By Edward Lim
Computex seems to have mellowed down over the years. While the show floor used to be filled with booth girls and exhibitors literally pushing bags and tchoichke in the past, this is no longer the case.
By Edward Lim
Computex seems to have mellowed down over the years. While the show floor used to be filled with booth girls and exhibitors literally pushing bags and tchoichke in the past, this is no longer the case.
BFGD — that’s the new acronym that gamers need to know. Introduced by Jensen Huang, CEO of NVIDIA this week, it stands for Big Format Gaming Display.
Dell and Asus are the leading lights in an overall weak PC monitor market in Q2.
Total shipment was 28.5 million units in Q2, a 6.4 percent decline from the corresponding period last year, according to IDC. Some of the market softness can be attributed to a strong Q2 last year.
IDC currently forecasts 117 million PC monitor units will be shipped for the full year of 2017 and expects to see a 2.2 percent decline year-over-year in worldwide shipment to 27.8 million units in Q2 2018. By 2020, worldwide shipment is expected to be less than 112 million units as the adoption of mobile devices at lower price points is expected to continue.
Hot on the heels of its recently-launched GeForce 10-series, NVIDIA has brought that same Pascal generation of GeForce power and performance to notebooks.
At an APAC Editors’ Day held in Bangkok, NVIDIA shared the capabilities that these notebook GPUs bring as well as gave the editors an opportunity to try out the virtual reality features on HTC Vive headsets.
The new GeForce GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060 GPUs for notebooks, providing gamers with a quantum leap forward in performance and power efficiency on the world’s fastest-growing gaming platform.
The Philippines smartphone market jumped 20 percent in Q1, according to IDC. With a projected annual growth of 25 percent this year, this makes the country the fastest growing smartphone market in Southeast Asia (SEA).
“While many of the more mature smartphone markets of the world already displayed signs of saturation, the Philippines smartphone market continues to enjoy robust growth owing to a relatively low smartphone penetration rate (30 percent in 2015), active local brand presence, and healthy consumer spending,” said Jerome Dominguez, Market Analyst for Mobile Devices of IDC Philippines.
Local vendors continue to dominate the Philippines smartphone market as they flood it with the most affordable smartphone options.
The wait for a new way of gaming is nearly over. With the release of the Oculus Rift in March, virtual reality gaming is set to transform the way gamers interact with games. Oculus-Ready PCs from Dell, Alienware and ASUS are now available for pre-order from Best Buy, Amazon and Microsoft Stores.
Starting from US$949 when purchased with Rift, the plug-and-play PCs all feature NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPUs. The GeForce-based PCs feature NVIDIA’s Game Ready Drivers that provide support for the latest games and applications. They also support GameWorks VR technologies, which help reduce latency and improve performance for VR headsets, games and apps.
One of the GameWorks VR features, called Multi-Res Shading, takes advantage of NVIDIA’s multi-projection hardware architecture to deliver substantial performance improvements for VR games and apps — up to 50 percent in Unreal Engine 4.
Tablet sale continued its decline for the fourth straight quarter, according to IDC. Q3 shipment of 48.7 million units represented a 12.6 drop year on year, further highlighting the challenges the tablet market is facing.
At the close of 2014, IDC estimated the installed base of tablets to be 581.9 million globally, which was up 36 percent from 2013 but slowing quickly. With mature markets such as North America, Western Europe, and Asia/Pacific well past 100 million active tablets per region, the opportunities for growth are getting fewer.
“We continue to get feedback that tablet users are holding onto devices upwards of four years. We believe the traditional slate tablet has a place in the personal computing world. However, as the smartphone installed base continues to grow and the devices get bigger and more capable, the need for smaller form factor slate tablets becomes less clear. With shipment volumes slowing over four consecutive quarters, the market appears to be in transition,” said Ryan Reith, Program Director of IDC.
Mobile gamers have always had a performance trade-off on their gaming notebooks. No matter how powerful the GPU is, it’s always a tad slower than its desktop cousin. But, not anymore!
NVIDIA has announced the GeForce GTX 980 for the notebook, giving mobile gamers nearly the same GPU performance they get on their desktop gaming PCs.
Built on the Maxwell architecture, the GPU can run the latest games, power multiply screens and even support VR. Aorus, ASUS, MSI, and Clevo are among the notebook vendors that will be rolling out gaming notebooks packed with this GPU in the coming days.
Tablet shipment has experienced the sharpest drop — 35 percent quarter-on-quarter decrease — since 2009. The consumer device also lost 16 percent year-on-year, according to ABI Research.
Apple and Samsung have been key market players and continue to dominate a significant majority of the tablet market.
“2015 is the pivotal year for smaller, competing vendors to step-up, build their business, and gain market share in advanced and emerging markets. The tablet market lacks a truly competitive playing field needing a strong third even fourth vendor to drive the market out of stagnation. Acer, ASUS and Lenovo all show promise for claiming those spots but need to focus on building their businesses especially in markets where purchase decisions are still largely to be made,” said Jeff Orr, Senior Practice Director of ABI Research.
Hybrid devices are leading the growth in the mobile PC market and should reach 21.5 million units this year, an increase of 70 percent from 2014, according to Gartner. Eight million of these will be ultramobile tablets (two-in-one tablets) and 13.5 million hybrid ultramobiles (two-in-one detachable and convertible ultramobiles).
“This will make hybrid ultramobiles the fastest-growing segment of the mobile PC market with 77 percent year-on-year growth,” said Tracy Tsai, Research Director of Gartner.
“The combination of portability, productivity and flexibility of touch and a keyboard in one device is attracting some notebook and tablet users to replace their devices with hybrid form factors. PC vendors are expanding into this segment with a value proposition to compete with Apple and Android-based tablet vendors. Sales of hybrid devices have not stopped growing since 2012, totaling 12.6 million units in 2014 and expected to reach 58 million units in 2019,” she added.
Apple held on to its top spot despite a 16 percent drop in PC shipment in Q1. It shipped 17.2 million units, taking a 15 percent market share while Lenovo and HP came in second and third place respectively. Samsung was next with 9.5 million units shipped with Dell just behind with 9.4 million units.
Overall, the global PC market, including tablets, declined seven percent, according to Canalys.
“The growth drivers that previously helped the market through 2014 will have little effect this year. Vendors are struggling with exchange rate fluctuations which is making financial planning more difficult and forcing price increases. These challenges, combined with a softening of demand as Windows 10 draws nearer along with Microsoft’s free upgrade plans, means PC market declines will be greater in the second quarter than they were in the first,” said Tim Coulling, Senior Analyst of Canalys.
Can’t say that we did not see this coming. Tablets are set to overtake notebooks as the largest mobile computing category (includes tablets, MS Windows laptops, Chromebooks, and Ultraportable PCs), according to ABI Research.
Tablets, agreed by many to be in competition with Notebook PCs, will gain 52 percent majority of the mobile computing market by the end of 2015.
ABI Research forecasts the flat growth of notebooks, due to longer replacement cycles and device market competition, causing notebook devices to drop from 51 percent market share in 2013 to 48 percent in 2015, and further to 47 percent by 2016.
It was only a matter of time before NVIDIA updates its GTX 900M line-up. The GeForce GTX 960M and 950M are designed for lean and thin gaming notebooks.
They come with the same features found in the higher-end chips — BatteryBoost, ShadowPlay, Optimus, and DirectX 12 support.
Notebooks sporting the new GPU include those from Acer, Alienware, Asus, Clevo, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, and Razer,
Smartphone shipment in India observed its first drop in Q4, according to IDC. The decline was attributed to a high channel inventory at the beginning of the quarter among general trade which in turn was caused by the surge witnessed in online sales during festive season.
Q4 was seen as a correction phase when the Smart Phone market shrank by four percent while the feature phone market plummeted by about 14 percent over the previous quarter. The overall mobile phone market stood at 64.3 million units in Q4, which reflects a sequential drop of 11 percent over Q3 and an annual drop of five percent in 2014.
The feature phone to smartphone migration trend is clearly visible as smartphones formed a healthy 35 percent of the overall mobile business in Q4, an increase of 13 percent fom a year ago.
Spurred by consumer PC demand in China and India, the APAC (excluding Japan) PC market rose eight percent in Q3, according to IDC’s preliminary results. However, shipment dropped five percent year-on-year compared to Q3 2014 to 26.6 million units.
In India, positive consumer sentiment after the elections resulted in high retail walk-ins while vendors in China pushed volumes in spite of a poor sell-out. Asean was a mixed bag with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand experiencing double-digit annual declines, while other countries such as Vietnam did well.
“XP migration helped boost commercial PC spending earlier this year. But in recent quarters, we have seen Microsoft add a lot to the entry-level segment by launching the Windows 8.1 with Bing programme. This programme has helped consumers buy licensed OS PC in many countries in the region,” said Handoko Andi, Research Manager for Client Devices Research at IDC Asia/Pacific.
Worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 shipments slipped to 50.4 million units in Q1, according to preliminary data from IDC. The total represents a sequential decline of 35.7 percent from the high-volume holiday quarter and just 3.9 percent growth over the same period a year ago. The slowdown was felt across operating systems and screen sizes and likely points to an even more challenging year ahead for the category.
“The rise of large-screen phones and consumers who are holding on to their existing tablets for ever longer periods of time were both contributing factors to a weaker-than-anticipated quarter for tablets and 2-in-1s,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC Program Vice President, Devices and Displays. “In addition, commercial growth has not been robust enough to offset the slowing of consumer shipments.”
Apple maintained its lead in the worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 market, shipping 16.4 million units. That’s down from 26.0 million units in the previous quarter and well below its total of 19.5 million units in Q1 of 2013. Despite the contraction, the company saw its share of the market slip only modestly to 32.5 percent, down from the previous quarter’s share of 33.2 percent.
The Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) PC market declined eight percent sequentially and 11 percent year-on-year in 2014 Q1 to reach 23.8 million units, according to preliminary results from IDC.
Elections in some of the bigger markets contributed to the region’s overall decline. In India, an ongoing large education project was postponed due to the upcoming elections, shaving off about half a million units from the commercial PC segment. In Thailand, political unrest continued to have an adverse impact on the economy, while in Indonesia, government funds were diverted in the run-up to the elections, resulting in lower commercial spending in PCs there this quarter.
“However, as these markets stabilise after the elections, IDC expects commercial activity to resume in the second half as a result of pent-up demand,” said Handoko Andi, Research Manager for Client Devices of IDC Asia/Pacific. “On the consumer side, ongoing distractions from smartphones and tablets as well as cautious channel intake impacted most markets in the region, especially in Southeast Asia.”
NVIDIA has launched its GeForce 800M line-up of notebook GPUs that deliver up to 60 percent performance improvement over the previous generation.
The new mobile GPUs sport a multitude of new features designed just for gamers, first of which is NVIDIA Battery Boost, which delivers up to double the gaming battery life.
Instead of pushing every notebook component to its max, Battery Boost targets a user defined frame rate, such as 30 FPS. The driver level governor takes over and operates all system components, including CPU, GPU, and memory at peak efficiency, while maintaining a smooth, playable experience.
The Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) PC market declined 10 percent in 2013 to reach 108 million units, according to preliminary results from IDC.
The economic sluggishness in big emerging markets in the region adversely affected buying sentiments, with education sector projects being a lone bright spot in the commercial space, without which the region could have dropped even further. On the consumer side, smartphone and tablet distractions spread throughout the region this year, further contributing to the sharp decline in the PC market.
In Q4, the market came in two percent below IDC’s initial forecasts with a nine percent year-on-year decline. While most of the region was generally in line with forecasts, Thailand stood out as an exception, as the market there was plagued by the ongoing political turmoil. Shipment volumes this quarter will likely be the lowest in Thailand in the last four years.
The NVIDIA Tesla K40 GPU accelerator is arguably the world’s highest performance accelerator ever built. It is capable of delivering extreme performance to a wide range of scientific, engineering, high performance computing (HPC), and enterprise applications.
Providing double the memory and up to 40 percent higher performance than its predecessor, the Tesla K20X GPU accelerator, and 10 times higher performance than the fastest CPU, the Tesla K40 GPU is the world’s first and highest-performance accelerator optimised for big data analytics and large-scale scientific workloads.
Featuring intelligent NVIDIA GPU Boost technology, which converts power headroom into a user-controlled performance boost, the Tesla K40 GPU accelerator enables users to unlock the untapped performance of a broad range of applications.
The ANZ tablets market grew a phenomenal 147 percent year-on-year in Q1, bringing the total market size up to 1.14 million units, according to IDC. This tremendous growth was due to increased demand of smaller, cheaper Android tablets, as well as Windows tablets.
“Users now have better access to a wide range of low to high-end tablets as well as different operating systems compared to last year. In 2012, an user would usually choose between an Apple iPad or a Samsung Galaxy Tab but now, a year later, brands like ASUS, Acer and Microsoft would also appear on the user’s radar,” said Suzanne Tai, Associate Market Analyst of IDC’s ANZ Infrastructure Research Group. “Whitebox tablets have picked up significantly as well, driven with heavy promotions by retailers such as Aldi, Harvey Norman, K-Mart, and Warehouse Stationary.”
“Android is growing its foothold in the marketplace, thanks to Samsung’s aggressiveness with promotions and channel strategies, as well as the influx of whitebox tablets. Additionally, Windows tablets are also gaining traction with entry of new models, pilot rollouts and implementations in commercial sector especially in education.”
It looks like Indonesia is not the only market where PC sale is still heading north. Vietnam’s PC market grew by 13 percent in Q1 compared to the same period last year, according to IDC’s Vietnam Quarterly PC Tracker.
Nearly 500,000 PCs were shipped despite concerns over high inventory.
Anticipation of growing consumer demands in under-penetrated areas of Vietnam spurred vendors to increase consumer PC shipments.
The PC market is weakening as demand for tablets and other mobile devices strengthen. In Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), the PC market closed Q1 with a 21 percent and 27 percent dip respectively compared to the same quarter last year, according to IDC.
This decline is all the more ominous in view of recent cuts to the Australian Federal interest rate and the quarter being the end of financial year in New Zealand.
“The softness in PC sales across the consumer and commercial space reflects a declining demand for PCs,” said Amy Cheah, Market Analyst of IDC Australia. “More consumers are skipping or delaying PC purchase as tablets become the more common alternative for mobile access. Vendors, as a result, took a more cautious approach this quarter, cutting back on shipments given the slow moving inventory situation.”
At Computex in Taipei last week, tablets and mobile devices took centrestage. ASUS, maker of the Google Nexus 7, even introduced a tablet starting from just US$129. It looks like these vendors are right on track to tap a burgeoning demand for smart devices.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, global shipments of smart connected devices (PCs, tablets, and smartphones) are expected to surpass 1.7 billion units by 2014 with roughly 1 billion units delivered to emerging markets.
Within the emerging markets, the BRIC countries — China, India, Brazil, and Russia — are expected to generate shipments of 662 million units with a shipment value of more than US$206 billion. More than 650 million units are forecast to be shipped to developed markets, with the US, UK, and Japan capturing more than 400 million units with a shipment value of US$204 billion.
Gamers, rejoice! ASUS wants to take gaming experience to “incredible” level with its new lineup of gaming desktop and notebook PCs.
Announcing this to a global media gathering at TICC in Taipei, ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih pointed out that ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) is not just about hardware but taking the gaming experience to new levels of incredible.
The new lineup includes:
1. G750 gaming notebook featuring the recently announced NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M mobile GPU.
2. Tytan G30 desktop which comes with up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 GPU.
3. Poseidon graphics card based on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 and 770, which combines with the new Formula motherboard to make the ultimate gaming machine.
4. Sonic Radar visualized audio positioning which helps gamers to identify where the enemy is coming from. this feature is available on all new ROG sound cards and motherboards.
5. Maximus VI Impact, a mini-ITX that works with the NVIDIA DirectCU in a small form factor.
As a prelude to Computex, which starts tomorrow, ASUS has announced a slew of products at a press conference packed with journalists from around the world at Le Meridien Taipei. The products are part of what Chairman Jonney Shih described as “innovations that transform the market”.
The lineup include a powerful tablet, a phablet, a value tablet, a PC with a difference, complete with mouse and router, an all-in-one PC.
First up is the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity, the world’s first NVIDIA Tegra 4-powered tablet.
Worldwide tablet shipments continue to surge, growing 142.4 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13), according to preliminary data from IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Tablet shipments totaled 49.2 million units in 1Q13, surpassing that of the entire first half of 2012. With growth fueled by increased market demand for smaller screen devices, tablets have shown no sign of slowing down.
Apple outperformed IDC’s most recent projections for the quarter, shipping 19.5 million units compared to a forecast of 18.7 million units. The company, which historically has experienced a steep drop off in first quarter shipments (following strong holiday sales in the fourth quarter), saw some smoothing of that seasonality this year. Number two vendor Samsung also performed above expectations and managed to grow its shipments over the fourth quarter as more of the company’s smaller-sized tablets began to gain traction in the market. Samsung has also used its recent Android smartphone growth to help bring its tablet product line into new markets and channels, leveraging the opportunity to package and bundle. The strong performance of the two market leaders helped drive total shipments to an impressive 49.2 million units for the quarter.
“Sustained demand for the iPad mini and increasingly strong commercial shipments led to a better-than expected first quarter for Apple,” said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets at IDC. “In addition, by moving the iPad launch to the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple seems to have avoided the typical first-quarter slowdown that traditionally occurred when consumers held off buying in January and February in anticipation of a new product launch in March.”
Five new NVIDIA notebook GPUs deliver a trifecta of technologies that seamlessly and automatically maximise a consumer’s notebook performance and experience. With no effort or input from the notebook user, the technologies work in the background to save battery life, enhance performance and enrich the visual experience — providing the best notebook experience the GPU can deliver. They include:
Asia is becoming a leading force in the mobile communications space. Mobile product makers Samsung and Asus and mobile operators NTT Docomo, Bharti Airtel and SK Telecom were among the winners at the 18th Annual Global Mobile awards, held at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Government of New Zealand also nabbed the Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award.
More than 170 independent analysts, journalists, academics, and subject matter experts and 13 representatives from mobile operators throughout the world participated in the judging of the 2013 awards.
The full list of winners and finalist for the 2013 Global Mobile Awards is available at www.globalmobileawards.com/winners-2013