As the industry readies itself for a year that will be dominated with tablet and smartphone launches, questions are being raised as to whether the comparatively traditional desktop and notebook PC market can reinvigorate itself and find a place in consumers' rapidly evolving mobile lifestyles.
Market intelligence and advisory services firm IDC believes that there is still a clear role for the PC in the future of consumer computing, but only if hardware, processor and software manufacturers embrace transparency and interconnectivity. "The growth of the industry is very clear; the key challenge will not be what form factor to support or what app to enable, but how will the computing industry come together to truly define the market's transformation around a transparent computing experience. In the end, consumers will demand the same level of simplicity and convenience on any device and for any service," said Mario Morales, Program Vice President, Semiconductors and EMS at IDC.
Windows 8 touch and type interface offering new possibilities
IDC expects that the industry, which is currently in a period of stagnation, has a chance to rebound and redefine its role in the consumer's life due in part to the innovations contained within Windows 8 -- that is, touch and type interfaces -- and the chance it offers manufacturers to develop new and exciting products based around the traditional notebook or desktop concept.
Mobility and the PC
The company's report highlights that in 2013 over 2 billion users will access the internet and that over half of those will do so via mobile connected devices, meaning that the computers that will succeed in this market are those that offer better performance and better battery life as well as mobility. Therefore ultrabooks and convertibles have a huge chance to make an impact on the market in the coming years. As do full-PC tablet hybrids such as Microsoft's Surface Pro, set to launch later this year. As the report states "IDC expects that this year the industry will see an acceleration in investment and innovation in technology, design, materials science, and software platforms that cut across personal computing form factors. This is the reinvigoration that the PC market needs to change course, and initiatives like the Ultrabook category are just the first step in the PC industry's new path."