Manufacturers of notebooks and tablets are looking to new markets to bolster their businesses because Europe can no longer be relied upon for healthy sales.
Last week we reported PC demand, particularly in Eastern Europe, was well done.
Now, Taiwanese wire Digitimes said that the manufacturers are looking to other market such as South East Asia and and Central and South America to make up the shortfall.
It’s not just lack of demand that is the problem because the margins the mostly Taiwanese companies are also taing a hit because of the parlous state of the Euro.
The notebook manufacturers can’t see light at the end of the tunnel in Europe until at least the end of the second quarter, the report adds.
The research wing of Digitimes believes that 221.4 million tablets will be shipped this year, and that’s a fal of 11.9 percent compared to 2014.
The consensus is that the PC might not be dead but it is certainly struggling.
And in the third report of its kind we’ve published today, IDC said that until 2010 PCs had the lion’s share of the total smart connected devices market, accounting for around 52.5 percent of shipments with 44.7 percent for smartphones and only 2.8 percent for tablets.
But, said IDC, in 2014 smartphones represented 73.4 percent of total shipments, PCs slipped to 16. percent and tablets 12.5 percent.
That trend is continuing – by 2019 PCs will only represent 11.6 percent of that market, while tablets will have 10.7 percent.
This must all be deeply troubling for chip giant Intel, with revenues still depending on the good old X86 chip and seemingly unable to make inroads into the tablet and smartphone markets.
Here’s an IDC chart demonstrating the trend between 2014 and 2019.
There’s more bad news for the PC market as it appears that Google Chromebooks are taking market share in the low end and the education markets.
ABI Research said Chromebooks, which rely heavily on the cloud, start up much faster than Windows PCsand are pretty affordable too, have “gained traction” in the North American market.
And it’s not just home users who are buying them – organisations are buying them too, with shipments close to five million last year.
Analyst Stephanie Van Vactor said that cloud services and the collapse of economies worldwide were the impetus for designers and developers to create cheap and cheerful devices, like the Chromebook.
“Chromebooks were the result, and the ‘anytime anywhere” access to content is a mobile-centric game changer,” she said.
The education market in particular has a yen for Chromebooks, mostly because of Google Apps for Education, she said. The business and the education sector together accounted for 62 percent of Chromebook shipments.
Another factor is the price. The average selling price for a Chromebook is $226 in the States, while it’s $420 for a tablet – presumably an Apple iPad.
“Google has taken to heart the popularity of mobile devices and developed a personal computing device that is a functional solution,” said Van Vactor. She said: “This style of computing works for the on the go lifestyle people are becoming accustomed to and will continue to impact the future of computing as the market shifts and changes.”
The outlook for PCs looks pretty grim in 2015, according to data released by Gartner.
The market research outfit said that PCs and ultra mobiles will deliver revenues of $226 billion this year, but that will be a 7.2 percent decline.
You have to take the current strength of the US dollar into account, Gartner warned, but even after that, the global market will show a 3.1 percent drop during the year.
Gartner forecasts that so called traditional PCs – that includes desktops and notebooks – will fall from 252,881,000 units this year, to 236,341,000 units in 2017.
The firm said that PC vendors are raising their prices to stay profitable but this is having a Catch 22 effect because it’s forcing customers to keep their purses tightly closed. Home users are also not expected to lash out on new devices.
Mobile phones will grow by 3.5 percent during this year and Gartner believes that rather than buy PCs, people will buy smartphones instead. Tablet sales will suffer because of that.
Roberta Cozza, a research director at Gartner, said: “Following rapid growth, the current mature consumer installed base for tablets is comparable to that of notebooks. Not only is the tablet segment nearing saturation in mature markets, but the influx of hybrids and fabulist will compete directly with tablets in emerging markets.”
She seems to think that despite Apple’s high prices, many users of high end Android devices will move to iOS.
The next five years for shipments of tablets will see them grow only in the low single digits, according to market research company IDC.
IDC said it expects worldwide shipments of tablets to amount to 234.5 million units this year, that’s only 2.1 percent up from shipments last year.
It anticipates, however, that the commercial market for tablets will grow, and Microsoft will gain some market share in the sector.
IDC said that the Android operating system will remain the leader in the market while Apple’s iOS will show declines this year. Microsoft, which had 5.1 percent share in 2014, is expected to grow to 14.1 percent in 2019.
IDC thinks the introduction of Windows 10 this year will have a “significant impact” because people want consistency across different devices.
Predicted market share in 2019 will be 62.9 percent for Android based tablets, 23 percent for iOS based tablets, and 14.1 percent for Windows based tablets.
A report said that adoption of tales by commercial enterprises are set to boost sales in Western Europe.
IDC said the commercial market for tablets will reach over 11 million units by 2019 – that’s 130% CAGR.
The tablet market so far has largely been driven by home users, and by early adopters in corporations. Newer designs are lighter, better connected and have options including keyboards.
IDC said that devices are now shipping with features that IT departments like, particularly in security, and both Samsung and Apple have started to target the corporate market.
According to Chrystelle Labesque, a research manager at IDC, over two thirds of the enterprises IDC surveyed in Western Europe have already deployed tablets.
The main reason for their adoption in enterprises include price erosion, more features and increasing employee productivity.
The news couldn’t come any sooner for vendors selling tablets for personal use. All indications are that there is a degree of saturation in this sector.
Announcements from the Mobile World Congress (MWC) are as thick as blankets of snow this week, and Lenovo has joined in the chase for more business by announcing a range of three tablets.
Lenovo, according to market watchers, has been doing comparatively well in the tablet market.
Today it announced the A Series Android tablets, the Tab 2 A7 and A10-70 and a Windows tablet too.
The A10-70 has a 10.1-inch FHD screen, and Dolby Atmos. The machine runs Android 4.4, uses a MediaTek quad core processor, weighs 500 grams and is 8.9 millimetres thick. It will cost £180 and ships in April.
The Tab 2 A8 weighs in at 360 grams and comes with a dual SIM card slot, and costs £130 for the wi-fi model. It will ship in June.
The Windows Ideated MIIX 300, uses Windows 8.1, has an Intel Atom chip inside, and a media card reader. It will ship in July and will cost around £150.
Only 221.4 million tablets will ship worldwide this year – a drop of 11.9 percent compared to 2014.
That’s according to Digitimes Research (DR), which predicts that Apple will continue to take the lead, managing to ship over 54 million units this year. While this sounds healthy, that’s a predicted decline of 16/6 percent.
The so-called “white box” market will see the biggest decline, with a drop of 20 percent. Margins on these products are super slim.
DR gives estimates for the different vendors’ shares of the market – with Apple accounting for 24.5 percent, Samsung 16.3 percent, Lenovo 5.3 percent, Asustek 4.2 percent, Google 1.7 percent, Acer 1.7 percent, and Amazon only 1.6 percent.
Meanwhile, a report in Chinese language Economic Daily News said that Amazon has cut orders of tablets, sourced by Compal and Quanta by as much as 30 percent.
Compaq has the lion’s share of Amazon tablet business, churning out 80 percent of them compared to Quanta’s 20 percent, the Economic Daily News said.
Apple is likely to hit a pothole for sales of its iPad this year with one report estimating shipments will slump by 40 percent in this calendar quarter.
But it won’t just be Apple that will be hit by the slump, according to a report in Taiwanese wire Digitimes.
All manufacturers are likely to see a fall as shipments of large screen smartphones – so called phablets – start to erode the tablet market.
Digitimes quotes its own intelligence unit saying that shipments of tablets worldwide will be 244 million this year, a drop on last year of something like 11.8 percent.
The tablet market also faces competition from low end notebooks which are to some extent being subsidised by Microsoft and other vendors.
Tablets are not generally seen by people as products that need upgrading. Apple will have to rethink its strategy on the sector as it prepares to launch more iPad models this year.
Microsoft has spent $200 million on an Israeli firm that makes digital pens and semiconductors for touch screens.
According to financial news website Calcalist, the 190 people who work for N-trig will work for Microsoft’s Israeli division.
N-trig makes pens for use in smartphones, for tablets and for slim notebooks.
Microsoft already owned a 6.1 percent chunk in N-Trig to incorporate its pen in the Surface Pro 3 tablets it makes.
Reuters said N-trig revenues in the first half of 2014 amounted to $20.6 million. Its customers include Sony, HP, and Lenovo.
Microsoft is keen to re-position itself in the next wave of the IT market.
Comms company EE said today it will spend £1.5 billion over the next three years to expand its 4G network in the UK.
EE said that 4G will overtake 2G by 2017, with 99 percent of the British population able to access 4G networks.
And, by 2017, 4G+ will be available in 20 British cities.
It said that it will spend to create data and voice connections in 1,500 places that don’t have either reliable mobile or high speed broadband.
Its “double speed” broadband will be available for 90 percent of the UK population, with data speeds of up to 60Mbps available for both smartphones and tablets.
And in the future it claimed it will be a leader in 5G, because the foundation for even faster speeds will rely on 4G infrastructure being available.
Its 4G+ network will allow speeds of 150Mbps, EE said.
Today it released its “Signalling the Future” manifesto intended to guide the next government of whatever hue to set digital priorities.
Dell said it has
extended its ProSupport Plus service for both PCs and for tablets.
The company claimed it’s the first to offer proactive and predictive support for these devices.
It also claimed that with this package in place, people will spend up to 84 percent less time on technical support calls.
The company claimed that IT departments spend around 80 percent of their time on routine operations and support.
The service will be available to both Dell customers and to its channel partners – and includes cover for a number of situations.
Those include coverage for drops, spill and electrical surges; hard drive retention after replacement and workflow management for support cases, as well as self service case management and parts dispatch.
shipment numbers for tablets last year are forcing vendors to contemplate their marketing navels and come up with new ideas.
According to Digitimes
, one way vendors want to turn the market round is to persuade their suppliers to slash the cost of their components so they can cut prices on production.
And Apple, the wire reports, had disappointing sales of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, which were launched last autumn.
Sales of HTC products and Xiaomi products haven’t been that brilliant either.
Apple is rumoured to be introducing a 12-inch iPad that it hopes will cause waves of excitement.
The problem is that once you have a tablet, there isn’t much desire to get a new one that’s shinier unless you’ve more money than sense.
Apple appears to believe it can launch all sorts of new applications for the 12-inch iPad when it appears.
suggesting that the market for tablets is in decay, fresh data shows that it ain’t necessarily so.
Digitimes Research said that overall global tablet shipments in the fourth quarter last year grew by 16.9 percent to total 74.77 million units, mostly down to Apple and first tier vendors good performances.
But so-called “white box” tablets declined in the fourth quarter.
The survey said these white box tablets, using the Android operating system, offer very slim margins and many vendors have given up on manufacturing.
Apple managed to ship 21.9 million iPads in Q4 2014 and was the largest tablet vendor.
Samsung failed to introduce new tablet products in the second half of last year and so it say some stagnation.
Third in line was Amazon, displacing Lenovo from that position in the marketplace.
There’s more research
data on the tablet market out today and the latest report suggests gloom for 2015.
Digitimes Research said that total shipments of tablets worldwide will fall by 11.8 percent this year, accounting for shipments of 244 million units.
The logic behind the forecast is that demand for high end and entry level units is saturated, and smartphones with bigger screens are further eroding the tablet marketplace.
The seven inch segment, in particular will see a sharp drop in shipments because of smartphone competition.
However, it’s not all bad news. The report said demand for tablets with 10-inch screens and above will grow by 20 percent, fuelled by enterprise interest.
Digitimes Research also thinks Windows tablets will grow by 50 percent this year – which if true – is encouraging news for both Microsoft and Intel. Both behemoths have introduced subsidies to encourage vendors to use their kit.