Tag: pc

Dell comes back from the dead

i-walked-with-a-zombie-from-left-everettBeancounters at IDC are claiming that Dell’s US shipments grew 19.7 percent during the third calendar quarter of 2014.

If this is the case, then it would appear that business is turning around for the tin box shifter.

Jeff Clarke, Dell’s vice chairman, Operations, and president, Client Solutions said that the reason for the increase was a strong notebook performance in the US and accompanying overall worldwide growth reflects the continued momentum. He said Dell did not intend to slow down.

“You can expect us to maintain our strategy of investing in the PC business, with more additions to our portfolio to be announced next week at Dell World,”Clarke said.

Dell was showing off its PC business in which it said had its seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year gains in global share and grew more in the third quarter than its top two US competitors combined.

Dell also talked about its commercial portfolio which appeared to be focusing on higher performance PCs and thin clients.

Dell also claimed there was a growing demand for flexible 2-in-1 products in the work environment with the Latitude 13 7000 Series 2-in-1.

Now that the outfit has gone private we have no way of checking any of this as it does not have to share anything and we have to take its word for it.

iPads sinking to oblivion

quicksand1It looks like the world has given up on the novelty of the tablet and is more interested in bigger phones and PCs.

After years of posting stories about how Steve Jobs killed the PC by bringing in the tablet, the Tame Apple press has to face the fact that it was not quite, but completely, untrue.

Apple reported that it had its strongest growth in Mac computer shipments in years but tablet sales were slinking fast.

This seems to suggest that what we have been saying all along the so called shift to mobile was all marketing spin and that slow PC sales were due to economic rather than a shift in technology demands.

Jobs Mob saw a 16 percent jump in iPhone sales, with a stronger-than-expected revenue of $63.5 billion to $66.5 billion in the December quarter.

But sales of the iPad slid for the third straight quarter falling 7 percent from the previous quarter to 12.3 million units, and were down 13 percent from the year-ago period.

The Tame Apple Press is banking on Apple’s alliance with IBM to drive tablet and phone sales to corporate customers, however saner heads do not think that likely.

Biggish Blue Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said that the scheme had more than 50 clients, and Apple and IBM intend to introduce their first jointly designed software apps next month.

The lack of interest in the Tablets place Apple in a dodgy position. It means that the company still depends on the iPhone, and it is a market which is fast drying up.

Orders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus began in September, helping Apple chalk up a 12.2 percent jump in revenue last quarter to $42.12 billion. That exceeded the roughly $39.9 billion that Wall Street analysts had predicted, on average.

The return of the Mac was a surprise. There was talk once of Apple leaving its Mac business behind as it moved into the gadget business. But it appears that there are people who are prepared to pay over the odds for a PC with an Apple logo on it.

 

Intel makes profit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASemiconductor firm Intel gave a current-quarter revenue forecast well above what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street had predicted.

Intel posted third quarter net profits of $3.32 billion compared with $2.95 billion in the same financial quarter last year.

Third quarter revenue was $14.6 billion, up eight percent from same quarter last year, and the company said it expects fourth quarter revenues of $14.7 billion, plus or minus $500 million.

Wall Street expected third quarter revenues of $14.44 billion and fourth quarter revenues of $14.48 billion.

The company said its supply chain was in good shape ahead of the holiday season and demand for PCs had recovered as enterprises finally started replacing their aged PCs.

Intel said in a statement on Tuesday that demand for its chips was in good shape.

“The worldwide PC supply chain appears to be healthy, with inventory levels appropriate in anticipation of the fourth quarter retail cycles,” Intel said.

The recovering PC industry has helped push Intel’s shares 24 percent higher in 2014, making it the top performer in the Dow Jones industrial average.

The results are an apparent poke in the eye to comments from Microchip that weak demand in China  would soon become visible across the chip industry.

Intel said its gross margins would slip to 64 percent in the current quarter from 65 percent in the third quarter.

Intel said its mobile and communications group had an operating loss of $1.04 billion on revenue of $1 million, reflecting subsidies Intel has been paying to persuade tablet makers to use its chips.

Shares of Intel were up 2.05 percent in extended trade after closing up 2.13 percent at $32.14 on Nasdaq.

Microsoft’s bottom line stripped

spankingMicrosoft is being seriously spanked by people buying naked PCs and installing pirated versions of its operating system, particularly in China.

Vole said that too few people in emerging markets are willing to pay for legitimate copies and this is holding back the spread of its newest Windows 8 version.

Ironically analysts say even buyers of pirate software prefer older versions and more than 90 percent of PCs in China, are running pre-8 versions of Windows.

Microsoft is trying to tackle the problem by offering Windows 8 at a discount to PC manufacturers who install its Bing search engine as the default. And it’s giving away versions of Windows 8 for phones and some tablets.

However Reuters  thinks that masks the fact that Redmond never really worked out how to get people in emerging markets to pay for its software.

In 2011, then CEO Steve Ballmer told employees that, because of piracy, Microsoft earned less revenue in China than in the Netherlands even though China bought as many computers as the United States.

This hurts Microsoft because 56 percent of its global revenue and 78 percent of operating profit came from Windows and Office.

In China PC makers working on wafer-thin margins see the operating system is one of the costliest parts of the machine.

The result is that up to 60 percent of PCs shipped in the emerging markets of Asia, have no Windows operating system pre-installed and carry some free, open source operating system like Linux. However once the owners get them home they just download a hot copy of Windows and Office.

Some Chinese retailers even offer “bundles” of pirated copies of Microsoft software alongside the main sale.

Microsoft has had a job getting respected firms like Lenovo to stop shipping naked PCs, but the Chinese firm countered that its margins were too low. China announced a new law requiring PCs to be shipped with operating systems. That merely dented piracy rates, which fell to 79 percent in 2009 from 92 percent in 2004.

Lenovo has reached an agreement with Microsoft in June to ensure that Lenovo PCs sold in China would come pre-installed with a genuine Windows operating system.

The way Microsoft has done this is to push the price of Windows low enough to make it worth a PC maker’s while. The cost of a Windows license has fallen to below $50 from as high as $150.  So far it is not clear if that has worked.

 

Old PCs are costing SMBs time and money

ancient-laptopSmall businesses are bleeding cash thanks to their reliance on antiquated PCs. According to Intel’s Small Business PC Refresh Study, the average small business worker loses one work week per year due to old PCs.

The Techaisle survey covered 736 businesses across six countries and found that more than 36 percent of them use PCs that are more than four years old. The old boxes require more maintenance, repairs and they exhibit security and performance issues, all of which have a negative impact on productivity.

Worse, the average repair costs for older PCs usually equal or exceed the cost of buying a brand new one. On average small businesses spend a staggering $427 to repair a PC that’s four years or older, which is 1.3 times the repair cost of PCs that are less than four years old. Almost a half of respondents did not even know that Redmond is planning to cut off support for XP next year.

Curiously, businesses in the US tend to use the oldest PCs on the planet – 8 percent of them are using PCs that are five years or older. In India, just one percent of small businesses use ancient PCs.

The results aren’t very surprising. A couple of months ago Intel released another survey which found that the average age of PCs is going up and it’s now at four years or more. The upgrade cycle is getting longer and there’s practically no incentive to upgrade for many users.

EMEA PC shipments down 16% in Q3

european-commissionPC shipments in EMEA declined 16 percent in Q3 2014, hitting a grand total of just 21.4 million units. What’s more, research firm IDC reports notebook shipments dropped 20.6 percent, while desktops weathered the storm with a 7 percent plunge. This is understandable because desktops can’t be cannibalized by tablets, so sales of workstations and gaming desktops are still relatively stable.

However, there are some encouraging signs. Although the market contracted, the drop wasn’t as bad as last quarter and there are some signs of recovery.

“The third quarter marked a change in the overall market trend,” said Chrystelle Labesque, EMEA research manager. “While it is too early to talk about recovery, the worse seems to have been reached in the second quarter of 2013. However, the ramp-up is mainly in the commercial area, with September performance above expectations for most players.”

Labesque added that the end of Windows XP support in 2014 is already driving IT departments to focus on hardware refresh, generating higher renewal in the corporate space.

Shipments in Western Europe were down 13.2 percent year-on-year. The back-to-school period didn’t help much, as demand remained soft, which can also be attributed to the late rollout of Windows 8.1, at least to some extent.

IDC believes new form factors like convertibles based on Intel’s new SoCs could drive demand in the fourth quarter and the introduction of Bay Trail and Windows 8.1 products might be the reason shipments were slow in Q3, as nobody wanted to end the quarter with practically outdated inventory.

Interestingly, Central and Eastern Europe did even worse than the Middle East and Africa, with a decline of 22.2 percent. MEA dropped just 14.5 percent.

As far as vendors go, Lenovo is continuing to outperform the competition. It ended the quarter with a 15 percent share of the market, up from 10.7 percent in the second quarter. HP also gained share, and it’s still the leader with 21 percent, up from 18.2 percent. Acer and Asus continued to bleed, losing almost a fifth of their share in the process.

Console shipments to rebound this year

gamer-sexWith the imminent rollout of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, we didn’t exactly need serious research to conclude that console shipments would go up this year, but thanks to the IDC, we’ve got a few figures, too.

IDC predicts console shipments in 2013 will be “marginally higher” than the 2012 total of approximately 33 million units. This year will also mark the end of a four-year slide in console shipments.

The true impact of the PS4 and Xbox One, or Xbone, will be felt next year. Nintendo’s new Wii U hasn’t done very well this year, due to a lack of compelling games, but the competition is expected to do just fine.

The research also suggests Sony will take the lead, as its console is somewhat cheaper and users don’t seem too thrilled by some of Microsoft’s policies. IDC also expects game revenue derived through connected console channels to exceed PC prepaid revenue this year.

“The number of online console gamers around the globe is on pace to exceed 165 million by 2017,” said Lewis Ward, Research Manager, Gaming at IDC. “As a result, the opportunity to sell these gamers digital assets through Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4 online storefronts will grow substantially in the next several years.” Ward adds that the Chinese government’s recent decision to lift the ban on consoles should lead to millions of additional hardware bundle sales for the likes of Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony within three years.

The introduction of new consoles just in time for the holiday season will obviously have a knock on effect on sales of console related accessories and peripherals, not to mention retail games.

However, it is worth noting that higher demand for consoles is not expected to have much of an impact on the PC gaming market. Recent research indicates that PC gaming is doing just fine and spending is growing by a CAGR of 3 percent. Console and PC gaming are no longer vying for the same consumer base and they are developing in parallel, without much in the way of cannibalisation.

LCD monitor shipments slow right down

pc-sales-slumpShipments of LCD monitors hit 71.1 million units in the first half of the year, down 5.45 percent year-on-year. What’s more, the decline is expected to continue in the second half of 2013.

With a double-digit drop in PC shipments earlier this year, soft demand for monitors comes as no surprise. The market is hungry for mobile devices, there is plenty of demand for high resolution tablet screens, but not so much for traditional desktop monitors.

TPV still leads the market with a 35 percent share. Samsung ranks second at 12.7 percent, Qista came in third with 9.8 percent, while LG and Foxconn grabbed 9.6 and 7.6 percent respectively.

One way of getting around the slump is to focus on larger monitors and more value added products, reckons Digitimes. However, it is not very easy to come up with groundbreaking features in this market segment. Nobody will queue in front of a Regent Street shop for three days to buy a new monitor.

There is some progress though. Some vendors have started rolling out wider form factors, which should be popular among gamers. Curved screens are also around, but they are more of a gimmick at this point. UHD or 4K gear remains prohibitively expensive and it will be a few years before it goes mainstream.

Carnegie: US PC imports stumble

pc-sales-slumpAccording to an analyst note from Carnegie, world chip sales are likely to be largely untouched between the June to July – at one percent seasonally adjusted month by month – and $24.9 for the month.

A May spike could have been thanks to Samsung’s latest Galaxy handsets, but a drop in June could be down to clearing previous inventories of previous phone and PC models ahead of new launches.

Carnegie’s early indicator for the three month moving average of chip sales for July suggests a “modest improvement slightly better than the normal seasonal pattern”.

Korean chip exports were better throughout July and August compared to June levels. Other tech production in South Korea was on the up after a long slump post the Q4 iPhone and iPad boom.

Taiwanese production improved over July thanks to electronic components and parts, however, overall it was held back by a weakness in high end smartphones and a drop in TV manufacturing.

Japan has been losing market share in semiconductors to other countries in the APAC region, in particular China and Vietnam. A sharp drop in chip segments was noted for Japan, with Carnegie adding an overall drop in Japanase consumer electronics market share and less production in Japan likely contributed.

Carnegie estimates world semiconductor sales will drop by one percent for the year.

Carnegie warned that US PC imports have been weak since March – and that the numbers could include tablet computers. Meanwhile, retail sales are sluggish for tech categories. Some of this is attributed to shopping patterns, as internet sales replaced buying through brick and mortar stores.

US inventory levels for electronics fell sharply, with leading retailers like Best Buy slashing their stock.

For the US telecom enterprise sector, it is expected that imports are flat, including Ericsson and Cisco equipment. Although the July numbers are not in, May and June imports were weak after a spike in April.

 

Acer denies merger rumours

acer-logo-ceAcer has shot down rumours of a possible merger with Asus or Lenovo. The rumours originated in some Asian outlets, which claimed that certain investment banks planned to invite Lenovo or Asus to merge with Acer.

Acer said it was not contacted by any investment bank with such a proposal and that wouldn’t be interested anyway, reports Digitimes. It’s easy to see why such a rumour would take off. Acer is in trouble like most PC vendors, except Lenovo. Consolidation might be the next step for some vendors, but Acer insists it will soldier on alone.

The company says it reforming and that it’s confident its brand and business can weather the storm. However, recent sales figures indicate that both Acer and Asus suffered the biggest drop in PC sales this year compared to other PC outfits.

Acer is down, but it’s not out. It still builds some interesting PCs and its aggressively pursuing tablet and smartphone markets, although they are already saturated and as a result it is bound to face stiff competition in all emerging segments.

PC slump may actually benefit AMD in long run

AMD, SunnyvaleIt is often said that a crisis is merely an opportunity in disguise. It is often said but it’s rarely true. However, the steep drop in PC shipments could in fact be good news for AMD.

Ten years ago AMD taught Intel a costly lesson in the high end, forcing Intel to regain its footing and invest heavily in R&D and manufacturing. As a result Intel squeezed AMD out of the high-end consumer CPU market, relegating it to the mid range and low end.

AMD wasted its opportunity, but eventually it picked up ATI a couple of years after its CPU design peaked. Things looked bright for a moment, just before they went terribly wrong. AMD suffered from poor execution and its high end chips just weren’t good enough to keep up with Intel. The K8 glory days are long gone and AMD is now a different company, it is fabless, but it also has plenty of IP, competitive graphics and very interesting APU and x86 SoC designs.

So how could the weak PC market benefit AMD, especially now that mobile chips are the new black, and AMD hasn’t got any?

Long upgrade cycles are one indicator that the era of “good enough” computing is already here. The average PC is more than four years old, few people need costly high end processors and attention is shifting to low end and mid range silicon. This is what AMD is becoming good at. Its new Jaguar based APUs are brilliant and they are superior to Intel’s current generation of Atoms. Richland based APUs aren’t as competitive, but they offer relatively good value for money and they are making inroads in the ULV market as well. The bad news is that AMD is still suffering from execution problems. Kaveri was supposed to replace Richland later this year, but it has been pushed back to early 2014, along with desktop Jaguar-based Kabini parts. AMD’s propensity for delays makes any forecast extremely difficult.

With very little need for Intel’s high-end x86 chips in the consumer market, gamers and professionals aren’t enough. This is an obvious opportunity for AMD and CEO Rory Read seems to get it. That might explain why AMD is focusing its efforts elsewhere. APUs are just part of the story, they were the logical next step in CPU evolution. AMD’s next big thing is custom chip design. The Xbox One and PS4 are based on Jaguar, with AMD graphics in tow. Now for some geeky figures.

Most people associate Jaguar with cheap and small APUs, but custom console SoCs are neither. Built using TSMC’s 28nm process, the SoC used in the Xbox One actually features eight Jaguar CPU cores, coupled with powerful graphics and plenty of SRAM embedded on the die. They pack around 5 billion transistors, while Intel’s mid-range Haswells are said to feature between 1.4 billion and 1.2 billion, depending on the SKU.

AMD hasn’t forgotten how to do huge, immensely complex chips – it’s just not doing big x86 cores anymore. Its high-end GPUs also have upwards of 4 billion transistors. What’s more, AMD can apply the same custom approach to server parts and it’s also working on ARM based server chips as well. This flexible, modular approach sounds very interesting indeed, but it’s still too early to say whether AMD will put it to good use in server chips, so to speak,  whether it will manage to find enough customers for custom parts, as the orders have to be relatively big to justify the expense of developing and producing such chips.

As far as AMD’s graphics business goes, it is doing rather well at the moment. Time and again AMD has proven that it can go toe to toe with Nvidia and win a few rounds. We’ve been looking at a virtual stalemate for the past five years. This year AMD managed to increase its GPU market share, despite the fact that Nvidia won nearly all Haswell notebook design wins. The trouble for Nvidia is that notebook graphics are a dying market. In the consumer space AMD is doing well, while Nvidia still maintains a big lead in high-margin professional graphics. The recent console wins should also help AMD’s consumer GPU business, as developers should find it easier to optimise their games for AMD’s architecture on three different platforms.

The big question is mobile. A couple of months ago Nvidia announced that it would license its Kepler GPU and future GPU IP to third-party ARM SoC builders. AMD has not made the same commitment, but some AMD graphics tech is already used in mobile chips, in the form of Qualcomm’s Adreno graphics. The ARM SoC business will continue to grow and we are bound to see more consolidation. Nvidia has a small presence in the ARM SoC market and if it is willing to license its technology to its own competitors, AMD could and should enter the market as well. It is worth noting that Adreno is running out of steam, as it is based on old AMD/ATI tech. We’re not sure it would make financial sense for Qualcomm to continue development in-house, it might reach out to AMD instead. There is very little overlap between Qualcomm and AMD at the moment, and such a marriage of convenience would make perfect sense. If that happens, AMD could end up with a huge market share in ARM SoC graphics, trumping Nvidia, ARM and Imagination.

AMD is still in a world of trouble, but looking ahead it might actually be in a better position to weather the storm than Intel, at least in the consumer space. High end chips and server parts are still Intel’s turf, although AMD could score some custom server wins in the future. Intel is pushing mobile now and it has a good chance of penetrating the market a couple of years from now, but in reality if AMD starts licensing GPU IP to the likes of Qualcomm, it could make heaps of cash in mobile, with a lot less investment and risk than Intel.

Lenovo gains on Apple – report

pc-sales-slumpMore good news for Lenovo. According to a company called Canalys, Apple has lost ground to Lenovo on the back of lacklustre iPad sales in Q2.

It is worth noting that Canalys includes tablets in its quarterly PC market reports. Therefore it found that Android now has a 17 percent share in the PC market.

Although tablet sales appear to be slowing down while some people wait for new fruity toys “Designed in California”, Canalys reckons tablets will outsell notebooks by the fourth quarter of 2013. This is in line with previous reports from other research firms.

PC shipments in EMEA fell  year-on-year in Q2, the first decline after two successive quarters of double-digit growth. Western Europe was down 10 percent, while Central and Eastern Europe took a three  percent plunge.

canalys-PCreport-Q213

Demand for smartphones and tablets is increasing around the world. However, faced by a changing industry, channel partners are exercising caution when planning and placing orders. Apple kept the lead in Q2, with 18.6 million units shipped and a 17.1 percent market share. However, it lost two percent from Q2 2012. Lenovo upped its share to 12.9 percent and shipped 14.1 million units. HP lost share and volume and it’s in third spot with 12.7 million units and an 11.6 percent share.

It should be noted that desktop and notebook shipments accounted for about 20 percent of Apple’s total shipments. Samsung also made its way into the top five, with 10.8 million units and a 9.9 percent share, but, like Apple, most of its shipments were tablets, not proper PCs.

Canalys found that most vendors are seeing increased tablet volumes, but that won’t help traditional PC outfits. Volumes are one thing, but most tablets coming out of Lenovo, HP and the rest of the PC gang are on the cheap side, with relatively low ASPs.

College kids like tablets, but still buy PCs

dorm-room-pcTablet sales are going through the roof, but some consumers still prefer the flexibility of a proper PC. According to a Deloitte survey, laptops are still huge on college campuses, which makes sense as it’s easier to copy papers and download illegal torrents on PCs.

The survey found that 82 percent of college students own PCs and 80 percent have smartphones. However, although tablets are popular among every age group, just 18 percent of college students in the US have one. Deloitte concluded that the combination of smartphones and laptops simply makes tablets redundant in a campus setting, reports Marketwatch.

There are a couple of factors contributing to the popularity of traditional PCs among students. First of all they are still unbeatable when it comes to productivity. While tablets may be more practical for reading and researching, nobody is going to write a paper on a tablet. In addition, PCs are incredibly cheap right now, so a low-end PC often costs less than an iPad mini. We also think gaming and storage have something to do with it. When they’re not writing papers, students can use their boxes to play or enjoy some movies or TV shows.

In addition, many PC vendors are offering tempting deals designed specifically for cash strapped students. Dell University, HP Academy and Apple’s Educational Pricing programmes offer big discounts in the US, although the same doesn’t apply to most European markets.

The only trouble is that students don’t like to spend much, so they usually go for the cheapest possible box. They aren’t very likely to choose fancy all-in-ones or small form factor PCs, but there are also quite a few gamers in the mix and they have no choice but to go after high-end PCs or pricey upgrade components.

Tablets to outsell PCs by year end

cheap-tabletsIt appears that worldwide shipments of media tablets will outpace PCs by the end of the year. Speaking at Google’s breakfast event on Thursday, head of Android and Chrome Sundar Pichai shed light on some impressive tablet shipment figures. His claims are backed up by IDC’s latest reports.

Pichai said tablet sales by the end of the year should hit 225 million, with a total of 70 million Android tablet activations, up from 40 million last year, reports Slashgear.

However, Android is gaining ground on iOS and Pichai claims one in two new tablets is based on Android, not iOS.

This basically means tablets will start outselling PCs soon. Sales of corporate PCs won’t be as affected as sales of consumer PCs. Many consumers are apparently shunning their PCs and using tablets to perform basic tasks. Of course this doesn’t apply to users who use productivity applications on their computers.

tablet-pc-forecast-2013a

However, the PC market seems to be bottoming out. Tablet shipments should hit 300 million units by 2015 and 400 million units by 400, but PC sales should stabilise at current levels and start recovering next year.

Although tablets are disrupting the PC industry, the trend can’t go on for much longer. Over the next couple of years anyone who could completely replace their notebook with a tablet would have done so, hence PC shipments should remain relatively stable, although they’ll still be short of 2011’s record.

tablet-pc-sales-2013b

Interestingly, the forecasts don’t show any slowdown in tablet sales through 2017. As tablets mature, sales should start cooling down, but as things stand now, tablets still have a lot of potential for long-term growth.

The real question is how many tablets in 2015 and 2017 will be hybrids. Intel is pitching its 2-in-1 concept and PC vendors will be eager to embrace them. Hybrid tablets will effectively blur the line between tablets and ultraportable notebooks. If Intel has its way, much of that 400 million figure forecasted for 2017 will belong to hybrids.

However, we are not entirely convinced Intel and Microsoft can pull it off without sacrificing a few sacred cows in the process.

All-in-one PC shipments to see strong growth

dell-aioAlthough the PC industry has fallen on hard times, there are some notable exceptions and the market for all-in-one (AIO) PCs is one of them. Shipments of AIOs are expected to grow by 17.3 percent year-on-year.

All-in-ones are hardly a new concept, they have been around for years and Apple has already made a killing with the stylish and pricey iMac series.

However, in recent years PC vendors have also joined the market, with mixed results. Apple’s iMac still leads the way, but other brands should see 4.9 percent growth, according to Digitimes Research.

Although it is doing well in just about every other market segment, Lenovo is expected to experience a small drop in shipments. HP will see a bit of growth, but Dell and Sony should see strong gains. Interestingly, all big players are expected to increase their market share, which means they are pushing small vendors out of the market. This is not surprising, as AIOs tend to be quite a bit more difficult to design and produce than regular PC boxes, hence big brands with plenty of resources are at an advantage.

Quanta and Wistron should remain the leading manufacturers of AIOs, with shipments of seven and three million units respectively. Pegatorn and TPV Inventa should ship upwards of two million units each.

The numbers reveal that the market is still relatively small, but it seems to have a lot of potential. AIOs boast a number of advantages over regular PCs. Most of them use mobile chips and drives, which means they are a lot more efficient than traditional PCs. They also take up a lot less room and since they don’t have a bundle of dusty cables sticking out of them, they tend to look sleek and modern. Lower electric bills and less real estate taken up by ugly hardware are the most obvious selling point.

There are a few downsides though. Mobile components cost a bit more than the usual desktop bits and pieces, which means AIOs tend to have a lot higher bill of material. They are harder to service and  many components cannot be upgraded at all. However, the PC is already very mature so frequent upgrades are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Over the past decade millions of users migrated from desktops to notebooks, so they should be used to a lack of upgradeability by now.

Besides, vendors don’t mind planned obsolescence – they thrive on it. On the other hand, if AIOs really take off, they could have an impact on a number of component makers, ranging from AIBs to peddlers of various peripherals and monitors.