrid drives hit the market in ever increasing numbers.

The driving force behind the SSD boom will be ultrabooks and other ultrathin devices. IHS analyst Fang Zhang believes ultrabooks and ultrathins, combined with touch screens and convertible form factors, will become very compelling machines, designed to lure consumers away from smartphones and tablets.

Of course, none of this is possible without more consumer interest. Although enthusiasts have been buying SSDs for years, the standard PC box buyer doesn’t care too much about the latest storage technology, which is still too pricey for mainstream adoption. Ultrabooks are slowly changing the public perception of SSDs are geeky devices for gamers and enthusiasts. Consumers are slowly starting to appreciate the added agility and responsiveness of SSD-based systems, and prices are tumbling as well.

On Tuesday Seagate announced its first series of SSD products designed to cover all market segments. The news was closely followed by an announcement from Western Digital and SadDisk, who will collaborate on new hybrid drives. Traditional HDD churners simply have to transition to SSDs and hybrid drives, it is just a matter of time.

“SSDs have dropped in price this year. The industry would probably put this down to supply and demand – but if I’m honest I think it’s all down to competition. Big players are moving in and really taking this industry to the next level – this week WD and Seagate separately announced their SSD push – and it wouldn’t surprise me if these larger players triggered a price war to push smaller players out of the market,” a reseller told us. “In terms of getting consumers more involved isn’t it just a case of making them a more prominent feature of gadgets and cost points? The average consumer just cares about what they can get and for how much.”

More marketing cash from the likes of Seagate and Western Digital will help, but so will tablets and smartphones. Consumer are already enjoying the perks of speedy solid state storage on their iPads and Androids, which means they are far more likely to go for an SSD based PC next time they upgrade. It is basically a case of not downgrading from a horse to a donkey, as Balkanese old wise men would say.