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PC market sending mixed messages

The Columbus Dispatch

SAN FRANCISCO — The personal-computer market is still ailing, despite showing some signs of recovery in several key markets.

PC sales in the third quarter rebounded in the U.S. and western Europe. But shipments continued to fall in China, Japan and other Asian countries, where more people with smartphones and tablets apparently see little reason to buy laptop and desktop machines.

The contrasts emerged in two separate reports released Wednesday by research firms International Data Corp. and Gartner Inc.

IDC estimates worldwide PC shipments during the three months ended in September totaled 78.5 million units, a 2 percent decline from last year. Gartner pegged sales at 79.4 million units, a decrease of less than 1 percent.

This marks the ninth time in the past 10 quarters that worldwide PC shipments have dropped, a slump driven by the growing popularity of mobile devices for work, entertainment, information and communications.

Read on…

Infographic: Enterprise Mobility in Asia/Pacific

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 Infographic: Enterprise Mobility in Asia/Pacific

Improving employee productivity, business agility and customer experiences are the top three reasons companies are supporting enterprise mobility. However, despite the relatively low increase in cost, IDC sees that more organizations testing mobility management are opting for Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions rather than more holistic Mobile Enterprise Management (MEM) ones. IDC examines the state of place in Asia/Pacific.

For more IDC infographics, click here

APAC enterprise mobility infographic1 Infographic: Enterprise Mobility in Asia/Pacific

 

Tablets with voice calling functions take off in Asia

IDG News Service

Using a tablet to make a phone call may sound unorthodox. But in Asia’s emerging markets, vendors are increasingly shipping 7-inch tablets with voice call functions, according to research firm IDC.

During the second quarter, electronics vendors shipped 13.8 million tablets to the Asia Pacific region, excluding Japan, IDC said on Wednesday. Of those tablets, 25 percent were designed for voice calls over a cellular network. This marked a jump of 10 percentage points from the first quarter.

Voice call tablets are taking off in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, said Avinash Sundaram, an IDC analyst, who added that it had become a trend unique to Asia.

Although large screen phones are already popular, some consumers in the region have tighter budgets, and want a product that merges all their electronic needs into a single device, Sundaram said.

“They don’t want to walk around with a phone, tablet and PC,” he said. “This is basically addressing budgetary needs.”

Vendors releasing these products include Samsung, which early on incorporated voice call features into its tablets, along with Asus, Huawei and Lenovo. But smaller vendors such as India’s Micromax and Indonesia’s Advan Digital are also fueling the market with rival tablets.

“We definitely see this as a vendor strategy to help differentiate their products,” Sundaram said. Many of these tablets cost between US$100 to $300.

It’s still not known how many consumers in Asia use their tablets for voice calls. But vendors are marketing the features in their advertisements.

“If we look at advertising campaigns in India, Indonesia, they call it a tablet with voice option,” Sundaram said. Vendors could conceivably put cellular features into all their tablets. But bigger companies such as Samsung might refrain from doing so, to better position their smart phone products, he added.

“From a vendor perspective, they want to target every single kind of device, as opposed to selling one kind of device,” he said. “There are no technical hurdles. It’s more about product strategy.”

Infographic: The Multiscreen World

By Nick Rojas

Over the past decade, the amount of technology available to the public has gradually changed the way that people live their daily lives. More importantly: the versatility of these technologies have allowed people to become more efficient, revolutionizing market consumption, and creating demand for things that had never really been considered before.

As people grew more and more reliant on these devices, more and more of them became available. Laptops and televisions, smartphones and tablets,all permitted their users to do things that they hadn’t thought they needed to before, and this all pointed towards one thing: how users consumed media. Before, television viewers were at the mercy of the networks, watching commercials because they had to. While DVRs changed that for many viewers, it was smartphones and tablets that took them to a different place entirely. With the technology available, users began using their devices while they watched television. This trend towards multi-screen usage was seen by many as an overindulgence in entertainment, at first, but as the trend continued to grow and grow, it became readily apparent that it was more than just a trend.

Mult-screen usage indicates a shift towards multitasking, something that consumers have grown to love. This infographic, provided by TollFreeForwarding.com, is an exploration into the ways that users are consuming information, and why cross-platform development is becoming a key component of not only user experience, but for content marketing, as well.

TFF M5 Multiscreen Infographic: The Multiscreen World

“The tablet magazine has been flawed from the start”

Digiday

Magazine publishers have a tablet problem. According to one designer, they always have. Four years after Apple introduced the iPad, tablet apps are stagnating. A combination of design, pricing and discovery issues has made tablet magazines a hard sell, both for publishers and the digital readers they’re trying to reach.

“There are still a lot of issues,” said Joe Zeff, vice president of tablet app software company ScrollMotion, who helped launch apps for Fast Company and National Geographic.”These magazines are too hard to deliver, issues take a long time to download, and Apple’s Newsstand doesn’t make them easy to find. There are just too many things that have to go right.”

There was a time, not so long ago in the grand scheme, when the iPad was thought to be the savior of digital publishing. Magazines rushed out digital editions, many of which were flawed in both their pricing and in technology. The promised manna did not materialize. And now tablet sales are plateauing.

Zeff said that while publishers still have a lot of work to do with tablet apps, hope isn’t lost. Digiday spoke to him the magazine app’s successes, its failures, and why publishers should think of themselves as utilities.

Tablet magazines were supposed to save publishing. What went wrong?
The tablet magazine has been flawed from the start. They were conceived based on what publishers wanted and not what consumers wanted, so there was a lot of emphasis on extending old work flows and old reading habits rather than creating new products. We had the opportunity to put magazines on computers, which should have made magazines smarter. And that hasn’t really happened.

Are there any success stories?
There are some tremendous ones being created, yes. Wired is always a lot of fun, and Hearst, overall, seems to be doing a pretty good job at selling subscriptions, but I’d say that the success stories are few and far between.

Is this something that publishers can turn around? What are the opportunities?
There are some real opportunities to rethink the idea of a tablet magazine in order to recreate something that’s compelling. A tablet magazine should be smarter than the current set of publications. They should give me options about what content I receive and how and when it’s delivered. To do that, content has to be more modular. Today content is wrapped up in a magazine format, where everybody gets the same product. It really should be mixed and matched based on what works for me, not what works for the publisher. Content should be tied to where I am and what I’m doing, and become much more part of my regular routine.

That’s not happening now. Now, I’m getting a magazine that is very similar to what I can get anywhere else, and it’s not been created for me. It’s been created and looks in a way that suits the publisher, not the consumer.

Click to continue reading…

Why Are PC Sales Up And Tablet Sales Down?

TechCrunch

When iPads first came out, they were hailed as the undoing of the PC. Finally, a cheap and reliable computing device for the average user instead of the complicated, quirky PC. After a few years of strong growth for iOS and Android tablets and a corresponding decrease in PC sales, the inverse is suddenly true: PC sales are up and tablet sales are “crashing.” What happened?

The tablet slowdown shouldn’t be a surprise given that tablets have hardly improved beyond relatively superficial changes in size, screen resolution, and processor speed. The initial market for tablets is now saturated: grandparents and kids have them, people bought them as Sonos controllers and such, and numerous households have them around for reading. People that want tablets have them, and there’s just no need to upgrade because they more than adequately perform their assigned tasks.

Businesses and consumers alike are again purchasing PCs, and Mac sales are on the riseyear-over-year. Businesses in particular are forced to upgrade older PCs now that Windows XP is no longer supported. When purchasing a new PC, the main driver to choose a PC versus a tablet is fairly obvious: If you are creating any type of content regularly, you need a keyboard, a larger screen, and (for most businesses) Microsoft Office.

Reigniting Tablet Growth with “Super Tablets”

For the tablet category to continue to grow, tablets need to move beyond what Chris Dixon calls the “toy phase” and become more like PCs. The features required for a tablet to evolve into a super tablet are straight from the PC playbook: at least a 13” screen, 64 bit processor, 2GB of RAM, 256GB drive, a real keyboard, an actual file system, and an improved operating system with windowing and true multitasking capability. Super tablets form factors could range from notebooks to all-in-one desktops like the iMac. Small 7” and 9” super tablets could dock into larger screens and keyboards.

The computer industry is littered with the detritus of failed attempts to simplify PCs ranging from Sun Micrososytems’ Sun Ray to Oracle’s Network Computer to Microsoft’s Windows CE. But this time, it’s actually different. The power of mass-produced, 64-bit ARM chips, economies of scale from smartphone and tablet production, and — most importantly — the vast ecosystem of iOS and Android apps have finally made such a “network computer” feasible.

Businesses Need Super Tablets

As the former CIO at CBS Interactive, I would have bought such super tablets in droves for our employees, the vast majority of whom primarily use only a web browser and Microsoft Office. There will of course always be power users such as developers and video editors that require a full-fledged PC. A souped-up tablet would indeed garner corporate sales, as Tim Cook would like for the iPad … but only at the expense of MacBooks.

The cost of managing PCs in an enterprise are enormous, with Gartner estimating that the total cost of ownership for a notebook computer can be as high as $9,000. PCs are expensive, prone to failure, easy to break and magnets for viruses and malware. After just a bit of use, many PCs are susceptible to constant freezes and crashes.

PCs are so prone to failure that ServiceNow — a company devoted to helping IT organizations track help desk tickets — is worth over $8 billion. Some organizations are so fed up with problematic PCs that they are using expensive and cumbersome desktop virtualization, where the PC environment is strongly controlled on servers and streamed to a client.

And while Macs are somewhat better than Windows, I suggest you stand next to any corporate help desk or the Apple genius bar and watch and learn if you think they are not problematic.

Continue reading…

UK: More Consumers Buy on Mobile

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 UK: More Consumers Buy on Mobile

According to a recent study by xAd and Telmetrics which looked at the mobile behaviors of 2,000 UK tablet and smartphone users, up to 46% of UK consumers now use mobile devices as their primary tool for purchase decision making, while one in four use mobile devices as their exclusive shopping research tool. From comparison shopping to looking up nearby store locations to searching for store contact info, consumers are doing more and more purchase research and general browsing on their mobile devices, even while at home with a computer nearby. In fact, according to the study, 60% of those surveyed reported being at home the last time they accessed their smartphones.

As consumers turn to mobile to meet their varying research needs, they are becoming more comfortable with these devices as a primary decision-making tool. Satisfaction with the information available on smartphones in particular increased 18% since last year’s study.  

Mobile Advertising Has a Bigger Influence on In-Store Purchases Than You May Expect

Retail was the most popular category for mobile purchases, with 35% of survey respondents completing their transactions on their mobile devices. However, the impact of increasing mobile commerce activity isn’t limited to on-device or even online behaviors. Of those surveyed, 31% reported visiting a physical store at some point during their mobile search process. The study showed that mobile devices are frequently being used to not only research products and services, but also to find nearby store locations and store contact info. Ultimately, 37% of study respondents completed their purchases offline, with 20% of Telecom and Insurance shoppers completing purchases via phone.

Most Consumers Are Open to Influence, But Make It Quick 

When first turning to their mobile devices, less than 20% of respondents knew exactly what they were looking for, making 80% completely open to purchase influence. Consumers are also expecting purchase gratification more quickly than they have in the past. Nearly 50% reported wanting to make their purchase within a day and 30% are looking to make a purchase within the hour (up 52% since 2013).

Competitive Pricing and Easy Access to Store Contact Info Are Biggest Purchase Drivers for Mobile Consumers

According to the study, three out of four UK consumers used their mobile devices for price comparison and 39% made a purchase because the product/service was the right price. Store proximity and easy access to contact info are also important factors. Over 50% of respondents expect to find a location within eight kilometers of their current location, underscoring the importance of accurate location data, while up to 40% of shoppers made phone calls to the businesses they searched.

Fore more blogs and research from IDG Connect, click here 

Ever Wonder Why Consumers Don’t Click on Mobile Ads?

eMarketer

Mobile users see a decent amount of ads: March 2014 polling by Nielsen for xAd and Telmetrics found that 70% of US adults who used smartphones, tablets or both had encountered mobile ads in the past month. Of course, getting an ad in front of a target doesn’t guarantee interaction, and the majority of mobile device users hadn’t clicked on an advertisement in the month leading up to polling. Smartphone owners were slightly more likely to click on a mobile ad, with 43% saying they had, compared with 37% of those with tablets.

177395 Ever Wonder Why Consumers Dont Click on Mobile Ads?

March 2014 research by Survey Sampling International (SSI) for Adobe found that the platform used to serve mobile ads also made a difference in interaction. While apps claim far more time spent with mobile, mobile device users in North America were more likely to click on mobile website ads. More than one-third had done so in the past three months, compared with 26% who had interacted with an in-app mobile ad. Mobile devices used by respondents in this study included ereaders, mobile phones, smartphones, tablets and wearable devices.

But what about ads that don’t get clicked on? How can advertisers tweak them to drive more interaction? According to xAd and Telmetrics, the most popular reason smartphone and tablet users hadn’t clicked on mobile ads in the past month was because they just weren’t interested in the offering, cited by 47% and 43%, respectively—and suggesting advertisers may need to amp up targeting efforts. Irrelevant advertisements and users simply ignoring them ranked second and third.

Click to see more

Screen Stacking Goes Mainstream [infographic]

Daily Infographic

If you’re anything like me, you probably watch TV with at least one other device in your hand or by your side. (How else are you going to Google that super hot actor you’re certain you’ve seen in something else?) Basically, I’m a serial screen-stacker. My laptop, tablet, cell phone, or any combination of the three is usually within arm’s reach when I’m binge watching TV shows on Netflix. Why can’t I just enjoy my TV shows without distractions? Well, I can’t not be connected. Trust me, I’ve tried.

Then again, I’m pretty much guilty of doing everything listed on today’s infographic, although I might spend more than five hours a day online. Luckily, I know I’m not the only screen-stacker around. Thirty-seven percent of U.S. consumers admit to using multiple devices at the same time. While you might spend your time playing Candy Crush when I’m checking out my Instagram feed, neither of us are devoting our full attention to any one thing. And for marketers who are trying to target a specific audience with a commercial about their brand, our divided attention can be a problem.

So what’s the solution? Well, brands can build consistency by being available across multiple platforms, as well as understanding their connected audience. According to TNS Global‘s Connected Life quiz, I’m a leader. Whoo! I can’t argue with my results because of how much I rely on the Internet and social media during my day. So if you’re interested in finding out just what type of connected life you live, click the link below to take the quiz for yourself!

[TNS Global]

TNS CL infographic 640x3948 Screen Stacking Goes Mainstream [infographic]

Reports of the iPad’s Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated

Mashable

The tablet is dead. At least, that’s what an array of breathless news reports would have you believe. Yes, it’s true that tablet sales are on the decline in many markets and growing slower than others. But don’t believe the unhype; the tablet isn’t going to suffer the same fate as the netbook.

Apple on Tuesday announced its third quarter 2014 earnings. And in what has become a trend, iPad sales failed to meet analyst expectations. Perhaps even more troubling, sales of the iPad were actually down year-over-year, a rarity in a growing market.

Looking at these figures, you can see that although the iPad is still boasting big sales — especially during the holiday quarter — it isn’t continuing to sell in the numbers many analysts predicted it would.

During the earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook attributed the slower sales in part to “market softness in certain parts of the world,” primarily in the United States and Western Europe.

Tablet growth is slowing in developed markets

Apple isn’t the only company seeing a year-over-year decline in tablet sales. According to IDC, the worldwide tablet market grew 11% year over year, but declined sequentially from the first quarter of 2014 by -1.5%.

At the end of May, IDC updated its 2014 worldwide tablet forecast to a growth rate of 12.1% year-over-year. In contrast, tablet sales worldwide grew 51.8% year-over-year in 2013. In other words, the big boom of tablet sales’ glory days are over.

At least, that’s what some pundits and analysts are espousing. And although its true that tablet sales aren’t growing at the same rate in which they were (and are contracting in certain markets, such as the U.S.), that doesn’t mean the category as a hole was a failure or is doomed.

During the earnings call, Tim Cook spoke at length about the slowing iPad sales. He made it a point to note that

“One other point I might add on this, because I think this is interesting,” Cook said. “The market’s very bifurcated on iPad. In the BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] countries, iPad did extremely well. The growth was very high. Like in the China it was [about 50%], in the Middle East it was [about 60%]. Luca may have mentioned those numbers. In the developed countries like the U.S., the market is clearly weaker there.”

Part of the reason that growth might be slowing — or declining — in the United States may simply be a factor of faster market penetration.

According to the Pew Internet Project’s research related to mobile tech, 42% of adults own a tablet computer. That compares favorably with the 58% of American adults that have a smartphone. When once considers that the tablet market is much newer than the smartphone market, the fast adoption rate is likely one reason growth has slowed faster too.

Click to continue reading