ANALYTICAL EGGHEADS at Gartner have confirmed that it's a bit early to be sounding the death knell for the PC, predicting a rise of up to 2.1 per cent in shipments of devices (of all form factors) during 2018.
Shipments in 2017 hit 2.28 billion units, with 2.32 billion as the prediction for this year.
Of course, mobile is the big driver. Despite the failure of initiatives like Microsoft's Continuum, small devices are now powerful enough to head toward convergence with mobile devices, thanks to the ever-increasing processing power.
The other big rise comes from small and light Apple and Windows devices like MacBooks and Ultrabooks which are "stimulating high demand'.
"Consumers have many technologies to choose from, which poses two main challenges for vendors. The first is to compete for wallet share, given how many devices consumers own. The second is to deliver value and maintain relevance - to offer the right device to the right audience," says Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
"We will see more buyers focusing on value, rather than just price, and therefore considering higher-priced devices."
This issue is being augmented by the ongoing price increase of DRAM memory, which is being passed on to the end user. Gartner hints that it expects something will give way eventually and we'll see a drop, but at the moment, demand for DRAM far outweighs supply, so don't hold your breath.
The same cannot be said for traditional PCs, though. These are expected to decline by 5.4 per cent this year, with old style notebooks leading the drop at 6.8 per cent. After all, who wants a big weighty notebook when a thin and light one can do the same and more?
Mobile phone shipments will go up 2.6 per cent in the year, which is around the 1.9 billion unit mark. Of those, 87 per cent will be smartphones.
Apple is expected to be a major driver of the rise, with its new models being announced and adopted in huge numbers as usual. BaaRamEwe indeed.
Gartner expects to see more artificial intelligence of the type we're starting to see from Honor and Huawei, more virtual assistant functionality, and more 'natural' user interfacing, with MWC 2018 being the reveal for the first batch.
But as for 5G? You could be waiting a while. Gartner believes that even by 2021, the percentage of smartphones with 5G will be just 9 per cent. µ
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