All-in-one PCs: bright star of the desktop biz, says analyst
Saving the market - or re-arranging Titanic deckchairs?
World+Dog will buy - or, rather, the planet's PC makers will produce and ship - some 16.4m all-in-one computers.
So forecasts market watcher IHS iSuppli, which gleefully notes that the resultant "robust" growth - shipments will be up 20 per cent from 2011's 13.7m - could see the AIO platform become the saviour of the desktop market.
Shipments were up 39 per cent between 2011 and 2010, DisplaySearch, another market watcher, said earlier this year.
Maybe, but those 16.4m machines will still only account for 12.4 per cent of the 132.3m desktops that are expected to leave vendors' production lines this year.
That said, with 2011 desktop shipments at 132m units - yielding growth of a mere two-tenths of a percentage point - AIOs are something of a ray of light.
Of course, the big question is, are AIOs countering the decline in desktop shipments caused by users' migration to notebooks, or will the AIO simply take an ever greater share of a dwindling market?
We suspect the latter, but that shouldn't reduce the impact of the AIO on a market that might well have declined considerably but for the AIO.
The iconic AIO is, of course, Apple's iMac and always has been. In 2011, the Apple machine accounted for almost a third of AIO shipments, with Lenovo, Dell, HP and Sony sharing out much of the remainder.
Some observers tout the ability to support a touchscreen as a key benefit of the AIO, but it's worth noting that the best-selling machine lacks this feature and so do many of the other, cheaper all-in-one machines. That may change when the more touch-centric Windows 8 launches later this year. ®
For most people, the computer needs to be upgrade much sooner than the screen...
Touch screen desktop monitors?
It just isn't comfortable, unless the screen is angled like a Wacom digitising monitor. A small touch-screen device on the desk next the keyboard might serve many people better.
Re: Why ?
But by the time you've added all that, you lose the mobility and the price exceeds that of a desktop.
Using a laptop as a desktop replacement is a dumb idea for a vast number of people.
Try having a laptop in a household that includes a ham-fisted teenage boy. If it lasts a week without the screen breaking off or being drenched in Coke then you are extremely lucky.
Even if you don't have a problem teenager you have the difficulties relating to general reliability and expensive repair costs. (to be fair this also applies to all-in-ones which are essentially just a bunch of laptop parts crammed into the rear of a monitor). I have an ostensibly more than useable core2-duo, 4Gb, 1920x1200 laptop with inbuilt 256mb nvidia 6xxx graphics that I bought a few years ago. It is still a workable spec but it is mostly rendered useless due to the small problem of the non standard *radial* fan grinding away at itself and causing the whole rig to overheat whenever running anything that uses 3D. There is little hope of finding a replacement fan for this machine so it sits in a cupboard unused.
The occasionally upgraded Athlon64 desktop that predates it (whose oldest part dates back to last century) is still going strong.
Then there are drivers. For some reason you can get drivers for any old random manufacturer graphics card that uses an nvidia chip from the nvidia website, *unless* the chip is in a laptop. Then I am required to rely on the manufacturer to provide drivers and we all know how good most of those assholes are at providing up to date drivers for anything that they are not selling that week.
No, laptops are not the answer. Laptops are well suited to mobile computing (which funnily enough is what they are designed for) but a proper desktop is much better value, is more reliable and allows much more flexibility for upgrading than any laptop (or all-in-one) will ever do.
Touchscreens 24" or whatever
The whole idea of a 24" touchscreen is bonkers except in a very few instances.
An iPad or other tablet sitting on one's lap works, because the arm is essentially at rest. And the distance the hand has to move is relatively small.
If you have a 24" touchscreen at arm's length, the arm is not at rest. It is being made to work hard. Too hard to be comfortable.
The few cases where a 24" touchscreen could work would be information booths and that sort of thing, where the interaction will be over and done with in a matter of minutes. And the whole experience is a bit of a gimmick and a novelty.
There are large touchscreen home AIOs available now. They look OK, but who actually uses them as touchscreens?