On the eve of Windows 7's Oct. 22 arrival, the all-in-one computer market has been on the rise and will continue to "surge," according to an Oct. 21 report from the NPD Group.
The growth is said to be the result of more entry-level price points and the use of touch as an interface - a feature particularly suited to Windows 7, with its integrated multitouch capabilities.
While 3.2 million AIO desktop PCs shipped worldwide in 2007, MPD Group expects the number to rise to 5.9 million in 2010. It sees "clear momentum for the next input interface to be touch," said the research firm in a statement, "with other possibilities like voice recognition also in the works."
On Oct. 7, Gateway - which is owned by Acer, which introduced an AIO in August and a touchscreen notebook in October - introduced a ZX Series of AIO desktops with touchscreens and Windows 7. Packed with features, the ZX Series includes a 20-inch-display model starting at $750, and a 23-incher starting at $1,400.
And on Oct. 20, Apple introduced two updated versions of its iMac AIO, though instead of putting touch on the screen, it incorporated it into the mouse. Called Magic Mouse, it's the first with multitouch.
Hewlett-Packard is taking still a third approach to touch.
"HP seems to be taking a bigger-picture view in leveraging touch as an interface for PCs, beginning with inclusion of touchscreen displays in its TouchSmart line of PCs in 2006," states the report. "HP's direction for touch recognizes that it is becoming a new way to interface with the PC, and that new ways to compute and access or manipulate data are evolutionary rather than revolutionary."
Other notable AIO announcements this year, according to NPD, came from, or will arrive before the holidays, from Dell's Studio 19 and Lenovo's IdeaCentre, as well as from Asus, BenQ, Fujitsu, MSI, Sony and ViewSonic.
"This wave of new AIO products was targeting entry-level price points for desktop PCs until LCD panel prices rose in the second half of 2009," said Chris Connery, a vice president with the DisplaySearch research firm under the NPD umbrella. "Many of these products have been repositioned to emphasize the enhanced features of Windows 7; lower-priced AIO products, including [netbooks], may emerge in 2010."
NPD's growth projections for AIOs additionally take into account increasingly price-conscious U.S. consumers, China's first-time PC buyers and new form factors for emerging markets.