Acer will cut its product line by 66% in 2012 and focus on simplifying its portfolio, company chairman JT Wang recently said according to reports. Wang expects the narrowed focus to be fine-tuned over the next two to three years, DigiTimes reports, but the sharper vision will have an immediate impact on sales — Acer thinks revenue will climb 10% in 2012 as Acer attacks the ultrabook market while shifting away from low-margin netbooks. The Acer boss also sees another upside to the advent of ultrabooks: the rise of slim Windows and Intel-powered notebook computers will weaken Apple’s growth over the next two years. As ultrabook prices begin to fall to the $699-range in 2012, their rapid adoption will slow sales of more expensive Mac laptops. Wang did note that fourth-quarter shipments were hurt by hard drive shortages due to the flooding in Thailand, but he says recovery was quicker than expected and business will rebound in the first quarter. More →
Samsung is considering an exit from the low-margin netbook business as soon as next year according to a recent report. French CNET blog Blogeee claims to have obtained an email sent by the South Korea-based electronics giant to several of its partners. “Following the introduction of our new strategy in 2012, we stop the product range in 10.1” (Netbook) in Q1 2012 for the benefit of Ultraportables products (11.6 and 12 inches) and ultrabooks to be launched in 2012,” the email reportedly stated (machine-translated). The matter could be one of semantics, however — Samsung’s “ultraportable” class may include low-cost notebooks driven by inexpensive ATOM processors. Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment. More →
Global tablet sales into channels exploded in the second quarter of 2011 to surpass netbooks for the first time in the emerging category’s young history. Market research and intelligence firm ABI Research determined that shipments of media tablets ballooned 112.5% in the second quarter to reach 13.6 million units, up from 6.4 million tablets in the first quarter this year. Netbook shipments declined from 8.4 million units to 7.3 million over the same period, just over half the number of media tablets shipped in the quarter. “This is a trend that we do not expect will reverse,” said ABI’s group director, mobile devices Jeff Orr in a statement. “As they are different segments, this is not a direct replacement behavior, but a changing of leadership for the most interesting device type.” ABI says Apple’s iPad line was responsible for 68% of tablets shipped globally in the second quarter, and the firm expects 60 million media tablets to ship globally in 2011. The firm’s full press release follows below. More →
Acer founder Stan Shih on Friday said that tablets like Apple’s iPad and ultrabooks like those in the works from numerous Intel partners — including Acer — are a “short-term phenomena.” Speaking with DigiTimes, Shih urged companies to continue focusing on notebook computers and innovative value-added products. Shih commended Apple for thinking outside the box when bringing the iPad to market, but said personal computers will continue to be requisites for businesses and consumers. When asked if Shih believed Acer’s upcoming low-cost 7-inch tablet would be a success, he noted that consumers indeed want low-cost options. Shih founded Acer, then called Multitech, in 1976 along with his wife. He ran the company until his retirement in 2004. More →
Taiwan-based Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute expects roughly 360 million combined personal computers and media tablets to ship in 2011, Taiwan Economic News reports. MIC sees PC shipments growing 6.6% over 2010 to land at more than 320 million units this year, and it thinks shipments of media tablets like Apple’s iPad 2ill w exceed 48 million units in 2011, up 198% from 2010. MIC senior industry analyst Chris Wei notes that the improving global economy and replacement PC purchases in the enterprise market would be largely responsible for this year’s growth. Needham & Company analyst Charlie Wolf recently estimated that Apple would ship 30 million iPad tablets in 2011, but the company will likely far exceed that figure if tablet shipments are indeed to surpass 48 million units as MIC predicts. More →
In a “Monday Note” blog post that questioned Intel’s new 3D transistors and the company’s lack of presence in the mobile space, former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassee took some stabs at the chip maker and stated that the PC market is dying. “Now that the PC market is in its twilight, with mobile devices proliferating and stealing growth from the PC, surely Intel has to get into the race,” Gassee argued, pointing out that every time Intel launched a new low-power processor for mobile devices, ARM had a better one up its sleeves. Intel has its Atom processor, designed for mobile use, but it’s been primarily placed in Windows tablets and netbooks instead of in smartphones. “For the past four years Intel has told us we’d see x86 mobile devices Real Soon Now,” Gasse wrote. “The company developed its own mobile version of Linux, MobLin, and they made a big deal of joining forces with Nokia’s Maemo to create MeeGo. But Nokia’s new CEO, Stephen Elop, kicked Meego to the [curb], wisely decided to focus on one software platform, his ex-employer’s Windows Phone 7.” Gassee also took a moment to address rumors that Apple will ditch Intel for ARM-based processors in 2013, and argued that “there’s no roadmap for ARM chips to beat Intel in computationally intensive areas,” such as CAD, Photoshop, and FinalCut, today, but that multicore ARM chips could power mid-range Apple laptops in the future.
While Acer scrambles to reverse the current negative trend that saw its PC shipments fall last quarter as revenue dove 56%, Taiwan-based competitor Asustek just issued second-quarter guidance that predicts growth in shipments over the first quarter of 2011. While analysts go back and forth over what the emerging tablet market’s impact on netbooks and notebooks might be moving forward, Asustek expects to ship 3.1 million devices this quarter, a 10.7% increase over the first quarter. While the company does plan to focus on tablets in addition to its core laptop business, it only expects about 9.7% of its total shipments — or 300,000 units — to be Eee Pad tablets. Asustek also expects revenue for the second quarter of 2011 to grow 5% to NT$77.6 billion. More →
Intel on Monday officially took the wraps off of its latest Atom Z760 processor, formerly codenamed “Oak Trail.” The Atom Z760 processor promises to provide better performance, specifically with multimedia playback, and it supports 1080p video encoding as well as HDMI-out in a package that’s 60% smaller than previous Atom CPUs. The new processor also supports Windows 7, Android and MeeGo, allowing manufacturers to build tablets that can boot into a variety of operating systems, and Intel says the chip is designed for more portable embedded designs. The Atom Z760 chip — clocked at 1.5GHz – has been shipping to manufacturers for the last few weeks and tablets from OEMs including Lenovo, Toshiba and Fujitsu are expected to hit the market as soon as this May. Intel confirmed with BGR that the “lion’s share” of the Atom Z760 powered tablets will run Windows 7. The chip maker will show devices running the new processor during the Intel Developer Forum, which begins on Tuesday, and it will also tease its next generation “Cedar Trail” chip for netbooks during the forum. Cedar Trail will provide support for Intel Wireless Display, PC Synch, Fast Boot and Intel Wireless Music. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Acer appears to have taken company founder and former CEO Stan Shih’s recent advice quite seriously. Late last month following news that Acer had lowered its guidance for the first quarter of 2011, Shih said Acer needed to overhaul its business if it hoped to remain competitive. He also noted that Acer should focus on improving its profit margin rather than becoming a leader in the PC market by shipment volume, as had been the company’s goal. Just two days later, Acer announced that its CEO, Gianfranco Lanci, was resigning from the company. Now, Acer’s interim CEO J. T. Wang said on Thursday that the company will indeed shift its focus away from shipment volume and will instead spend more time and money on research and development in an effort to deliver value and innovation to consumers. As an example, Wang said that Windows 8 and its support for ARM-based platforms would provide opportunities for new netbook and notebook designs. Wang also noted that while tablet sales will have an impact on sales of traditional computers, the devices’ impact on the market will not be dramatic enough to “kill” notebook computers or netbooks. More →
Acer founder Stan Shih on Tuesday said the company needs to overhaul its operations in order to stay competitive with the changing market. Shih’s comments, which were made at a National Culture and Arts Foundation event in Taiwan, were a response to news that Acer had lowered its first-quarter guidance. Acer said that declining demand in the U.S. and Europe due to the rapid growth of the consumer tablet market would result in a 10% drop in sales for the first quarter. Shih believes that Acer should overhaul its operations and focus on increasing profit margins rather than becoming a leader in the global PC market. Acer noted on Tuesday that its net profit margin is expected to drop below 2% in the first quarter from 2.93% in the previous quarter. Shih, who retired from his role as head of Acer in 2004 after founding the company in 1976 and building it into the largest computer company in Taiwan, said significant overhauls are commonplace at Acer. The company founder said that in the past, Acer has undergone an overhaul every 10 years or so in an effort to adapt to changes in the global market. More →
Shares of Acer stock were down nearly 7% on the Taiwan Stock Exchange Tuesday on news that the PC manufacturer had unexpectedly and significantly lowered it’s first-quarter sales estimates. The PC maker had previously estimated its first-quarter PC sales would grow 3% from the previous quarter. Now, Acer has adjusted its forecast, saying it expects sales to drop 10% compared to the prior quarter. Asustek, an Acer competitor, is also struggling with similar sales declines in the first quarter. Acer cites weakened demand in the U.S. and Western Europe for the drop off in sales. The emerging tablet market lead by Apple’s iPad and iPad 2 devices is also seen as largely contributing to the decline in PC sales. Acer expects its net profit margin to drop below 2% in the first quarter from 2.93% in the previous quarter, though it predicts that second-quarter PC shipments will reverse the downward trend, growing by 10% over first-quarter sales. More →
Sony’s first VAIO P was a was quite a disappointment considering how poorly it performed and the huge price tag it carried, but Sony seems to be confident that its second-gen VAIO P will right the wrongs of the past. Shipping one week ahead of schedule, the “Lifestyle PC” comes pre-loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium and has an Intel Atom Z530 processor and 2GB of RAM to help keep things flowing. Apart from that, the $900 rig has a 8″ 1600×768 display that’s straddled by optical trackpads, Everywair 3G, GPS, digital compass and an accelerometer. Of course if you lived elsewhere you’d have a lot more options than that to chose from, but who needs that much stress in their life?
According to market research firm IDC, 2010 will see shipments of PCs rebound in 2010 and erase the terrible sales figures seen in 2009. Overall sales are expected to rise 19.8% YoY with a total of 354.8 million units shipped. Notebook sales are anticipated to be the largest contributor to higher sales with growth targeted at 28.6% versus the 8.2% of desktops. As for netbooks, previously said by many to be the next big thing in personal computing, IDC believes that their sales will max out at 12% before tapering off. Why? Because everyone seems to want a tablet instead.