Facing fierce competition from new types of mobile computers, PC shipments now projected to decline for first time since 2001.
To right the ship, PC OEMs
are coming out with Ultrabooks and other ultrathin and power efficient
computers that seek to bring many of the more popular features of
tablets to something that more closely resembles a traditional PC. Windows 8, which
supports touchscreen and features a tiled "fast and fluid" GUI, can
help with that. But to date, sales of Ultrabooks especially have been
disappointing, largely because the cost of the devices remains too high
(in the $1,000 range).
In its report circulated Tuesday, IHS
poses several key questions for the PC market, including whether
smartphones, tablets and other such gadgets will outsell PCs during the
crucial holiday season.
According to IHS, there are promising
signs that a strong rebound for PCs could occur next year. Though IHS
recently cut its forecast for Ultrabook sales in 2012 and 2013, the firm
said Ultrabooks and other ultrathin computers have the potential to
revive the PC market. The addition of Windows 8 to the mix could prove
potent and irresistible to consumers, IHS said.
The Windows 8 start screen, featuring application tiles.
But neither IHS's analysts, nor the millions of people with a vested interest in keeping the PC thriving, are sure whether new spins on the PC will stand up to
the powerful smartphone and tablet markets.