Previous Blogs

October 6, 2020
Google Workspace Reflects Changing Nature of Productivity

September 22, 2020
Microsoft Highlights Future of Work with Teams Updates

September 14, 2020
Nvidia Purchase of Arm Completely Resets Semiconductor Landscape

September 1, 2020
Nvidia Pushes Ray-Traced Gaming Ahead with 3000 Series GPUs

August 25, 2020
Pending Fall Tech Releases Bring Excitement and Hope for Normalcy

August 18, 2020
Intel Chip Advancements Show They’re Up for a Competitive Challenge

August 11, 2020
New 5G Opportunities Coming with Mid-Band Radio Frequencies

July 28, 2020
The Shifting Semiconductor Sands

July 21, 2020
Microsoft and Partners Bring More Hyperconverged Hybrid Cloud Options to Azure

July 14, 2020
New Study Highlights Pandemic-Driven Shifts in IT Priorities

July 7, 2020
Nvidia Virtual GPU Update Brings Remote Desktops, Workstations and VR to Life

June 30, 2020
Power Efficient Computing Noteworthy During Pandemic

June 23, 2020
Apple Transition Provides Huge Boost for Arm

June 16, 2020
Cisco Highlights Focus on Location as Companies Start to Reopen

June 9, 2020
WiFi 6E Opens New Possibilities for Fast Wireless Connectivity

May 26, 2020
Arm Doubles Down on AI for Mobile Devices

May 19, 2020
Microsoft Project Reunion Widens Windows 10 Opportunity to One Billion Devices

May 12, 2020
New Workplace Realities Highlight Opportunity for Cloud-Based Apps and Devices

May 5, 2020
HP’s New Chromebooks, Thin Clients and Gaming Machines Highlight PC Evolution

April 28, 2020
Google Anthos Extending Cloud Reach with Cisco, Amazon and Microsoft Connections

April 21, 2020
Remote Access Solutions Getting Extended and Expanded

April 14, 2020
Apple Google Contact Tracing Effort Raises Fascinating New Questions

April 7, 2020
Need for Multiple Video Platforms Becoming Apparent

March 31, 2020
Microsoft 365 Shift Demonstrates Evolution of Cloud-Based Services

March 24, 2020
The Time for Pragmatism in Tech is Now

March 17, 2020
The Value of Contingencies and Remote Collaboration

March 10, 2020
AMD Highlights Path to the Future

March 3, 2020
Coronavirus-Induced Pause Gives Tech Industry Opportunity to Reflect

February 25, 2020
Intel Focuses on 5G Infrastructure

February 18, 2020
Apple Coronavirus Warnings Highlight Complexities of Tech Supply Chains

February 11, 2020
Arm Brings AI and Machine Learning to IoT and the Edge

February 4, 2020
Nvidia Opens Next Chapter of Cloud Gaming

January 21, 2020
Cloud Workload Variations Highlight Diversity of Cloud Computing

January 14, 2020
New Research Shows It’s a Hybrid and Multi-Cloud World

January 7, 2020
It’s 2020 and PCs are Alive and Kicking

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TECHnalysis Research Blog

October 13, 2020
PC Growth and Evolution Continues to Impress

By Bob O'Donnell

On a day when most tech industry watchers are likely focused on the latest smartphones, it’s worth taking a step back to consider arguably the most important, yet consistently underrated, personal tech product category that exists: the personal computer.

Just yesterday, my former colleagues at IDC, as well as several other industry research firms, announced calendar Q3 shipment numbers for the worldwide PC market, and they were up nearly 15% year-over-year—the strongest growth rate in over a decade. Obviously, the pandemic and the subsequent work-from-home and learn-from-home movements that it has inspired has played a huge factor in these impressive numbers. Indeed, the new metric for PC numbers has moved from one-per-household to one-per-person, offering the potential for continued growth in the market for several quarters to come.

On one hand, it’s easy to say that these developments were obvious, but for a category that many had written off for dead not that long ago, these results highlight and strongly affirm how the PC is providing (and will continue to provide) real-world value to hundreds of millions of people around the world on a daily basis.

What’s particularly exciting about these figures from the perspective of a long-time PC industry follower is that they’re also coming at a time when we’re seeing some of the most impressive new technological advances and product introductions that we’ve seen in a very long time. Think about it. In just the last six weeks on the component side alone, we’ve seen the debut of Intel’s 11th Generation Core (codenamed “Tiger Lake”) CPUs, its new Xe graphics architecture and the Evo platform, the launch of Nvidia’s Ampere architecture-based 3000 line of desktop gaming GPUs, the unveiling of AMD’s Ryzen 3-powered 5000 series desktop CPUs and a hint at its forthcoming next-generation GPUs (codenamed “Big Navi”), and even the entrance of Microsoft’s Arm-based SQ2 processor, a variant of the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 chip.

Speaking of Arm, on the software side of the house, Microsoft also announced that it is adding support for running 64-bit x86 applications in emulation in a forthcoming version of Windows 10 designed for Arm CPU-based devices, such as their newly upgraded Surface Pro X. While that may sound modest, it should go a long way towards some of the key compatibility problems that have limited the appeal of Windows on Arm-based PCs to date.

We’ve also seen a tremendous number of exciting new PC systems, including the long-awaited Lenovo launch of the $2,499 X1 Fold foldable PC, which is now available for pre-ordering. Featuring a single 13.3” screen that can fold into two separate 9.6” screens, the X1 Fold pushes the limits on what we’ve seen on PC form factors and could tap into the excitement that’s begun to build around foldable smartphones, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G. Lenovo also just launched its first ever sub-2 pound laptop, the $1,399 X1 Nano—one of the first machines to meet the specs for Intel’s previously mentioned Evo platform spec.

Not to be outdone, both HP and Dell have also introduced a slew of impressive new PCs and peripherals. The latest HP Spectre x360, starting at $1,199, for example, features a 3:2 aspect ratio, which offers about 20% more vertical viewing space for working on documents or scrolling web pages than typical 16:9 ratio displays. For its part, Dell recently made several additions to its impressive display line, including a new 34” curved monitor, the $1,199 UltraSharp 34 Curved USB-C Hub Monitor.

In addition to the updated Surface Pro X mentioned earlier, Microsoft also recently brought its popular Surface Laptop down to a new price point with the debut of the $599 Surface Laptop Go.

In addition to updated CPUs and graphics capabilities, many of these new PCs offer either built-in or optional 5G modem support, giving them the opportunity for longer useful lifetimes. Admittedly, not too many people are worrying about mobile connectivity issues right now, but there will certainly come a time in the hopefully not-too-distant future when the ability to access a high-speed, always-on data connection no matter where you are is going to be incredibly important. Most of us have become very accustomed to reasonably (or even very) fast connectivity in our work-from-home environments, and the connectivity demands and expectations for PCs are going to last well beyond the pandemic.

The bottom line is that we’re truly in a renaissance period for the PC, with tremendous competition and advancements from chipmakers and other component suppliers, innovative new designs, feature combinations and price points from system makers, and an overall renewed sense of vigor and, dare I say, swagger in the PC market. As with all technology trends, the focus on PC resurgence won’t last forever, but it’s clearly made a big enough impact already that any predictions for the death of the PC won’t be heard for a very long time to come.

Here’s a link to the column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

Leveraging more than 10 years of award-winning, professional radio experience, TECHnalysis Research participates in a video-based podcast called Everything Technology.
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