As 2009 came to a close, the top five PC makers each held their position, but it's the battle for second place that's particularly interesting. According to iSuppli, Acer grew by 21 percent in 2009, ending the year with 38.5 million shipments, up from 31.8 million in 2008. No other top five PC maker enjoyed more growth.
Meanwhile, Dell was the only top five vendor to post a decline in shipments for the year, dropping 9.9 percent from 43.3 million PCs to 38.96 million. That means Dell shipped enough to maintain a lead over Acer, but only by a hair (0.2 percent).
"Acer's 2009 success was driven by the notebook PC market," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms research, for iSuppli. "Notebooks accounted for nearly 80 percent of Acer's shipments ni 2009. This allowed the company to capitalize on the fast-growing mobile-computing segment while limiting its exposure to the moribund desktop segment."
Acer may have already leapfrogged ahead of Dell by now (we won't know until the quarterly numbers are tallied), but even if it hasn't, given the continued growth of notebooks, we fully expect Acer to stand in the No. 2 spot by the end of the year. Watch out HP.
LED manufacturers are having a tough time keeping up with demand, says market research iSuppli, who warns that the market might be on the verge of a shortage.
"It is clear that demand is outstripping supply," said Jagdish Rebello, senior director and principal analyst for wireless research at iSuppli. "With LED market growth forecasted to rise by double-digit percentages for at least the next three years, including 2010, a drastic undersupply situation could occur this year unless additional capacity is brought online to meet the increased demand."
The shortage mostly applies to LED LCD TVs, which employ anywhere from 300 to 500 LEDs per panel. Notebooks use about 50 LEDS, while monitors require about 100 LEDs.
"On the demand side, the shortage is being spurred by strong consumer desire, given the growing popularity of LED-backlit LCD TVs due to their super-slim form factors and improvements in pictures quality," said Sweta Dash, senior director for LCD research at iSuppli.
Still, LED manufacturers have a little bit of wiggle room, but not much. Total consumption of LEDs climbed to 63 billion units in 2009, up from 57 billion in 2008, while the industry's total capacity sits at about 75 billion.
Here's an interesting tidbit for those of you who can't devour enough Nexus One details. According to research firm iSuppli, Google's new smartphone consists of $174.15 worth of parts. This includes both inner (designed by Google) and outer (designed by HTC) components.
By comparison, would-be Nexus One owners are being asked to shell out $179 for the smartphone super phone when accompanied by a two-year T-Mobile service agreement, or $529 for the standalone phone. Not included in any of the price quotes? Manufacturing, packaging, software, and other related costs.
"Items like the durable unibody construction, the blazingly fast Snapdragon baseband processor, and the bright and sharp Active-Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) display all have been seen in previous phones, but never before combined into a single design," Kevin Keller, senior analyst for iSuppli, said in a statement.
As for the most expensive part of the Nexus One, that distinction belongs to the Snapdragon processor, which runs $30.50, or about 20 percent of the total cost. In second place is the 512MB of DDR memory ($20.40), followed by the Bluetooth/WLAN hardware ($8.20).
You've probably seen a handful of big screen LED-backlit LCD televisions the last time you strolled through the TV section in your local electronics store, and in 2010, you'll be seeing a lot more of them, says iSupply.
More specifically, the market research firm says global LED-backlit TV shipments for 40-inch and larger models will jump nearly 8x in 2010 to 18.8 million units, up from 2.5 million units in 2009. iSupply attributes the nearly eight-fold increase to consumer demand, a push for green technologies, and a willingness by various parts of the TV supply chain to oblige on both of these accounts.
"Panel makers have been investing heavily in LED chip makers or have been developing their own internal technologies in order to take advantage of what they believe LED-backlit TVs bring to the table: differentiation, innovation, low power consumption, and of course the potential to reap the benefits of higher revenues," said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst for TV systems at iSupply.
Looking beyond next year, iSupply says LED-backlit LCD TVs in the 40-inch or larger category will explode to 112.1 million units in 2013, by then claiming 83.2 percent of the market. By comparison, large screen LED-backlit LCD TVs claim just 6 percent of the market currently.
Acer just keeps rising in the ranks, and according to market research firm iSuppli, the OEM managed to supplant Dell in the third quarter and claim the No. 2 spot in the worldwide PC business.
"Acer's rise to the number two rank in the global PC business reflects not only its strong performance in the notebook segment, but also the historic rise of Asia as a primary force in the computer industry," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms research, for iSuppli.
PC shipments for the now second place PC vendor shot up by 16.6 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period a year prior, and an impressive 31 percent from the second quarter of this year. All tallied, Acer now holds a 13.4 percent stake in the worldwide PC business, up from 12 percent one quarter ago.
Coming as no surprise, iSuppli says much of Acer's success is due to its aggressive pricing strategy. The research firm also noted strong ntoebook shipments and impressive regional performance in both Europe and the U.S.
According to market research firm iSuppli, Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS for smartphones will outflank most of the competition, nearly triple its userbase, and take the No. 2 spot in the global market, all by the year 2013.
As it stands, Windows Mobile can be found on 27.7 million smartphones, but if iSuppli's prediction proves accurate, that number will balloon to 67.9 million in just a few years, giving Windows Mobile a 15.3 percent share of the global market. Should that happen, only Symbian would claim more users, who iSuppli says will control 47.5 percent of the market.
So what's the catch? Put simply, Windows Mobile 7 will have to succeed and kick ass. As competition heats up, Microsoft can't afford to "screw up" again and fall further behind its competitors.
"Microsoft in 2010 will introduce an updated version of its operating system, Windows Mobile 7, which is expected to sport an enhanced user interface and browser as well as multi-touch control," Tina Teng, senior wireless communications analyst for iSuppli, said in a report. "This will make it much more competitive with the alternatives on the market."
Let's first see if WIndows Mobile 6.5 -- slated for an October 6 release -- is enough to keep WinMo users from jumping ship before Microsoft sets sail with version 7.
No doubt helped in large part by the explosive growth of netbooks (and, by association, Atom processors), Intel in the second quarter pushed its lead over AMD and everyone else to levels not seen in nearly four years, says market research firm iSuppli.
The No. 1 chip maker accounted for 80.6 percent of global microprocessor revenue, compared to 79.1 percent during the same period in 2008. That was enough to give Intel its largest share of global microprocessor revenue since the third quarter of 2005, when it claimed 82.4 percent of revenue.
Even still, Intel actually suffered a decline in microprocessor revenue compared to a year ago due to still stagnant PC shipments, noted Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst of compute platforms research for iSuppli. But so did AMD, whose Q2 market share stands at a distant 11.5 percent.
Google must be pleased to see the market for 3G netbooks swelling at a time when it is preparing to launch Chrome OS. Market research firm iSuppli anticipates 3G netbooks – those with embedded wireless broadband – to become even more popular in the next few years, as always-on internet becomes an integral part of the whole netbook experience. iSuppli expects 3G netbook shipments to increase by over 70%, as compared to the previous year, to reach 17.8 million units this year.
But a spike in netbook shipments doesn’t imply that it would be smooth sailing for Google’s Chrome OS. “Google must counter the high visibility of the Microsoft brand name on countless products in retail outlets, ranging from software, to PCs, to peripherals,” iSuppli advised Google.
Like The Little Engine That Could, the worldwide PC market kept chugging onward against all economic odds, pushed in large part by an emerging netbook market that seemingly popped up overnight. But the ultraportable PCs could only do so much to stave off the inevitable, and according to market research firm iSuppli, the global PC market will suffer its first decline in 2009 since the Dot-Com bust of 2001.
"An annual decline in unit shipments is highly unusual in the PC market," observed Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms for iSuppli. "Even in weak years, PC unit shipments typically rise by single-digit percentages. The last decline -- in 2001 -- was a 5.1 decrease in unit shipments due to the extraordinary impact of the Dot-Com bust, which caused inflated IT spending levels from the previous years to collapse."
The market research firm predicts global PC shipments to dip to 287.3 million units in 2009, marking a 4 percent drop from the 299.2 million shipments in 2008. Ironically enough, a growing notebook market -- which we assume also includes netbooks -- might be part of the reason for the overall drop in PC shipments. While notebook PC shipments will rise by 11.7 percent, desktop PC shipments, including entry-level servers, is expected to plummet 18.1 percent and is being cited as the "primary factor driving the decline of the PC market in 2009," according to iSupply.
While netbooks continue to put on a strong showing, worldwide PC shipments fell by the "largest historic rate" since iSuppli has been tracking the market. Shipments only totaled 66.5 million in the first quarter of 2009, an 8.1 percent backslide from the 72.3 million shipped one year ago, and 14.4 percent less than the 77.6 million shipped in Q4 2008.
"The worldwide recession sparked by the credit crisis slammed PC shipments for the second quarter in succession during the first three months of 2009," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at iSuppli. "The first quarter performance of the worldwide PC market was worse than iSuppli had expected in its prior forecast, which called for a 4 percent decline in shipments compared to the same period in 2008."
Disappointing desktop sales were largely responsible for decline, which saw a drop in shipments by 23 percent. Meanwhile, notebooks actually grew 10 percent compared to the same period one year ago.