Lenovo Peter Hortensius, chief technology officer at Lenovo told PC World that customers are anxious to breathe some life into Windows 10 and his outfit was bullish and hopeful about Windows 10.
Windows 10 will succeed Windows 8.1 operating system, which has been slammed for its touch-based tablet user interface. Windows 10 will resolve many problems affecting Windows 8.1, which is a good OS but has its problems, Hortensius said.
Windows 10 will boot straight to the desktop and brings back many familiar Windows 7 features, which Microsoft hopes will please OS loyalists. It also removes program incompatibility issues plaguing Windows Phone and Windows 8 versions for Intel and ARM processors.
Analysts have said Windows 10 could spur a round of PC upgrades in businesses, which could boost PC shipments. Lenovo’s shipments have increased even as rivals like Dell and Hewlett-Packard struggled in recent years as laptop and desktop shipments slowed.
Customers are responding well to changes in Windows 10, and Microsoft is taking the right approach in developing the OS, Hortensius said.
Lenovo was positive about where the product was going and depending on customer demand, Lenovo may consider the OS for a range PCs, tablets and handsets.
“It’s up to Microsoft to make competitive offerings. If they do… we’ll gladly use it,” Hortensius said.
ABI Research said that although 2014 was “lacklustre”, it predicted that there will be solid growth during the next five years with shipments of tablets close to 290 million units in 2019.
But the growth is not for every vendor – Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Google will show year on year falls in shipments.
On the other hand, Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft and Samsung are predicted to show higher volumes in 2014.
Senior analyst Jeff Orr doesn’t have good news for Apple. He said: “Historically, Apple has counted approximately 35 percent of its iPad sales in the last calendar quarter of the year. Unless Apple can pull off a 32+ million unit quarter, sales for 2014 will be down for the first year since the iPad launched.”
He said that Apple probably shipped 68 million iPads in 2014, but managed to sell 74 million in 2013.
On the operating systems front, Android has 54 percent of branded tablets, Apple iOS has fallen to 41 percent, and Windows 8 has a meagre five percent of shipments.
Gartner said Samsung lost market share, but Chinese manufacturers are showing positive growth.
Altogether, sales of smartphones accounted for 301 million units shipping in the third quarter.
Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said in the third quarter smartphones represented 66 percent of the total mobile phone market. She thinks that by 2018 nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones.
Western Europe saw a decline in growth of 5.2 percent, but the USA saw high growth of 18.9 percent, fuelled by the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
In terms of market share, Samsung holds 24.4 percent of the market, Apple holds 12.7, Huawei holds 5.3 percent, Xiaomi has 5.2 percent of the market and Lenovo five percent.
As far as operating systems are concerned, Android ruled the roost in the third quarter (83.1%), Apple was next with 12.7 percent, Windows only held three percent and Blackberry 0.8 percent.
Cozza said: “The smartphone market is more than ever in flux as more players step up their game in this space. With the ability to undercut cost and offer top specs, Chinese brands are well positioned to expand in the premium phone market too.”
Digitimes said that Lenovo, Huawei and Inspur are likely to ship a total of two million units in 2015, knocking Dell off the number two slot.
Earlier this year, Lenovo bought IBM’s X86 business and that means the company is likely to ship a million server boxes in 2015.
Meanwhile HP, the market intelligence firm said, will show a decline in server shipments of 10 percent this year.
By the end of next year, the combined shipments worldwide from Chinese vendors is likely to amount to nearly 20 percent.
Meanwhile, the multinationals are threatened by ODMs (original design manufacturers) like Quanta, which are squeezing the Dells and HPs of this world by selling units direct at a knockdown price.
That’s according to data from Digitimes Research which claims the top five multinational vendor and Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs) showed shipments growing by 10 percent in the month, following a decline in shipments in October.
All the vendors are attempting to stem the growth of tablets and smartphones and the research outfit claimed HP ordered four million notebooks from its ODM partners in the month – with Quanta, Compal, and Investec benefiting from the push by the US giant.
The researchers claim that shipments of global tablets will be in stasis for 2014, when all the figures are added up. And it also predicts sales will decline in 2015.
Digitimes Research estimates that combined shipments of notebooks and tablets will be over 350 million units in 2015 but the major vendors incuding Apple, Lenovo, Samsung, HP, Asustek, Dell and Acer will take steps to secure their positions in the marketplace.
Gartner said that growth seen in the second quarter of this year was “a short lived phenomenon and marginal revenue growth…highlights the fragility of demand”.
But despite this, revenues grew for the third consecutive quarter following 10 previous quarters where revenues declined.
HP managed to grow its revenue lead in the regions with 6.4 percent growth, although shipments declined by 8.2 percent. The growth was largely accounted for by demand for rack optimised and blade system.
Dell managed to displace IBM as second in place in terms of both revenues and shipments. It managed to grow nine percent in revenues and 3.4 percent in shipments. IBM, of course, is ridding itself of its X86 business to Lenovo, while its RISC shipments were hit by a fall in demand for Unix systems. Its lucrative mainframe business is in stasis as Big Blue readies new launches.
Gartner thinks one of the problems is that IT departments in enterprises are struggling because there are datacentre modernisation initiatives which means they are taking their eyes off the ball in the traditional server marketplace.
If RISC, the Intel Itanium and Unix revenues are counted as one, they fell in the quarter by 13.2 percent.
That’s the opinion of market intelligence company Trendforce which said 1.17 billion smartphones left the factories this year and 1.31 billion will ship next year.
The reason, according to Avril Wu, an analyst at Trendforce, is because the penetration rate “is already very high while the market is saturated”.
She said that Chinese brands will represent 17 percent of handset shipments in 2015 – with competition intense. Lenovo, Huawei, Xiaomi, Coolpad, ZTE and TCL are competing on price meaning their margins are as thin as a cigarette paper. Trendforce thinks mergers and acquisitions over the next few years will be the inevitable conclusion of this trend.
Meanwhle, the iPhone 6 continues to sell well but brands using the Android and Windows operating systems find themselves competing on price. This will continue in the coming year.
The 4G network, she says, is now in place and will mature next year, with Qualcomm taking the lead over Mediatek in the semiconductor infrastructure required.
That’s according to Digitimes Research, which said that out of those 74.5 million tablets, 20 million will be iPads, 27.8 million will be from other multinational vendors such as Samsung and Lenovo, and 26.7 million will be so-called “white box” or unbranded units.
Taiwan is the ghost in the tablet machine and accounts for two thirds of the global market for tablets with firms like Foxconn, Pegatron, Compal and Quanta churning them out.
While figures for tablets shipping in the fourth quarter seem healthy, and rose by sequential quarter by 17.6 percent, if you compare the figures year on year, there’s a decline of shipments by 10.1 percent.
The pundits have many theories as to why the tablet market is showing signs of stalling, but the favourite is that in Western markets most people already have one or more tablet and see little or no reason to either buy more tablets or to upgrade.
And increased sales of smartphones with larger screens – so called phablets – are nibbling away at the tablet market.