Fri, May 18, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Price may hurt Windows tablets

STICKING POINT:People might spend US$699 on a PC, but they will not shell out that much for a tablet, IDC said, and that is how much a Windows tablet could cost

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Tablet devices running on Microsoft Corp’s new Windows 8 operating system are expected to account for just 5 percent of the world’s overall tablet market next year, market researcher IDC said yesterday, because demand would be capped by their higher retail prices compared with major rivals.

Shipments of Windows 8 tablets, equipped with Intel Corp’s processors, are expected to reach 7 million units next year, IDC vice president Bob O’Donnell said on the sidelines of a technology forum arranged by the research house in Taipei.

Apple’s iPad series would continue to dominate the market by capturing a more than 50 percent share with shipments totaling nearly 150 million units next year, O’Donnell said.

“The problem is that Apple has set a [price] standard for tablets,” O’Donnell said. “In people’s minds, US$499 is the price for a tablet.”

Windows-based tablets are likely to be priced between US$599 and US$899 per unit, according to a forecast by Taipei-based research house Digitimes.

People may spend US$699 for a PC, but not for a tablet, as shown by the weak sales of tablets made by Samsung and HP, O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell said that worldwide PC shipments would grow by 5 percent this year from last year’s 350 million units, helped by replacement demand following the sales of the Windows 8 system and sales of new Ultrabooks.

The growth would come mainly from the BRIC nations — Brazil, Russia, India and China — he said.

O’Donnell said Ultrabooks would make up 10 percent of all notebook computer shipments this year, accounting for 15 percent of consumer-type notebooks, meaning that there was still a long way to go before reaching the 40 percent penetration rate of consumer-type laptops forecast by Intel.

Another IDC analyst, Helen Chiang (江芳韻), said that notebook computer shipments from contract manufacturers led by Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦) would grow at an annual rate of 6.93 percent to 213 million units this year.

Separately, IDC’s display analyst Annabelle Hsu (徐美雯) said disappointing flat-panel TV sales in China during the three-day May 1 holiday shopping season could jeopardize the price uptrend for TV panels.

TV sales in China only grew at 6 percent annually during the holiday, falling short of an estimate of a 10 percent expansion, Hsu said.

Prices for LCD TV panels with sizes larger than 40 inches are expected to slide again as inventories rise amid weaker-than-expected TV sales and an increase in new output in the second half, Hsu said. She did not provide a detailed forecast.

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