Slumping PC market shows a glimmer of hope in first quarter

April 11, 2017

The long-suffering personal computer market may be finally recovering from the damage inflicted by the shift to smartphones and tablets.

International Data Corp. estimates that PC shipments during the first quarter rose by nearly 1 percent from last year. The modest gain marks the first quarterly increase in five years, a stretch that has seen people increasingly rely on for their computing needs.

A separate report by Gartner wasn't as upbeat. That research firm estimated PC shipments fell by 2 percent in the first quarter.

The two firms measure the PC market in different ways, accounting for the contrasting conclusions.

Both reports concurred that PC makers are being helped as business replace machines that are several years old. Consumers, though, remain reluctant buyers.

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EyeNStein
1 / 5 (2) Apr 11, 2017
With innovation in PC's so slow, and tablets so capable and relatively user friendly: Who would want a noisy power hungry box under their desk unless they had a very good reason.
With power in the cloud available to analyse complex speech and do semi-smart searches the PC doesn't need its higher power for most applications.
Once the power in the cloud matures; even apps like video and photo editing can be faster and smarter online: With no more latency than a multi-player shoot 'em up. Future PC OS's will be more like a dedicated online game platform with much of the OS's smarts in the cloud.
Having your own AI under the desk doing nothing 99% of the time is just dumb.
mtnphot
5 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2017
Dumb? Edit a 1.5Gb file on line some time and tell me how well it goes. Then try it again when you have no network connectivity and tell me how well the cloud works for you.
That is why there are desktop PC's in the world.
EyeNStein
not rated yet Apr 12, 2017
I agree,but the PC is pretty much in limbo at present though. The OS wants to drag you slowly and inefficiently into the cloud every chance it gets, the dumb AI is annoying but sometimes v helpful. I don't yet see any compelling reason to upgrade or replace the laptop I'm typing this on. So the only PC sales figure would be 'left it on a train' or 'spilled coffee on it'.

But presumably your 1.5GB is backed up to the cloud already? So all you would need in the future would be a rented virtual PC packed with more rendering power (normally expensive software, many CPU cores, and much RAM) than you can afford to buy maintain and upgrade and you could be video editing with real time layered FX. Then watching your product on the lounge TV and your boss can watch it on his home TV simultaneously. Or if you are a domestic user your 'best you can afford' PC does edits live but complex HD FX sequences off-line overnight and 'the wife' is the limiting factor on upgrades (=sales) ;-)
EyeNStein
not rated yet Apr 13, 2017
Look at Adobe creative cloud apps and the features like speech/script recognition, music sync and scene clipping. Scripting and scene drag/drop can be done on any reasonable laptop/ipad.

You need your traditional expensive workstation with fast hardware, and 1,000's in software costs, much less of the time.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2017
I agree,but the PC is pretty much in limbo at present though.

If you create content or for serious gaming the PC is still the machine of choice. What we've seen in the past is that those who just consume content move to devices that give you this capability and little more. It seems that now the market has reached the plateau-phase of this separation.
EyeNStein
not rated yet Apr 14, 2017
The current PC is stuck in between its legacy architecture (OS and hardware) and a slow pipe to the cloud. Getting anything done is like wading though treacle and takes massive CPU power and resources to get it done.
When the PC is viewed as a flexible cache of capabilities, optimised and AI assisted its true power will re-emerge above tablets with a limited cache.
The video you are editing and all the pictures of your aunt Emily are there in cache and newer edit assist skills are out in the cloud if the connection is there today.
The new architecture should be something like NVME storage which looks like permanent RAM: And with firmware like 'NVMesh' that storage extends out to local assets and the internet.
And with firmware like 'HADOOP' your data queries reach extend outwards similarly.
Your PC 'cache' size then represents how much you can do almost instantly. The ultimate 'size' of this architecture is only limited by the latency you accept for this virtual data space.

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