Touchscreen Notebooks Are PC Makers' Next Gambit

IT Management

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As the tablet market has taken off in the past three years, PC makers have seen their sales decline quarter after quarter. Notebook shipments have been particularly affected, with tablets now out-shipping all mobile PCs.

To combat slowing sales PC manufacturers are now turning toward several new technologies that they hope will entice customers. Convertible tablet/notebook devices are on the rise and are likely to become more common in the coming years. In that same vein, manufacturers are now including touchscreens on more of their non-convertible notebook devices.

Despite the fact that consumers don't seem too excited over touchscreens on notebooks, manufacturers are banking on the technology to raise sales. Market research firm IHS today released a report predicting that touchscreen panel shipments for notebooks during the fourth quarter of 2013 will rise over 10% quarter-over-quarter to 4.9 million units. This follows the relatively modest 2% increase in unit shipments seen in the third quarter of this year.

“While the overall notebook PC market remains sluggish, sales of touch panels for notebook PCs are showing some signs of life in the fourth quarter,” said Stone Wu, principal analyst for display components and materials at IHS. “The resumption of double-digit growth is being driven by the full-scale launch of 10.1-inch touch-screen panels that appeal to consumers, along with the introduction of a new microprocessor solution and the arrival of exciting new form factors.”

Though manufacturers seem excited for these new form factors, even IHS' own data shows that consumers are still preferring tablets. The firm's report shows that demand for touchscreen notebooks missed analyst expectations for the year 2013, a situation IHS blames directly on consumer demand for tablets. That hasn't seemed to dissuade notebook manufacturers, however, and touchscreen component manufacturers are set to enjoy a short-term boost courtesy of what IHS is declaring the "fastest-growing segment of the PC market today."