Ronnie05's Blog

The dawn of post PC!

Posted in Device Platforms by Manas Ganguly on January 10, 2014

The PC is dead and this year’s CES proves it- BBC’s Timothy Lee.

Going by the product roadmap declarations from Intel, the surprising popularity of Chromebooks, the visions of augmented reality and touch based future interfaces and (the old news) Google Glass – computing is evolving and the PC is a dead generation.

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The general-purpose PC became the dominant computing paradigm of the late 20th Century because computing hardware was too expensive and cumbersome for most families to own more than one or two of them. But processing power is getting smaller and cheaper, while display technologies with flexible and durable screens are getting more flexible and powerful. The PC was the jack of all trades, but master of none. In contrast, special-purpose designs can be tailor-made for a specific application. As those devices become smaller, cheaper, and more versatile, the cost, size, and complexity of conventional PCs will be more of a turnoff for ordinary users. Right now, no one is clambering for computers in their wristwatches or tables. But the combination of tiny, cheap computer chips and increasingly strong and flexible displays will eventually mean powerful computational capabilities being integrated into a wide variety of household objects.

Obviously, PCs won’t go away completely. After all, IBM still has a thriving business selling mainframes.Also, if you want to do serious spreadsheet wrangling, photo editing, or software development, a Chromebook or a Tablet probably won’t cut it. But most people have no interest in doing those things outside the office. If, like millions of people, you mostly want to check Facebook, read your email, and watch YouTube videos, then a ChromeBook works just fine. And ChromeBooks aren’t only cheaper, they also avoid many of the hassles and pitfalls—software updates, malware, baffling error messages—of Windows PCs. Most users don’t actually need all the features of a standard PC, and for them the extra complexity just means more headaches. Hard-core gamers have long been a key market for PCs. Gaming consoles aren’t new, of course, but the most sophisticated and powerful games have always relied on the superior horsepower of a full-scale PC. However PC Gaming gaint Valve, unveiled a line of special-purpose gaming devices designed to entice PC gamers into the living room. These machines should have enough computing power to satisfy even the most demanding gamers.

The key concern here for PC is that most of the vertical innovation is happening out of PC. This then is the era when the Consumer innovation on PC as a major platform is over.

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India PC Shipments (Q2, 2013): IDC

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on September 2, 2013

The overall India PC shipments for Q2 2013 stood at 3.53 million units, representing a substantial year-on-year growth of 24.0% over Q2 2012 and a quarter-on-quarter surge of about 30.2 % over Q1 2013.

State-led manifesto driven spending on notebooks steered commercial investments in the India PC market in Q2 2013. Special projects currently being executed in states like UP, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu accounted for roughly one third of the total PC market size in Q2. However, the organic demand for PCs in India outside special projects has weakened, which remains a cause of concern for PC vendors. Further, the rupee slide derailed enterprise spending, as the investment decisions remained seemingly delayed across most of the verticals.

The consumer market in Q2 witnessed a marginal growth over Q1 2013 aided by back-to-school campaigns and loading of stocks across partners in preparation to the impending price hike on account of rupee volatility.

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HP recorded its highest ever quarterly market share with an exceptional 34.1% share in Q2 2013 dominating both consumer and enterprise segments
Even with Dell globally going south, Dell in India, took the second position with a share of 11.0% in Q2 2013. Their presence at the entry level price-band has given them much room to drive their volumes.
Acer took third with a market share of 10.4% propelled by large deals in the states of Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, which fueled their growth in the commercial PC market in Q2

Q3 has historically witnessed strong consumer buying in lieu of the forthcoming festive season in various parts of the country. This is also well aided by the back-to-school/college season and related campaigns undertaken by vendors and partners across different regions. IDC expects 2013 to be no different. Consumer sentiments have peaked at the right time as they begin to reconcile with the market reality on inflation and related pressures. Retail walk-ins have improved and share of consumer wallet looks to move back to PCs, which is an encouraging sign for the consumer PC vendors.

However, the PC business continues to thrive on wafer thin margins and it is still early to comment on the success of new form factors, which were anticipated to drive the overall value of this business. Also, outside special projects, demand from enterprises and government remain largely suppressed painting a gloomy scenario on commercial PC business, in the near future.

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HP’s consumer busines foray:its biggest judgement error!

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on August 20, 2011

Even while some people had some lingering expectation about a fourth front in smartphones and tablets, where WebOS and HP could have played a niche dominated role- HP dropped the ball.HP is not seemingly keen on the consumer space and has indicated that it will discontinue its tablet computer and smartphone products and may sell or spin off its PC division, bowing out of the consumer businesses.

HP killing the Touchpad/WebOS, its decision to hive of its PC business and the extreme business re-direction towards selling software solutions, servers and other business equipment to B2B sellers is a fall out of a massive strategy re-think. This is one of the most extreme makeovers in the company’s 72-year history and signals new CEO Leo Apotheker’s most transparent move to date to make HP look more like longtime rival IBM Corp.

Unfortunately, it does give a impression that HP for the last some months has been undecided on its future course which is so not good for a business house such as HP. It means that the $1.25 bln it spent in acquiring Palm and the $1 bln restructuring cost booked in Q4 this year has been a drain on the resources and a massive let down for the shareholders. One may argure that all that all this is with a cause of making money in the long term, but it still doesnot take the limelight away from the fact that HP was de-focussed on its intent around consumer markets. HP has allready lost 55% share value from its share price high this February.

HP's fall from its $40 highs to $16 levels has erased 60% of its market Cap

HP's fall from its $40 highs to $16 levels has erased 60% of its market Cap

In as far as Web OS touchpads and the HP series of Smartphones in concerned, it was rather evident even before HP entered the fray, that it was going to be a crowded market and a bloody battle with no easy footholds and quick victories.It is here that HP was the victim of the Apple and Google juggernauts, as iPads and iPhones and smartphones running Google’s Android software have been hot sellers, while HP devices have languished. Why wasn’t HP able to factor that in? In light of the Motorola acquisition by Google, Tech pundits had speculated that rivals HP and Microsoft could potentially capitalize on Google’s acquisition by licensing webOS and Windows Mobile OS out to these manufacturers. HP it seems thought differently altogether.

It’s also possible that HP could follow in Motorola’s footsteps, putting its patent portfolio on the market for a hefty sale. That way HP would extract some salvage value from its consumer-business asssets.

HP now presents another case study hings of how things can go from good to concerning in a few business quarters

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Tablets:Why would they be a late starters in India?

Posted in Industry updates, Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on July 26, 2011

While Tablets are the hottest gadgets and are eating away into the netbook and laptop global markets, thereby inducing most of the PC makers to make their own tablets to keep their toplines and bottomlines in shape. Blame it on the iPad which got the Tablet juggernaut which started and the Android tablets which are eating into the low, mid and high end of the tablets segment currently. The IDC forecast for Tablet growth globally compares starkly versus the PC sales.

However the story in India has been somewhat different in Indian context. While tablets have become an aspirational device for people who possess more than one computer, the sales units are around a 100K on an annual basis led mostly by Samsung. One sees a lot of tablets in airports and on planes, but that is where the device has been able to create a niche. Its far from mainstream acceptance.

Factors that impede Tablet penetration in India:

1. Limited Features such as lack of USB port, CD/DVD drives, software and memory upgradation
2. Tablets by nature are used for consuming content – playing, downloading, social networking, apps. However, a tablet is far behind the laptop in terms of content creation. In emerging markets such as India, content creation devices will always be in more demand than the content consumption devices.
3. Wireless broadband and 3G networks are till in infancy and WiFi hotspots are still are in India.
4. Where-ever the broadband services are available, the costs are high and the speeds are un-uniform, not to speak low as well.

These may be the negatives but that doesnot end the story in India. As with all devices, Tablets will take their time to hit the sweetspot in pricing and proposition in the markets.
1. Internet in India is growing by multiple factors and the young population is increasingly turning to digital avatars as a way of life. Facebook, Twitter lead the way in the Indian way of self expression which in turn fuels internet growth
2. Broadband and other connection techniques are on the up as higher data speeds are breached and 4G a possible reality by 2015-16
3. The number of tablet makers in the country have multiplied. 6 months back we only had Apple and Samsung and now we have Moto, Olive, HTC, Blackberry, HP in the fray. This should be a case where supply will create its own demand
4. White labelled Mid end tablets @ Rs.6K-10K backed by Telcos will be an interesting device proposition to the first time laptop buyer. Given that attachments such as docking ports, key pads and more are to follow, the tablets will develop the tablet habit.
5. Enterprises and Schools will also allow tablets as an easy media machine: cheap, handy, portable and with much less hassle than laptops.

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