There may be some hope for the PC market after all. Digitimes‘ latest research report shows that notebook shipments posted a month-over-month across-the-board increase in June as HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer and Asus all saw their shipments increase from shipment volumes in May. On the downside, however, notebook shipments were still down year-over-year from June 2012 and the overall market for Windows-based PCs remained depressed compared to a year ago. That said, it’s good news that notebook shipments are starting to gain some positive momentum just as Microsoft is preparing to launch its Windows 8.1 update this fall that gives users to option to boot up to desktop mode and that brings back the Start button to some degree.
Tablets may indeed herald the coming of a “post-PC world,” but that world won’t arrive for another few years, NPD said on Tuesday. According to the latest NPD DisplaySearch figures, tablet shipments in 2016 will top 350 million units, putting them ahead of notebook shipments for the first time ever. NPD projects that tablet shipments will have a compound annual growth rate of 28% over the next five years as the total number of shipments rises from 121 million in 2012 to 416 million in 2017. Notebooks, meanwhile, will see shipments grow from 208 million in 2012 to 393 million in 2017. More →
Mobile World Congress has been a roller coaster ride so far this year. The week kicked off with a bang on Sunday with both Sony and HTC unveiling their latest and greatest smartphones, and the HTC One X was definitely the star of the show. Things were up and down on Monday and Tuesday however, and the show actually got pretty slow for a while there. Our time in Barcelona isn’t up just yet, however, and Microsoft chose today to unveil the latest version of its next-generation operating system, Windows 8. The technology giant released a preview version of Windows 8 last September, but we’re sure plenty has changed over the past five months. And beyond checking out all the new features Microsoft has undoubtedly baked into its new OS, we might finally get a better idea of when devices carrying the platform will finally launch. Microsoft’s Windows 8 press conference is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Eastern / 6:00 a.m. Pacific (3:00 p.m. local time in Barcelona), so hit the break for our live coverage of the event!
UPDATE: Don’t forget to check out our full review of Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which is now live! More →
Apple’s shipments of iPads and MacBooks in the fourth quarter combined to give the Cupertino-based company a 26.6% percent share of the mobile PC market, according to a report from DisplaySearch released on Thursday. Apple shipped a total of 23.4 million units, nearly three times the amount of No.2 HP. The iPad accounted for 18.7 million units and captured 59.1% of the tablet market. Amazon shipped 5.3 million Kindle Fire’s for 16.7% of the market, with Samsung shipping 2.1 million and controlling 6.7% of the market. ASUS shipped 1.5 million units for a 4.6% market share and Barnes & Noble shipped 1.1 million units for a 3.5% share. Apple’s fourth quarter notebook shipments came in at 4.6 million units for an 8.3% share of the market. Ranking ahead of the Cupertino-based company was HP (15%), Dell (11.8%), Acer (11.8%) and Lenovo (10.8%). Read on for DisplaySearch’s press release. More →
Google may be in the process of bringing its mobile operating system to desktop and notebook computers, according to a recent patent filing. The patent, which was discovered by Patently Apple, showcases desktop control features similar to Apple’s multitouch MacBook trackpad and Magic Trackpad. The current Android operating system has been designed for touch commands and actions, however in the future it may be expanded to support different means of control, Google said in the patent overview. Using a multitouch trackpad, a user can “directly interact with graphical elements located at the current pointer location as if they are using a touchscreen device, and perform traditional touchscreen operations (e.g., dragging/flinging content, scrolling).” Following Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, it is believed that the Mountain View-based company will now explore a variety of new hardware products. More →
Intel recently notified partners of its plans to postpone mass shipments of the company’s Ivy Bridge processors, reports DigiTimes. The company still plans to announce new products that will ship in small volume in April according to the report, although mass shipments are not expect to occur until after June. The supposed delay comes as a number of notebook vendors are seeing weakening sales from the diminishing global economy and other factors. Both vendors and Intel are said to have large inventories of Sandy Bridge processors, so the delay could be seen as a way to minimize the impact of leftover CPUs. More →
Acer chairman JT Wang on Thursday reaffirmed the company’s dedication to the new “ultrabook” market, further distancing his company from the low-margin netbooks that have dominated its PC lineup in the past. Following the success of Acer’s first-generation ultrabook — the Aspire S3 reportedly shipped between 250,000 and 300,000 units during its first quarter of availability — Acer plans to launch new ultrabook models in both the second and third quarters this year. According to DigiTimes, Wang estimates that Windows and Intel-powered ultrabooks will account for between 25% and 35% of the company’s PC sales in 2012. Wang expects notebook shipment volume to slide between 10% and 15% sequentially in the first quarter, however he expects full-year shipments to grow 10% compared to 2011. While sales in the U.S. and Europe are likely to remain relatively slow according to Acer, the company projects strong sales in Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand and other Southeast Asia markets. 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 →
Laptops running Microsoft’s Windows operating system currently utilize x86 processors, but that’s all about to change in mid-2013 when Windows 8 notebooks powered by ARM processors may hit the market. It could happen sooner, of course; Qualcomm’s CEO Paul Jacobs recently said that Windows 8 devices powered by his company’s ARM-based Snapdragon processors would hit the market in 2012. The Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered devices may only be tablets at first, however, and DigiTimes said Tuesday the first ARM-based notebooks from ASUS and Lenovo will begin to hit the market in June of 2013. Read on for more. More →
Sprint confirmed last month that beginning October 2nd, unlimited mobile hotspot plans would become limited mobile hotspot plans, affording users of the optional smartphone add-on 5GB of tethering data per month. Now, Sprint has added a second service to the unlimited data cemetery: mobile broadband. “If you have a mobile broadband device such as a tablet, netbook, notebook, USB card, connection card or Mobile Hotspot device, effective beginning with your next bill following notification, your on-network monthly data allowance will no longer include unlimited 4G,” Sprint said on its website. Starting next month, Sprint will offer three new mobile broadband plans that cap users at 3GB, 5GB or 10GB of combined 3G and 4G data per billing period depending on their plans. Additional data will be charged at $0.05 per megabyte, and the same overage charge applies to mobile hotspot plans. A table outlining the new plans follows below. More →
Sales of notebook computers during the back-to-school rush this year beat expectations, new data from market research firm NPD Group found. While sales of Windows laptops continued to slide compared to last year, the decline was significantly less severe than in the first half of the year according to NPD. Windows notebook sales between July and August dipped 4% compared to the same period in 2010, while sales in the first half of 2011 were down 12% year-over-year. “The sequential results from NPD’s back-to-school point-of-sale (POS) data indicates that after a shortfall early in the year that was mostly related to the difficult comparisons to the binge of buying after the release of Windows 7, the Windows notebook market remains solid,” said NPD vice president of industry analysis Stephen Baker in a statement. “The last two weeks of August are the most important period for back to school buying, and those weeks saw more than an 8 percent increase over last year in retail sales.” NPD’s full press release follows below. More →
Microsoft executives took to the stage at the annual BUILD developer conference on Tuesday to give the world its first real look at the future of the Windows operating system. The reception, as you’ve likely read by now, has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, Apple bloggers were apparently so flustered by the platform that they resorted to bombarding Twitter with jokes about cooling fans and Silverlight instead of stopping for a moment to realize that Microsoft is showing us the future of computing. The PC was the future, and it let people perform functions they never thought possible. Then the tablet was the future, and it let people interact with content in ways they never thought possible. Now, the future means all things to all people. Read on for more. 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 →