Strong orders from both the enterprise and from the retail market meant growth in notebook sales during the month of November, largely due to HP’s position in the market.
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.
While the concepts of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are largely unknown in these isles, shops have jumped on the American bandwagon causing riots and mayhem in shops across the UK.
And now James Lovell, European retail guru, has got his analytics engines to work and notices that although sales fell compared to last year, the percentage of sales made on mobiles rose by around a third.
He said mobile phone usage as a percentage of overall sales rose by 42.88 percent, and tablets used to buy stuff rose by 12 percent.
The average order value on “Black Friday” was £88.86 percent, and mobile traffic represented 59.8 percent of all online traffic in the UK.
Contrasting different mobile operating systems, Lovell said Android OS sessions as a percentage of overall “Cyber Monday” sales grew by 55 percent, but only represented 11 percent of the overall sales spend.
But the desktop is not dead – over half of all online sales were made by people tip tapping into whatever flavour of Windows they’re being forced to use.
Shipments of notebooks are only set to grow 0.6 percent in 2015, amounting to 174.6 million units, while sales of tablets will fall by 3.5 percent to 185.6 million units.
That’s according to Taiwanese market intelligence firm Trendforce, which said that this year notebook vendors struggled to gain market share this year by essentially engaging in a price war.
But Caroline Chen, a notebook analyst at the company, said that next year we’ll see an array of different products with tablets and low priced notebooks facing stiff competition from smartphones and so called phablets.
She thinks notebook vendors need to rethink their strategies.
Tablets didn’t do well this year and overall 366 million mobile PCs – a category that she defines as including notebook computers and tablets – shipped. That’s largely similar to sales last year.
Subsidies from major players like Microsoft, Google and Intel have skewed the market. Chromebooks, she thinks, will account for eight million units in 2015.
She said that because subsidies from Intel and Microsoft lower manufacturers’ costs, the subsidies benefit end users. “It would be better if Microsoft and Intel can find more substantial ways to develop the market,” she said.
Enterprises wanting to leverage their legacy systems using devices like smartphones and tablets are being tempted by IBM to enter its garden of mobility delights.
The company said it has added a number of pieces to its Mobility Services jigsaw.
That includes “desktop as a service” (DaaS) intended to let companies implement desktop features on mobile devices using a subscription service offered using the IBM Cloud.
IBM, using research figures from Juniper, estimates that one billion smartphones and tablets owned by workers will be use in enterprises by 2018.
That gives IBM the chance to sell enterprises services that include integration, support, maintenance, security and compliance.
Big Blue claims that will give enterprises the ability to deliver applications to hosts of mobile devices in hours rather than months.
IBM is also offering what it describes as the “trifecta” of mobile, cloud and analytics services. Trifecta usually means a type of bet on horse races – usually called a triple – which we’re not sure IBM wants to mean by this word.
The DaaS offering uses the Citrix Worspace Suite via cloud infrastructure from its subsidiary, Softlayer. IBM explains that, for example, this would let a saleswoman or man to click an icon on a tablet and turn it into a personal work desktop with access to large sales presentations and the like.
Out of the 74.53 million tablets expected to ship during the current calendar quarter, the Apple iPad will take the lead with 26.8 percent of the worldwide shipments.
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.
The attempt by Intel to penetrate the tablet market has cost it dear in subsidies over the last two years.
But it appears that the chip giant hasn’t given up the ghost on such a plan and, according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, is likely to pour more cash into the venture.
Intel’s problem is that it has faced overwhelming competition on price from companies that use microprocessors from Mediatek and Qualcomm, based on designs from British chip designer ARM.
Even though Intel has several ARM licences, it declines to use those to compete and wants the market to realise the important part it plays in the mobile arena. Or, to put it differently, Intel is a proud company and doesn’t want to lose face.
The subsidies to vendors have been aimed at tablets with screen dimensions of 10 inches and below, but Digitimes now says it may well extend those subsidies to tablets 12 inches and below.
Intel cannot afford not to be in the tablet business because it wants to be a key player in the so called Internet of Things. Last week the chip giant said it was going to merge its mobile and comms businesses with its PC business, which will effectively disguise the hole in its profit and loss statements in the future.
While both Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the branded tablet market workdwide, Chinese company Lenovo is beginning to make its presence known in the marketplace.
That’s according to preliminary shipment figures in the third quarter of this year supplied by ABI Research.
The market research company said that Apple and Samsung hog market share at 62 percent, but Lenovo is making its presence known in developing markets while other firms show growth of 124 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013.
ABI believes that while Apple has suffered declines in its market share, it could well regain the initiative in the current fourth quarter, largely due to the introduction of new iPad Air and iPad mini machines last October.
Jeff Orr, who runs the sector for ABI, said: “The pieces have been set for the end of year holiday 2014 tablet market chess match. The advanced mature markets will once again be where the Apple versus Samsung duel occurs. Don’t overlook the rest of the branded tablets vendors’ ability to deliver value based devices during this crucial shopping period.”
ABI produced the following data for the top three vendors worldwide:
Football team Real Madrid has struck a rather unlikely partnership with software giant Microsoft.
Under the deal, Microsoft will be Real Madrid’s technological partner and provide digital services to the club across a number of devices including PCs, tablets, smartphones and so-called “smart shirts”.
Microsoft is staying schtum about the financial implications of the partnership but did say a number of different technological developments will be rolled out in the next few months.
This, said Microsoft, will make Real Madrid the best digital football club in the world.
Newly hatched Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a prepared statement that it is “delighted” to offer digital tools to Real Madrid supporters across the world.
Orlando Ayala (pictured right) who runs emerging markets at Microsoft said the agreement was a start of long journey and his firm will build a digital platform for Madridistas to share their passion for the football team.
Compal, which claims to be the second largest contract maker of notebooks worldwide, said it anticipated slower sales of the devices this quarter.
The fourth quarter was traditionally the most bouyant time of the year to sell PCs.
But company president Ray Chen said that falling sales of notebooks will be offset by shipments of smartphones and tablets.
Chen said, according to the Taipei Times, that non PC business will contribute 30 percent of shipments this quarter. Last quarter that figure was 21 percent.
Compal makes tablets for Apple and Amazon, and Chen said smart devices will be the major driving force for revenues next year. Notebook shipments will flatline.
Margins are already slim for companies like Compal and Wistron who make devices that are often re-branded by multinationals like HP. Compal’s gross margin in this quarter is only 3.26 percent.
If an enterprise is thinking of deploying BYOD (bring your own device) programmes tablets are better than notebooks or smartphones.
That’s according to Gartner, which said that if an enterprise spends half a million dollars to deploy 1,000 enterprise owned tablets, it’s making a mistake. Because the same enterprise could support 2,745 user owned tablets at the same price.
Federica Troni, a research director at Gartner, said direct costs of user owned tablets are 64 percent lower and offering a BYOD option is the best way to keep costs down while broadening access.
She said that users’ own smartphones have a total cost of ownership similar to enterprise owned smartphones. They will only deliver savings when organisations don’t reimburse or subsidise voice and data plans.
There are problems, however, in the tablet BYOD idea. Users will have to at some extent doing their own support and they will also have to be to some degree IT savvy, she said.
Cooperation between mobile firm HTC and Google is giving the Taiwanese firm a boost.
According to the Taipei Times, orders for the Nexus 9 tablet have exceeded expectations and that means HTC has ramped up its production facilities.
HTC mobile phones are considered to be some of the most stylish smartphones on the market, but a lack of marketing budget has seen the firm struggling to compete with the majors in the market.
HTC doesn’t really play in the tablet market on its own and the report suggests it is taking a cautious view on revenues in the sector before it launches products it no doubt has, waiting on the sidelines.
Earlier this week HTC released figures for October 2014 showing unaudited revenues of NT$15.8 billion. Companies listed on the Taiwanese bourse report monthly rather than quarterly figures.
While some say that the phenomenal growth of tablet sales is starting to wane, a report today claims that the situation is quite different.
IDC said that the worldwide tablet market grew by 11.5 percent in the third quarter of 2014 – shipments totalled 53.8 million units.
The market research company said that sales were boosted by the “back to school” season and also an increased appetite for tablets in the US – one of the biggest markets.
Apple is still the leader in tablets, but is continuing to see a decline in its sales. It shipped 12.3 million units in the third quarter, while Samsung shipped 9.9 million units and despite being second has an 18.3 percent market share. Asus displaced Lenovo from number three.
Next was Asus, followed by Lenovo and in number five position is RCA, which got to its worldwide position by shipping 2.6 million tablets in the USA.
There is a long held adage about buying notebooks and that is don’t buy them in the fourth calendar quarter.
Intel always release new chips in the New Year and it’s always wise to wait for that to happen rather than get all excited before Yule. But just because chip prices will come down in early 2015, don’t rush to buy a new notebook because there is, of course, trouble on the Windows 8.1 scene.
Personally, I need a new notebook and would have bought one by now but for the fact that it’s very hard to buy one with the reasonable operating system Windows 7 any more. This is because Microsoft, as usual, is behaving like a headless chicken.
Microsoft has a sound track record of getting operating systems and operating environments wrong every other time it releases one. Just as Vista was a dog, so Windows 7 was pretty good and therefore Windows 8.1 was certain to be a dog.
It has decided not to bother with Windows 9 and its next operating system will be called Windows 10 – a bit of a cause for concern because Windows 9, compared to Windows 8, was probably going to be pretty good but now it’s calling Windows 9, Windows 10, that is a bit of a worry.
There’s other good news on the scene if you’re up for a new notebook, because Taiwanese based market research company Digitimes Research reckons that first tier vendors’ 8GB tablets are going to drop to $99 or less. It claims major Chinese vendor Lenovo is starting this particular price war.
As many as 40 percent of US citizens who work for large corporations use their own smartphones, desktops, laptops, and tablets to do business.
That’s according to IT market research company Gartner, which recently surveyed over 4,300 people about their technology and attitudes.
Amanda Sabia, a principal research analyst at Gartner, noted in her report that the lines beween work and play are becoming ever more blurred.
The Gartner survey demonstrated that personal desktop PCs were used the most for work at 42 percent, smartphones by 40 percent, laptops at 36 percent and tablets at 26 percent.
But it appears that enterprises aren’t putting pressure on people to use their own devices with only 25 percent of employees asked to do so by their employers.
The trend is firmly in favour of smartphones and tablets, with 32 percent of those surveyed likely to buy a smartphone, 23 percent to buy a notebook, 20 percent to buy a tablet and 14 percent a desktop PC.
Four out of five of those surveyed have downloaded mobile apps, said Gartner.
As smartphone screen sizes get bigger, tablet market share is shrinking.
That’s according to Gartner, which said that tablet sale growth is falling and in 2014 will represent less than 10 percent of all gizmos in 2014.
Hardware buyers are hanging onto their tablets and while sales will amount to 229 million units this year – up 11 percent from 2013, the overall trend is down. For example, in 2013 tablet sales grew by 55 percent.
Gartner beliees that shipments of PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones will hit 2.4 billion units this year. Ranjit Atwal, a research director at Gartner, said the relationship between PCs, ultramobiles and mobile phones is getting ever more complex.
He thinks some people won’t replace a tablet with a tablet but are taking an interest in hybrid or two in one devices.
Gizmos using the Android operating system will hit one billon this year, he said.
Windows for mobile devices in mature markets is growing, but growth is snail like, rather than cheetah like, according to Gartner.