At IFA, Convertible PCs Give Hope to Intel, Microsoft, Others
Global PC sales have been falling for several quarters as users have embraced devices like tablets that are touch-enabled and less expensive than many PCs. Many tech vendors were caught flat-footed by the rapid transition toward mobility, particularly in the years after the 2010 release of Apple's iPad. IDC analysts in July announced that in the second quarter, PC shipments fell 11.4 percent, and in August, they lowered their forecast for the year, saying shipments will decline 9.7 percent, despite the improvements in Windows 8.1 and the power-efficiency increases in x86 processors. Jay Chou, senior analyst for IDC's Worldwide PC Tracker, said the industry is still struggling to come up systems that will entice buyers away from tablets. "While efforts by the PC ecosystem to bring down price points and embrace touch computing should make PCs more attractive, a lot still needs to be done in launching attractive products and addressing competition from devices like tablets," Chou said in a statement after the second-quarter numbers were released. However, Intel executives are optimistic about the new systems—including convertibles and hybrids—being created by OEMs based on the company's Haswell and Bay Trail offerings.Mobility will be a key theme for Intel during its Intel Developer Forum 2013 event starting Sept. 10. The show comes around the same time Smith said the company should start seeing customer response to the multitude of Haswell- and Bay Trail-based systems running Windows 8. "There are dozens of designs coming to market, and when you just kind of go OEM-by-OEM, design-by-design, and you're looking what's coming to the marketplace, it's unlike anything I've seen in my 25 years," he said during the Citi conference. "I think the question … is what price points will those enable on shelf and how aggressive will the customer base be in terms of getting the assortments and SKUs out there, and I think that story plays out over our September and October, where we'll really start to see that."
"Now what you're seeing is [Haswell is] unleashing a lot of innovation within our customer base to bring two-in-ones to the market places—so touch-enabled devices, detachables, convertibles—where you get best of a PC and a tablet in one," Intel CFO Stacy Smith said Sept. 4 during the Citi conference. "I think the combination of all of that certainly sets the stage for a lot of volume growth in the two-in-one category. … So there are segments of the markets where I think we're likely to see good volume growth."