Acer is well on course to overtake Hewlett-Packard as the world's leading laptop vendor by the end of this year, according to Chairman J.T. Wang. He said that better-than-expected performance in some countries should see revenues jump 10-15 percent sequentially in the third quarter. He made the comments while addressing shareholders at a meeting.
However, Acer may have already pipped HP to the top spot in the netbook market. Gartner's research shows that the Taiwanese PC vendor finished the first quarter as the world's leading notebook seller ahead of HP, though the gap between the two was marginal – 9.49 million notebooks to HP's 9.47 million.
Wang said that the company has managed to grow even in the face of the ongoing debt crisis in Europe. More importantly, Acer hasn't resorted to price hikes to offset the recent wage increases in China. Moving forward, the world's number two PC vendor hopes to make a dent in the smartphone market aided by Google Android.
While the tech industry might like to forget that 2009 ever happened, things are shaping up much more nicely in recent times. So much so that market research firm Gartner predicts worldwide semiconductor capital equipment spending to shoot past $35.4 billion by the end of 2010, which would represent a 113.2 percent increase from one year ago.
"The drive to new technology nodes will drive semiconductor equipment growth in 2010," said Klaus Rinnen, managing vice president at Gartner. "The demand for 40nm and 45nm devices is now ramping up, resulting in heavy foundry-based capital spending. Investment at the 3x node by Intel, an increase in spending by NAND memory producers, and the transition to the next generation DDR3 DRAM memory are the key investment growth drivers."
At the same time, Rinnen warns that the growth will start to taper off in 2011 as orders start to slow down. Rinnen predicts the market will still see an upwards trend, but only to the tune of 6.6 percent.
""We could see a slight slowing in orders as 2010 ends, and the industry focuses on macroeconomic conditions. We expect capital equipment growth to continue through 2011, but at a reduced rate, as spending responds to slower growth in the semiconductor markets," Rinnen said.
Despite any talk of netbook sales starting to die down, these portable PCs continue to play a huge role in growing the mobile market. According to market research firm Gartner, notebook shipments rose by 43.4 percent in the first quarter of 2010, much of which can be attributed to a 71 percent jump in netbook sales. In addition, year-over-year growth in the laptop market was the highest it's been in the past eight years.
Over 49 million PCs were shipped around the world in the first quarter of 2010, and some 20 percent of those were netbooks. By comparison, netbooks accounted for roughly 13 percent of PC sales in the first quarter of 2009, Gartner said.
Not included in these sales figures are tablet devices, such as Apple's iPad. The reason? Gartner doesn't consider tablets as replacements for laptops and netbooks, even if Yankee Stadium might disagree.
There will be a return to growth in the IT industry this year, with worldwide IT spending expected to climb by 4.1 percent and jump past $2.4 trillion in 2010, says market research firm Gartner.
"2010 will see IT spending in all major industries returning to growth, although that growth will vary by individual sector," Gartner research director Kenneth Brant said in an announcement. "National and international government will show the strongest growth in 2010, as IT spending is forecast to grow 6.2 percent worldwide.”
At the same time, Gartner warned vendors that they should brace themselves in case technology spending growth slows down as part of a "double dip" recession. But for now, Gartner sees growth on the horizon, particularly in the banking and securities industry, and the retail sector, which should see a 4.6 percent increase to $397 billion and 4.7 percent increase to $149 billion, respectively.
In what research firm Gartner is calling a "robust recovery" in certain parts of the world, PC shipments around the globe ballooned to 84.3 million units in the first quarter of 2010. That's a 27.4 percent increase from the same quarter in 2009, and higher than the 22 percent growth Gartner had predicted.
"The stronger-than-expected growth was led by a robust recovery in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) PC market, which grew 24.8% in the first quarter of 2010," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "All other regions recorded double-digit growth rates, although the US and Latin America were slightly lower than what we had expected.
"These first-quarter results indicate that the professional PC market is gradually picking up, driven by PC replacements in mature markets," Kitagawa said. "With a relatively positive macroeconomic outlook, business demand was more forthcoming. Major PC replacement demand driven by Windows 7 will become more apparent in the second half of 2010 and the beginning of 2011."
PC shipments in the US totaled 17.4 million units in the first quarter, representing a 20.2 percent growth rate from one year ago. That's the second consecutive quarter of double-digit shipment growth. Toshiba was a big benefactor in all this, which saw shipments jump by 50 percent as the result of competitive pricing and promotions.
Market research firm Gartner believes that IT spending will continue to trend upwards this year and is projected to reach $3.4 trillion worldwide. That would represent a 5.3 increase over 2009, though Gartner was quick to point out that a dollar today isn't worth what it was yesterday.
"Following strong fourth quarter sales, an unseasonably robust hardware supply chain in the first quarter of 2010, combined with continued improvement in the global economy, sets up 2010 for solid IT spending growth," said Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner. "However, it's important to note that nearly 4pp of this growth will be the result of a projected decline in the value of the dollar relative to last year. IT spending in exchange-rate-adjusted dollars will still grow 1.6% this year, after declining 1.4% in 2009."
Much of the growth will come from the infrastructure market, including software to build, run, and manage an enterprise. On the hardware side, Gartner predicts spending to reach $353 billion in 2010, a 5.7 increase from 2009.
"Computing hardware suffered the steepest spending decline of the four major IT spending category segments in 2009. However, it is now forecast to enjoy the joint strongest rebound in 2010," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.
A new report by Gartner suggests that by the year 2015, your kids are going to make you feel old. Really old. The reason? They're going to look at you funny when you talk about growing up on PCs without touchscreens, which they'll find more horrific than when your folks used to talk about trekking to and from school 5 miles in a blizzard, uphill, both ways.
"What we're going to see is the younger generation beginning to use touchscreen computers ahead of enterprises," said Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner. "By 2015, we expect more than 50 percent of PCs purchased for users under the age of 15 will have touchscreens, up from fewer than 2 percent in 2009. On the other hand, we are predicting that fewer than 10 percent of PCs sold to enterprises in 2015 for mainstream knowledge workers will have touchscreens."
The reason enterprises will be outpaced by 15-year-olds in adopting touchscreens is because of the heavy requirements for typing and text input, Gartner says. And as prices come down, schools will emerge as a major market to touch and pen-enabled devices, exposing kids to touchscreen computing at a younger age than ever before.
"Consensus among the Gartner client U.S. school districts is that over half, and possibly as many as 75 percent, will be specifying touch and/or pen input within the next five years," said Ms. Fiering. "Consider this as the precursor to a major upcoming generational shift in how users relate to their computing devices."
We've heard all the gloom and doom predictions from PC naysayers, but rest assured, PCs aren't going anywhere. On the contrary, market research firm Gartner predicts PC shipments will skyrocket by 20 percent this year, in part because of mobile devices.
"The PC industry will be overwhelmingly driven by mobile PCs, thanks to strong home growth in both emerging and mature markets," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, in a statement.
Mobile devices such as notebooks and netbooks accounted for 55 percent of all PC shipments in 2009, and by 2010, Gartner expects that number to jump to 70 percent. Desktop PCs, on the other hand, aren't expected to see quite as much growth, although Gartner did say the market will remain robust as companies allocate more funds to upgrade their PCs.
Yeah, right, responded comScore. In the language of the smackdown, Alistair Hill, a comScore analyst, said, “I think somebody's missed something out on the math there...I find that hard to believe. We know iPhone users buy a lot more apps than anybody else, but that [Gartner’s finding] still doesn't work.”
Is Gartner right? Maybe. Maybe not. Gartner doesn’t survey the entire app universe, so there’s a chance some data is missing. But, Apple reported 2.5 billion app downloads in 2009. Averaging revenues on downloads, Apple would only need to generate $1.67 per app download, so Apple’s revenue could be legitimate. (Gartner, responding to a follow up from Ars Technica, defends its figures as accurate.)
If market research firm Gartner's numbers are even remotely in the ballpark, then Apple just socked Android in the face, knocked its rival down, and then tea-bagged the little green open-source fanboy. Harsh? You bet, but there's really no way else to describe dominating the $4.2 billion mobile app market by grabbing a 99.4 percent share, leaving just .6 percent for the also-rans.
"As smartphones grow in popularity and application stores become the focus for several players in the value chain, more consumers will experiment with application downloads," Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "Games remain the number one application, and mobile shopping , social networking, utilities, and productivity tools continue to grow and attract increasing amounts of money."
And most of it falls right into Apple's pocket. Even if Apple should lose some of its market share this year -- and it probably will -- the company still stands to make a king's ransom. According to Gartner, some 4.5 billion mobile apps will be sold in 2010, resulting in $6.8 billion in revenue. Jump ahead to 2013 and Gartner says there will be 21.6 billion apps sold for a total of $29.5 billion in revenue.