Premium ultramobiles set to drive PC sales

The PC market remains weak, but premium products are selling in both the consumer and professional markets

Windows 10 has done little to stimulate upgrades in business, but demand for premium devices is on the increase, according to Gartner’s latest PC market share results.

Despite a stagnant PC market, the ultramobile premium segment continues to grow and will become the largest segment of the PC market in revenue in 2019, Gartner predicted.

According to the analyst firm, the appeal of the premium ultramobile is set to rise as prices fall and increases in performance are rolled out across the product line.

Gartner forecast the annual selling price of ultramobile premium devices will have a negative 5.3% compound annual growth rate of 5.9% until 2019.

This should be good news for IT departments, which are preparing a PC refresh to take advantage of the technologies now available in Windows 10.

However, Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal said: “Windows 10 has not really come through in business yet.”

Budgets have been squeezed and the strong US dollar has led to device prices increasing, rather than falling. Atwal expected PC prices will increase by 10%, which will dampen demand.

“A lot of businesses are waiting until the back-end of 2016/17 before committing to larger deployments of Windows 10 PCs,” he added.

Atwal said the PC industry wants to remove barriers to productivity. Wireless HDMI is aimed at overcoming the challenge many people face when attempting to run their PC with the meeting room projector. Such capabilities are being introduced on the latest business devices.

Read more about how PCs are changing

“USB was a big revolution, and we haven’t really moved on,” said Atwal.

But some progress has been made such as USB C, a new incarnation of the USB plug. It promises faster bandwidth and offers a single connection for the video display, fixed network connectivity and peripheral devices.  

USB C promises to open the doors to non-proprietary laptop docking stations, which will make it easier for laptop users to connect their devices in shared workspaces.

Universal apps

At the //Build conference in the US, Microsoft showcased how it wants its universal Apps platform to become the de-facto standard for application development across different types of devices.

This is already happening in Windows 10, where the user interface adapts based on the device’s capabilities. “Windows 10 makes it easier to use different devices,” added Atwal.

Going forward, universal apps will enable application developers to create software that adapts to the device’s capabilities.

Office 365, for instance, runs natively on iPhones and Android phones and tablet devices, each with a slightly different user experience. Microsoft also enables the user to carry on working in Office on a full-blown PC.

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