The big changes occurring in the PC market
Has anyone else noticed the big changes that are happening in the PC market? I was at Staples the other day, and was looking at their selection of Desktop computers. Compact and small, with special niches to hide the keyboard in, touch sensitive monitors... they are starting to look like props in a Star Trek movie. Here are two of the computers I saw:
But its not just the look, its also the function and technology. These things have ports on them for connecting to HD TV, and all sorts of other things.
This article at Linuxinsider.com has a look at the current trends, and where they are taking the PC computer market. Some excerpts:
The State of the Desktop
The laptop computer has been gaining on traditional desktop PCs for some time. Replacing one's desktop completely with a portable computer that has enough power to handle any common task is now a feasible option for consumers, and more are heading that direction. Laptops are siphoning off sales of desktops.
As more and more customers look to smaller computing solutions, desktops are undergoing a transition. With many models, manufacturers are turning away from big, clunky, energy-hogging boxes to smaller, thinner and more energy efficient solutions.
The desktop computer market is facing a replenishment phase. Continued purchases of desktop PCs will be primarily made by existing desktop owners who need to upgrade their hardware, though more and more frequently, those consumers will seriously consider and in fact decide to spend their money on a fully powered laptop instead, according to industry analysts.
About a decade ago, computer manufacturers had few new roads to explore, having sold PCs to nearly all of the 850 million people worldwide who wanted and could afford a machine, according to Stephen Dukker, chairman of NComputing and former CEO of Emachines. Citing a Gartner Research report, Dukker said there is a potential for 755 million new computer users who can't afford desktops as they are priced today.
"The desktop market has not been growing until recently with the rise of developing countries," Dukker told TechNewsWorld.
"Green PCs use less power and give more performance," Steve Bulling, senior product manager for professional desktops and displays for Gateway, told TechNewsWorld.
For instance, new technologies are reducing power specifications for desktop PCs from 95 watts to 60 watts while still maintaining performance, he explained.
Related to the green PC influences are shifting attitudes over outfitting every computer user with top-of-the-line performance. There is a growing viewpoint in corporate management circles that few workers need maximum features and power to do their jobs, Bulling said.
"Consumers are starting to want smaller form factors and are becoming receptive to energy efficiency with the ability to put the box under the desk or behind other items on the desk surface," suggested Bulling.
"Emachine took the (US)$800 PC and sold it for $400. That was the last major expansion in user base. People still pay today about $700. The cost to build hasn't changed. Only the performance has changed," Dukker explained.
By comparison, today's PCs are supercomputers with 1,000 times more power than 10 years ago, he said. Now PC makers have to worry about a trend for all applications going to the Web.
"Nobody can make any money selling desktops. The margin is 6 percent. There is so little money that Emachines had to sell out to a competitor in a similar fashion to Compaq being absorbed by HP," Dukker said.
(bold emphasis mine) The article also gives more details about new innovations, such as terminals that run off a central PC, that only draw 6 watts of power, yet can deliver a full featured PC experience. Compared to the standard 200 watts that powers a desktop PC, by using several terminals per PC instead, the cost savings could be enormous. Then of course there are trends like Linux, as people look for cheaper options than being forced to updgrade to Windows Vista when Microsft ends support for Windows XP. Read the whole thing if you want a look into the future of computing.
The following is a link to a compilation of post I've done about the big changes occurring in laptop market place, and the changes we will being seeing soon.