Mon, Jun 04, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Computex to unveil Windows 8 devices

REPLACEMENT DRIVER:Notebook manufacturers say that Microsoft’s upcoming operating system will be key to driving demand for notebook replacements

By George Liao  /  Staff reporter

Workers yesterday put the finishing touches on booths at the Taipei World Trade Center, the venue of the annual Computex, Asia’s leading IT trade fair.

Photo: AFP / Mandy Cheng

Global electronics manufacturers, including PC brands Acer Inc (宏碁) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), are expected to showcase their latest devices supporting Microsoft Corp’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system at this year’s Computex trade show, aiming to benefit from PC and mobile device replacement demand in the second half of the year, the event co-organizer and company executives said.

“The highly anticipated Windows 8 operating system is going to be the talk of the town at Computex Taipei, where visitors will have the chance to try out the new system on new devices before the offical launch,” said Enoch Du (杜全昌), secretary of the Taipei Computer Association (TCA, 台北市電腦公會), co-organizer of the largest computer show in Asia.

The annual computer show, which starts tomorrow and runs through Saturday, is hosting 1,800 exhibitors this year and is expected to attract about 36,000 overseas visitors, the TCA said.

Big brands, such as Acer, Asustek and Micro-Star International Co (MSI, 微星科技), plan to unveil their new Windows 8 devices, including tablets, Ultrabooks and all-in-one PCs, the TCA said in a news release on Saturday.

Microsoft is expected to launch the new system sometime in the fourth quarter, market researcher International Data Corp (IDC) said. IDC forecast that shipments of Windows 8 tablets would reach 7 million units next year.

“Because Windows 8 works across a number of different platforms, including notebooks, tablets, desktops, TVs, servers and smartphones, whether it succeeds will have a far-reaching effect across different sectors,” TCA deputy secretary-general Chang Li (張笠) said on the sidelines of a product award ceremony on Tuesday. “The performance of Windows 8 and its touch feature on Ultrabooks will be the focal point of the show because the feature will be key to bringing about notebooks’ replacement demand.”

Notebook brands and contract notebook computer makers in Taiwan are pinning their hopes on the sale of Windows 8 to stimulate a new wave of notebook replacement demand in the second half of the year and next year.

“To match the launch of Windows 8 in the second half, we’ll launch new products like tablets and notebook computers equipped with touch [screens],” Gibabyte Technolgoy Corp (技嘉科技) senior vice president Richard Ma (馬孟明) told reporters on Friday.

That would help Gibabyte grow its shipments by 50 percent annually in the second half of this year, Ma said, reversing stalled momentum in the first half because of a shortage of hard disk drives and a weak global economy.

Barry Lam (林百里), chairman of Quanta Computer lnc (廣達), the world’s top contract laptop computer maker, told reporters that market demand was not a problem at all.

“The growth momentum will be driven by the sales of Windows 8,” Lam said.

He said the launch of the new operating system would hopefully stimulate PC replacement demand.

Additional reporting by Lisa Wang

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