Wed, Jan 14, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Mini notebooks key to PC growth: IDC

ROOM FOR GROWTH As higher-resolution screens are introduced, sales of mini-notebooks using larger widescreen and high-resolution panels could also increase

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

International Data Corp (IDC) yesterday released its Taiwan information and communication technology (ICT) predictions for this year and said growth in the entire PC industry would hinge on mini-notebook computers.

“Despite the global economic downturn and companies’ efforts to cut back on capital expenditure, various technologies still have plenty of room for growth, our analyses show,” said Alan Tsao (曹永暉), research manager at IDC’s enterprise solutions group.

The research house said the corporate spending in Taiwan would grow 1 percent, from US$6.33 billion last year to US$6.39 million this year.

The government’s aggressive spending programs, Tsao said, would be counterbalanced by pullbacks in the local financial services and manufacturing sectors.

In terms of hardware development, Helen Chiang (江芳韻), research manager in the PC and peripherals group, said that without doubt mini-notebooks would be the growth engine for the PC industry.

Chiang did not provide growth projections.

Compared with last year, “users will see increased availability in screen sizes, mini-notebooks manufactured by multiple computer vendors and further price reductions,” she said.

Continued decline in panel prices and large volume discounts on central processing units (CPU) would keep mini-notebook prices low, IDC said.

With more PC vendors entering the mini-notebook market this year, the researcher said the sector could be divided into traditional notebooks, netbooks and ultra-mobile PCs based on screen sizes and the CPUs used, such as Atom and Menlow.

Furthermore, 16:9 widescreen liquid-crystal displays (LCD) would become the mainstream configuration as suppliers increase their capabilities on those specifications. The supply-side driven trend would take hold as content is designed for 16:9 screens and full high-definition gets implemented using LCDs, Chiang said.

Presently, 19-in and 22-in screens take up the bulk of the LCD market share — 40 percent and 25 percent respectively. After better resolution is introduced, Chiang said sale of screens larger than 22-in should experience tremendous growth.

Chiang was also optimistic about micro-projectors. Previously, 70 percent of projectors were sold to businesses. With the introduction of micro-projectors and growing interest in multimedia content, it will be interesting to see how this technology fares this year, Chiang said.

Turning to broader trends, IDC saw green information technology getting stronger as companies become more environmentally conscious while cutting costs. The migration to energy-efficient equipments and the consolidation of information and storage systems would be the way ahead, Chiang said.

IDC said cloud computing would diversify into software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and hardware-as-a-service segments, with international as well as local companies capitalizing on these opportunities.

Lastly, fixed mobile convergence, Web 2.0 and a changing IT regulatory landscape would also provide many business opportunities this year, IDC said.

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