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Microsoft and partners to capitalize on Continuum for Phones instead of the exited Microsoft phone business
With The Nokia phone business is to be relaunched via a $500M private startup with Android smartphones and tablets in addition to the feature phones for which manufacturing, sales and distribution, would be acquired from Microsoft by a subsidiary of Foxconn published on this same ‘Experiencing the Cloud’ blog on May 20, 2016 I now dare to publish this follow-up post to the original message which was already available on October 13, 2015 under the title “Windows 10 enhancements for tablets and phones to achieve a powerful PC experience” (that original content see in the final part of this post) and with a statement for the start:
These are significant capabilities with which (although not only with these but with quite a number of other innovations) Microsoft—first time in its history—was able to beat Apple in its own game. You couldn’t believe it?
Unfortunately I’d felt a growing uncertainty about the future of the Microsoft Device business and therefore decided to wait till the picture gets clear. With the following Terry Myerson video appearing on the HP Business YouTube channel I’ve now felt certain to make the original information available in this curent post:
June 2, 2016: HP Elite x3 and Windows 10: Terry Myerson
http://www.hp.com/go/elitex3 –Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President at Microsoft, talks about the collaboration between HP and Microsoft that brings to life the new HP Elite x3 with Windows 10 for business, pioneer in the 3-in-1 category.
My certainty was also supported by the Microsoft decision to exit the phone business as it had been acquired from Nokia:
Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced plans to streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business, which will impact up to 1,850 jobs. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million, of which approximately $200 million will relate to severance payments.
“We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms.”
Microsoft anticipates this will result in the reduction of up to 1,350 jobs at Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland, as well as up to 500 additional jobs globally. Employees working for Microsoft Oy, a separate Microsoft sales subsidiary based in Espoo, are not in scope for the planned reductions.
As a result of the action, Microsoft will record a charge in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 for the impairment of assets in its More Personal Computing segment, related to these phone decisions.
The actions associated with today’s announcement are expected to be substantially complete by the end of the calendar year and fully completed by July 2017, the end of the company’s next fiscal year.
More information about these charges will be provided in Microsoft’s fourth-quarter earnings announcement on July 19, 2016, and in the company’s 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
In addition to the following sentence in the previous Microsoft selling feature phone business to FIH Mobile Ltd. and HMD Global, Oy press release on May 18, 2016:
Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones such as the Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and phones from OEM partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO.
That last statement was not enough for me at that time, just 3 weeks ago as I had a truly shocking experience with upgrading my wife’s Lumia 640 XL to the Windows 10 Mobile version which had been released for that type of earlier Lumia phones last March. The software was so much buggy that I had’seen in my life any time before. I’d got so much angry that immediately bought an Android based Samsung Galaxy J5 for her. However, I became again confident in the future of Window 10 Mobile based phones after her bad experience with that Android software in terms of functionality (e.g. too many steps needed for some vital functions vs. that needed on Lumia) and the success of restoring the earlier 8.5 release on the 640 XL.
Several other videos which appeared on the same HP Business YouTube channel a little earlier gave me the final assurance:
May 27, 2016: HP Elite x3 turned heads at Mobile World Congress 2016
http://www.hp.com/go/elitex3 -HP Elite x3 made a powerful first impression at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, winning 24 awards and positive reviews from industry experts. Meet the new HP Elite x3 the one device that’s every device.
June 2, 2016: Reinventing mobility: Dion Weisler
http://www.hp.com/go/elitex3 -Dion Weisler President and Chief Executive Officer for HP Inc. introduces to the revolution of mobility. Meet the new HP Elite x3 pioneer in the 3-in-1 category; the next generation of computing, designed specifically for business.
June 2, 2016: The new HP Elite x3: Michael Park
http://www.hp.com/go/elitex3 –Michael Park, Vice President for Commercial Mobility & Software division at HP Inc., introduces the new HP Elite x3, pioneer in the 3-in-1 category that will transform business mobility.
June 2, 2016: HP Elite x3 and Qualcomm: Steve Mollenkopf
http://www.hp.com/go/elitex3 -Steve Mollenkopf, Chief Executive Officer of Qualcomm Incorporated, presents the power of Snapdragon 820 processor in HP Elite x3, as part of the recent collaboration with HP. Meet the new HP Elite x3, pioneer in the 3-in-1 category; the next generation of computing, designed specifically for business.
Now a brief retrospective for the start:
From the full text of Q&A part of the Transcript of Microsoft Nokia Transaction Conference Call: Steve Ballmer, Stephen Elop, Brad Smith, Terry Myerson, Amy Hood; September 3, 2013 [Microsoft, Sept 3, 2013]
OPERATOR: Walter Pritchard, Citigroup, your line is open.
WALTER PRITCHARD: Great. Thanks for taking the question. Steve Ballmer, on the tablet side, obviously, we could say many of the same things as you’ve put into this slide deck as rationale for doing an acquisition on the phone side as we could say about the tablet side including picking up more gross margin.
I’m wondering how this transaction impacts the strategy going forward in tablets and whether or not you need to, in a sense, double down further on first-party hardware in the tablet market. And then just have one follow up.
STEVE BALLMER: Okay. Terry, do you want to talk a little bit about that? That would be great.
TERRY MYERSON: Well, phones and tablets are definitely a continuum. You know, we see the phone products growing up, the screen sizes and the user experience we have on the phones. We’ve now made that available in our Windows tablets, our application platform spans from phone to tablet. And I think it’s fair to say that our customers are expecting us to offer great tablets that look and feel and act in every way like our phones. We’ll be pursuing a strategy along those lines.
More information: Microsoft answers to the questions about Nokia devices and services acquisition: tablets, Windows downscaling, reorg effects, Windows Phone OEMs, cost rationalization, ‘One Microsoft’ empowerment, and supporting developers for an aggressive growth in market share ‘Experiencing the Cloud’, September 4, 2013
From the Microsoft Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript by CEO Satya Nadella on July 21, 2015:
I am thrilled we are just days away from the start of Windows 10. It’s the first step towards our goal of 1 billion Windows 10 active devices in the fiscal year 2018. Our aspiration with Windows 10 is to move people from meeting to choosing to loving Windows. Based on feedback from more than 5 million people who have been using Windows 10, we believe people will love the familiarity of Windows 10 and the innovation. It’s safe, secure, and always up to date. Windows 10 is more personal and more productive with Cortana, Office, universal apps, and Continuum. And Windows 10 will deliver innovative new experiences like Inking on Microsoft Edge and gaming across Xbox and PCs, and also opens up entirely new device categories such as Hololens.
From Windows 10 available in 190 countries as a free upgrade Microsoft news release on July 28, 2015:
Windows 10 is more personal and productive, with voice, pen and gesture inputs for natural interaction with PCs. It’s designed to work with Office and Skype and allows you to switch between apps and stay organized with Snap and Task View. Windows 10 offers many innovative experiences and devices, including the following:
- Cortana, the personal digital assistant, makes it easy to find the right information at the right time.
- New Microsoft Edge browser lets people quickly browse, read, and mark up and share the Web.
- The integrated Xbox app delivers the Xbox experience to Windows 10, bringing together friends, games and accomplishments across Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.
- Continuum optimizes apps and experiences beautifully across touch and desktop modes.
- Built-in apps including Photos; Maps; Microsoft’s new music app, Groove; and Movies & TV offer entertainment and productivity options. With OneDrive, files can be easily shared and kept up-to-date across all devices.
- A Microsoft Phone Companion app enables iPhones, Android or Windows phones to work seamlessly with Windows 10 devices.
- The all new Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 tablets are available today in the Windows Store.4 Built for work on-the-go, the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps offer a consistent, touch-first experience for small tablets. For digital note-taking needs, the full-featured OneNote app comes pre-installed with Windows 10. The upcoming release of the Office desktop apps (Office 2016) will offer the richest feature set for professional content creation. Designed for the precision of a keyboard and mouse, these apps will be optimized for large-screen PCs, laptops and 2-in-1 devices such as the Surface Pro.
More information around the above 2 excerpts:
Windows 10 is here to help regain Microsoft’s leading position in ICT ‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 31, 2015
From 2015 Annual Report>The ambitions that drive us on July 31, 2015:
Create more personal computing
Windows 10 is the cornerstone of our ambition to usher in an era of more personal computing. We see the launch of Windows 10 in July 2015 as a critical, transformative moment for the Company because we will move from an operating system that runs on a PC to a service that can power the full spectrum of devices in our customers’ lives. We developed Windows 10 not only to be familiar to our users, but more safe and secure, and always up-to-date. We believe Windows 10 is more personal and productive, working seamlessly with functionality such as Cortana, Office, Continuum, and universal applications. We designed Windows 10 to foster innovation – from us, our partners and developers – through experiences such as our new browser Microsoft Edge, across the range of existing devices, and into entirely new device categories.
Our future opportunity
There are several distinct areas of technology that we aim to drive forward. Our goal is to lead the industry in these areas over the long-term, which we expect will translate to sustained growth. We are investing significant resources in:
- Delivering new productivity, entertainment, and business processes to improve how people communicate, collaborate, learn, work, play, and interact with one another.
- Establishing the Windows platform across the PC, tablet, phone, server, other devices, and the cloud to drive a thriving ecosystem of developers,unify the cross-device user experience, and increase agility when bringing new advances to market.
- Building and running cloud-based services in ways that unleash new experiences and opportunities for businesses and individuals.
- Developing new devices that have increasingly natural ways to interact with them, including speech, pen, gesture, and augmented reality holograms.
- Applying machine learning to make technology more intuitive and able to act on our behalf, instead of at our command.
January 14, 2016: Continuum for Phones: Making the Phone Work Like a PC by Keri Moran / Principal Program Manager Lead
Imagine having a phone that works like a PC. Continuum for Phones makes this a reality, enabling Windows customers to get things done like never before.
Check out the ways this capability comes alive. You’ll be able to travel and leave your laptop at home, knowing you’re still equipped to complete your most common tasks. Walk into a meeting with just your smartphone – you’re fully equipped for seamlessly projecting PowerPoint presentations to a larger screen. Or take a seat in a business center where you plug your phone into a monitor and keyboard – you’ve instantly gained PC-like productivity using Office apps and the Microsoft Edge browser.
How it all started
The road to Continuum began three years ago with a simple observation: we take our phones everywhere, we depend on them, and we feel lost without them. Yet, when the time comes to do “real work,” we reach for a laptop or desktop PC. So we end up carrying our phones plus our laptops, or we wait until we are at our desks to do the heavy lifting.
The thing is, today’s phones have more than enough processing power to handle our most common tasks and activities. We knew this was especially true in emerging markets where people rely only on their mobile phones to get online. So — with these thoughts top of mind — we set out on our mission to help people get real work done with just their phone.
Who are we? We are the small team of people who built Continuum for Phones with a passion to change the future of personal productivity.
What people want
We started by talking to customers to understand what they needed. We spoke to people around the globe – from Chicago to Shanghai – and found that most people wanted the same thing: a phone that did more. Here are the main insights from the research:
- “My most important device”: people universally describe their smartphone as the center of their connected life.
- Connect to a bigger screen: people rely on their laptops and desktops because their phone lacks a large screen, keyboard and mouse. They want to easily connect to larger screens for both work and entertainment.
- Tech-savvy people expect more: as the processing power of phones has risen, so has the expectations of the tech-savvy.
- Many people around the world don’t have PCs: because they can’t afford a PC, people have a TV and a phone and that’s it. So any computing work gets done on their phone.
We realized that people embraced the idea of having a phone that could work like a PC.
Getting it done
So we started building Continuum, and we soon realized that we faced many technical and design challenges.
For example, there were two paradigms for connecting to a second screen: (1) mirroring your phone’s screen to a larger screen or (2) connecting your PC to multiple monitors. We needed to create a new design paradigm with two independent experiences – one on the phone and a separate one on the second screen. This was important because customers wanted to continue to use their phone as a phone, even while having a PC-like experience on the second screen. We spent months iterating with paper and software prototypes to arrive at an experience that was easy to understand and use.
The technical hurdles were just as big. For example, we had to build support for keyboard and mouse into Windows 10 Mobile. And many substantial architecture changes were needed in Windows to make Continuum work.
At the //Build conference in April 2015, we did our first live demo, and at the Windows 10 launch in July, we showed the full power of a phone running Office* apps on a second screen. The response – which exceeded our expectations — motivated us to keep going, working relentlessly with hundreds of colleagues around the world to deliver an integrated solution that required major changes to Windows, new capabilities in the phones, and creation of docks such as the Microsoft Display Dock.
So, with the debut of Continuum for Phones, you really can have something new in your pocket: a smartphone that has the power and ability to work like a PC. In the words of our CEO Satya Nadella: “This is the beginning of how we are going to change what the form and function of a phone is.”
Right now, this means that you can carry a smartphone – like the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL – and use a small dock or wireless dongle to connect it to a keyboard, mouse and monitor for a familiar PC-like experience. Run Office* apps, browse the Web, edit photos, write email, and much more.
While you’re working on the larger screen, you won’t lose your phone’s unique abilities. Continuum multi-tasks flawlessly so you can keep using your phone as a phone for calls, emails, texts, or Candy Crush. Or if you don’t have a mouse, you can use your phone as the trackpad for the apps on the larger screen.
If you share my enthusiasm for Continuum for Phones, please check out all the details, including multiple usage scenarios, at windows.com.
* App experience may vary. Office 365 subscription required for some Office features.
June 4, 2016 snapshot: New features coming soon to Windows 10 Anniversary Update
This year’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update will have great new innovative features including:1
The pen just got even mightier.
Turn thoughts into action with Windows Ink – using the pen, your fingertip, or both at once.2 Pair it with Office apps to effortlessly edit documents. With Windows Ink, you’ll be able to access features like Sticky Notes with a simple click of the pen.3 When you start drawing a figure like a chart or graph, it’ll turn into the real thing right before your eyes. And because Windows Ink stays active when your device is locked, you’ll be able to jot down notes even when you don’t have time to enter a password.
Cortana’s got you covered.
No time to enter your password but need some quick help? No problem — just ask. Cortana4 will now be at your service, even before you login. Whether you want to make a note, play music or set a reminder, Cortana will have you covered.
The secret password is: you.
With Windows Hello, unlocking your PC and devices is as quick as looking or touching.5 But the new Windows Hello will also let you unlock your PC simply by tapping your Windows Hello enabled phone.6 Beyond the hardware, Windows Hello will also give you instant access to paired apps and protected websites on Microsoft Edge – all while maintaining enterprise-level security. Windows Hello lets you say goodbye to cumbersome passwords.
Got game? We’ll deliver.
Windows 10 will deliver incredible DirectX 12 games and Xbox Live features that will transform what you expect from PC gaming. Now you can play and connect with gamers across Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. From the best casual games to the next generation of PC releases, you’ll have more ways to play new games optimized for Windows.7
And that’s not all: Microsoft Studios is bringing a full portfolio of new games to Windows 10, including the forthcoming Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, which will be freefor Windows 10 users.
Ongoing progress reports (only two latest ones are summarised here):
June 1, 2016: Announcing Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 14356
- Cortana Improvements:
– Get notifications from your phone to your PC
– Send a photo from your phone to PC
– New listening animation
May 26, 2016: Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14352
- Cortana Improvements:
– Cortana, Your Personal DJ
– Set a timer
- Windows Ink:
– Updated Sticky Notes
– Compass on the ruler
– General improvements to the Windows Ink experience
- Other items of note:
– Windows Game bar improved with full-screen support
– Feedback Hub will now show Microsoft responses
– Updated File Explorer icon
– Deploying Windows Enterprise edition gets easier
– Limited Period Scanning
– Introducing Hyper-V Containers (ADDED 5/31)
For more information see: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/tag/windows-insider-program/
Particularly relevant recent information from A change in leadership for the Windows Insider Program on June 1, 2016 by Gabe Aul / Corporate Vice President, Engineering Systems Team:
Since we first started the Windows Insider Program back in September 2014, Windows Insiders have helped us ship Windows 10 to over 300 million devices. We have released 35 PC builds and 22 Mobile builds to Insiders to date. This is a huge change from Windows 7 and Windows 8 which only had 2 and 3 public pre-release builds respectively. Windows Insiders have been more directly plugged in to our engineering processes for Windows than ever before, including participating in our first ever public Bug Bash this year. Windows Insiders contribute problem reports and suggestions which help us shape the platform, and are currently helping us get ready to ship the next major update to Windows 10 this summer – the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This is just the beginning of the journey we’re on though. We really appreciate having such an amazing connection with our customers, and want Windows Insiders to continue to help shape Windows releases for years to come. With that in mind, I want to talk about a change to the Windows Insider Program going forward.
When I was introduced as leader of the Windows Insider Program over 18 months ago, I was responsible for the team that built our feedback and flighting systems for Windows. It made sense for me to be on the front lines talking with customers of the systems that my team was building to get Insider Preview Builds out and hear the feedback rolling in. In August of last year, I changed jobs to work on the Engineering Systems Team in WDG. In this role, I am responsible for the tools our engineers use to build Windows, including our planning and work management systems, source code management, build infrastructure, and test automation systems. …
Meet Dona Sarkar
I have worked with Dona for many years and think she is the perfect person to guide the Windows Insider Program forward. Her technical expertise, passion for customers, and commitment to listening to feedback is unmatched. …
You can follow Dona here on Twitter. Please welcome her as the new leader of the Windows Insider Program!
Get to know more about Dona here from Microsoft Stories!
Finally more as well as historic information on this subject which I’d originally put together on October 13, 2015 and intended to publish under the title:
Windows 10 enhancements for tablets and phones to achieve a powerful PC experience
These are significant capabilities with which (although not only with these but with quite a number of other innovations) Microsoft—first time in its history—was able to beat Apple in its own game. You couldn’t believe it?
First watch these two very short videos from CNNMoney presenting Microsoft’s “ultimate laptop” in terms of its device innovations:
Hands-on with Microsoft Surface Book
Then follow with the below information which is presenting one the most important Windows 10 software innovations, called Continuum (Continuum tablet mode for touch-capable devices) which makes that “ultimate laptop” an “ultimate tablet” as well.
Then get acquainted with a similar Windows 10 software innovation, called Continuum for Phones (it is rather for Mobile devices) which is allowing an entry level tablet or a premium phone to become a true PC with an extension to an external large size display after docking to it.
Note that while the “ultimate laptop/ultimate tablet” hybrid is for the premium client market, the second one is targeted at the entry level emerging markets as well. In that scenario Microsoft is hoping to capitalize on the availability of extremely low-cost tablets which could be enhanced to a PC-like experience with Continuum for Phones. When coupled with a similarly low-priced Windows 10 phone the emerging market user will have 2 devices for around $200 and a consistent Windows 10 experience easily dockable to a large size display, and with that easily achieving a true PC experience.
Suggested other information:
– July 30, 2015: Docking – Windows 10 hardware dev, Microsoft Hardware Dev Center
– March 28, 2015: Display – Windows 10 hardware dev, Microsoft Hardware Dev Center
– March 28, 2015: Graphics – Windows 10 hardware dev, Microsoft Hardware Dev Center
Continuum tablet mode for touch-capable devices
The Continuum feature of Windows 10 desktop edition adapts between tablet and PC modes when docking/undocking. More generally: “Continuum is available on all Windows 10 desktop editions by manually turning “tablet mode” on and off through the Action Center. Tablets and 2-in-1s with GPIO indicators or those that have a laptop and slate indicator will be able to be configured to enter ‘tablet mode’ automatically.” Source: Windows 10 Specifications, Microsoft, June 1, 2015
June 12, 2015: Continuum Overview – Windows 10 hardware dev, Microsoft Hardware Dev Center
Continuum is a new, adaptive user experience offered in Windows 10 that optimizes the look and behavior of apps and the Windows shell for the physical form factor and customer’s usage preferences. This document describes how to implement Continuum on 2-in-1 devices and tablets, specifically how to switch in and out of “tablet mode.”
Tablet Mode is a feature that switches your device experience from tablet mode to desktop mode and back. The primary way for a user to enter and exit “tablet mode” is manually through the Action Center. In addition, OEMs can report hardware transitions (for example, transformation of 2-in-1 device from clamshell to tablet and vice versa), enabling automatic switching between the two modes. However, a key promise of Continuum is that the user remains in control of their experience at all times, so these hardware transitions are surfaced through a toast prompt that must be confirmed by the user. The users also has the option to set the default response.
Tablets Detachables Convertibles Pure tablets and devices that can dock to external monitor + keyboard + mouse. Tablet-like devices with custom designed detachable keyboards. Laptop-like devices with keyboards that fold or swivel away.
When the device switches to tablet mode, the following occur:
- Start resizes across the entire screen, providing an immersive experience.
- The title bars of Store apps auto-hide to remove unnecessary chrome and let content shine through.
- Store apps and Win32 apps can optimize their layout to be touch-first when in Tablet Mode.
- The user can close apps, even Win32 apps, by swiping down from the top edge.
- The user can snap up to two apps side-by-side, including Win32 apps, and easily resize them simultaneously with their finger.
- The taskbar transforms into a navigation and status bar that’s more appropriate for tablets.
- The touch keyboard can be auto-invoked.
Of course, even in “tablet mode”, users can enjoy Windows 10 features such as Snap Assist, Task View and Action Center. On touch-enabled devices, customers have access to touch-friendly invocations for those features: they can swipe in from the left edge to bring up Task View, or swipe in from the right edge to bring up Action Center.
With “tablet mode”, Continuum gives customers the flexibility to use their device in a way that is most comfortable for them. For example, a customer might want to use their 8” tablet in “tablet mode” exclusively until they dock it to an external monitor, mouse, and keyboard. At that point the customer will exit “tablet mode” and use all their apps as traditional windows on the desktop—the same way they have in previous versions of Windows. Similarly, a user of a convertible 2-in-1 device might want enter and exit “tablet mode” as they use their device throughout the day (for example, commuting on a bus, sitting at a desk in their office), using signals from the hardware to suggest appropriate transition moments.
Imagine the overall smoothness of that combined laptop and tablet experience on the brand new Microsoft Surface Book announced just on October 6, 2015. Out of a plethora of videos reporting on that new device with quite an entusiasm I’ve selected the one which—in my view—just right with its judgement and very concise at the same time.
Surface Book hands-on: Microsoft’s first laptop is simply amazing by Mark Hachman, senior editor of the PCWorld: “No one expected the Surface Book, and what they got was a true flagship for the Windows ecosystem.“
And if you don’t need the leading edge ultrabook performance provided by the clever, “more power (GPU, longer batery life …) is in the detachable keyboard part” design of the Surface Book, then the 4th generation Surface Pro 4 may be more than sufficient for you to provide a state-of-the-art productivity work capability, including the best of the pen computing available on the market (which is also on the Surface Book, you could notice the same pen in the previous video), in addition to a new type cover for the tablet part. Here again the same source has been the best to present all that.
Surface Pro 4: Hands on with Microsoft’s category-creating productivity tablet by Mark Hachman, senior editor of the PCWorld
Continuum for phones
With Continuum for phones in Windows 10 Mobile edition, connecting a phone enables a screen to become like a PC. Additionally: “Continuum for phones limited to select premium phones at launch. External monitor must support HDMI input. Continuum-compatible accessories sold separately. App availability and experience varies by device and market. Office 365 subscription required for some features.” Source: Windows 10 Specifications, Microsoft, June 1, 2015
April 29, 2015: As part of the Universal Windows Platform Microsoft shared at Build 2015 how apps can scale using Continuum for phones, enabling people to use their phones like PCs for productivity or entertainment. With that your phone app can start using a full-sized monitor, mouse, and keyboard, giving you even more mileage from your universal app’s shared code and UI.
April 29, 2015: Windows Continuum for Phones See how new Windows Continuum functionality for mobile phones tailors the app experience across devices to transform a phone into a full-powered PC, TV or a Smart TV
[Sept 17, 2015]
[March 29, 2015]
Continuum for Phones
Continuum for Phones
Windows 10 Mobile
Windows 10 Mobile
Supported entry SoC
Supported premium SoC
1-2GB/8-32GB eMMC w/SD card
2-4GB / 32-64GB with SD slot
7” 480×800 or 1280×720 w/touch
4.5-5.5”+ / FHD-WQHD
<9mm & <.36kg
<7.5mm & <160g
2500+ mAh ( 1 day active use)
802.11ac+, 1 micro USB 2.0, mini HDMI, BT, LTE option
LTE/Cat 4+ /802.11b/g/n/ac 2×2, USB, 3.5mm jack, BT LE, NFC
Front camera, speakers, headphones
20MP with OIS/Flash; 5MP FFC
Oct 6, 2015: Windows 10 Continuum for Phones demo on Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL by Bryan Roper, Microsoft marketing manager, at Microsoft Windows 10 Devices Event 2015
A comment from IDC brought ahead: “Competition from 2-in-1 devices and phones remains an issue“. In the notes to the IDC press release it is mentioned as well that “tablets with detachable keyboards [i.e. 2-in-1 devices] running either Windows or Android are not included in the PC category” by IDC. This approach to the PC category is one of the reasons why the decline of the PC market in Q2 2015 is 11.8% according to IDC, while it is 9.5% according to Gartner.
You will find more statistics at Statista
July 14, 2015: After a brief respite throughout last year, the global PC market returned to its pre-2014 slump in the first half of 2015. According to Gartner’s latest estimates, worldwide PC shipments amounted to 68.4 million in the past three months – down 9.5 percent from last year’s June quarter.
The struggling PC industry had received a boost when Microsoft ended official Windows XP support in April 2014, prompting a replacement cycle that has now apparently faded. Despite the sobering results, analysts remain cautiously optimistic about the industry’s mid-term outlook. They argue that the recent decline is no sign of structural weakness but partly a consequence of last year’s unusually positive results and partly an effect of inventory control ahead of the Windows 10 launch scheduled for later this year.
[Gartner’s latest estimates:]
July 9, 2015: Gartner Says Worldwide PC Shipments Declined 9.5 Percent in Second Quarter of 2015
PC Industry Faces Slowdown as Industry Anticipates the Launch of Windows 10
STAMFORD, Conn., July 9, 2015 — Worldwide PC shipments totaled 68.4 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 9.5 percent decline from the second quarter of 2014, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This was the steepest PC shipment decline since the third quarter of 2013. PC shipments are projected to decline 4.4 percent in 2015.
There were many contributors to the decline of PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015, and Gartner analysts highlighted three of the major reasons for the drop in shipments. Analysts emphasized that these inhibitors are temporary events, and they are not changing the PC market’s structure. Therefore, while the PC industry is going through a decline, the market is expected to go back to slow and steady growth in 2016.
“The price hike of PCs became more apparent in some regions due to a sharp appreciation of the U.S. dollar against local currencies,” Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “The price hike could hinder PC demand in these regions. Secondly, the worldwide PC market experienced unusually positive desk-based growth last year due to the end of Windows XP support. After the XP impact was phased out, there have not been any major growth drivers to stimulate a PC refresh. Lastly, the Windows 10 launch scheduled for 3Q15 has created self-regulated inventory control. PC vendors and the channels tried clearing inventory as much as possible before the Windows 10 launch.”
Lenovo maintained the top position in worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015 (see Table 1), but the company suffered a year-on-year shipment decline for the first time since the second quarter of 2013. EMEA, Latin America and Japan were tough regions for Lenovo, as the company experienced double-digit shipment declines. HP also experienced a shipment decline after five consecutive quarters of PC shipment growth. HP showed a steep decline in EMEA, which was potentially due to the currency impact. The company was also impacted by tight inventory controls in the consumer market before the Windows 10 launch.
Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q15 (Thousands of Units)
Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premium (see “Market Definitions and Methodology: Consumer Devices”). All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels.
Numbers may not add up to totals shown because of rounding.
Source: Gartner (July 2015)
For the second consecutive quarter, Dell experienced a decline in PC shipments. Dell’s decline was relatively moderate in EMEA compared with Lenovo and HP. Analysts said this could be partly attributed to Dell’s lower presence in the consumer market, which created less impact to Dell from the Windows 10 prelaunch inventory control.
In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 15.1 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 5.8 percent decline from the second quarter of 2014 (see Table 2). The decline was led by a double-digit decline of desk-based shipments, which offset single-digit growth of mobile PCs. Based on preliminary results, the desk-based PC shipment decline was the steepest since 2009 when the market was hit by the economic crisis.
“The weakness of desk-based PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015 is partly due to relatively large shipments in the second quarter last year when the market was driven by the end of XP support,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “Despite inventory controls for the Windows 10 launch, mobile PC shipments grew in the quarter, which resulted in five consecutive quarters of mobile PC growth in the U.S. Affordable thin/light notebooks are attracting more business buyers.”
HP maintained the top position for PC shipments in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2015 despite a 10.1 percent decline (see Table 2). Dell narrowed the gap with HP compared with a year ago. Lenovo was the only vendor showing year-over-year PC shipment growth among the top five vendors in the U.S.
Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q15 (Thousands of Units)
Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premium (see “Market Definitions and Methodology: Consumer Devices”). All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels.
Numbers may not add up to totals shown because of rounding.
Source: Gartner (July 2015)
[The Ultramobile (Premium) category includes devices such as Microsoft’s Windows 8 Intel x86 products and Apple’s MacBook Air. Source]
PC shipments in EMEA totaled 18.6 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 15.7 percent decline from the second quarter of 2014. In Europe, vendors spent most of the quarter trying to manage already high inventory levels. They tried clearing that inventory with promotions, having to absorb this with lower margins. In the third quarter of 2015, vendors should see better “sell-in” into the channel with new Windows 10-based devices.
Asia/Pacific PC shipments reached 24.2 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 2.9 percent decline from the same period last year. Both desk-based and mobile PC shipments declined from the second quarter of 2014. PC shipments in China are estimated to have declined 4 percent in the quarter as demand for consumer PCs remained weak.
These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner’s PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe.
July 16, 2015, Forbes: Why Are IDC And Gartner’s PC Market Stats Different, And Does It Even Matter? by Scott McCutcheon
FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Worldwide PC shipments totaled 66.1 million units in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. This represented a year-on-year decline of -11.8%, about one percent below projections for the quarter.
The slow PC shipments were largely anticipated as a result of stronger year-ago shipments relating to end of support for windows XP as well as channels reducing inventory ahead of the release of Windows 10. In addition, weaker or changing exchange rates for foreign currencies have effectively increased PC prices in many markets, thereby reducing purchasing power and also complicating investment planning.
“Although the second quarter decline in PC shipments was significant, and slightly more than expected, the overall trend fits with expectations,” said Loren Loverde, Vice President, Worldwide PC Trackers & Forecasting. “We continue to expect low to mid-single digit declines in volume during the second half of the year with volume stabilizing in future years. We’re expecting the Windows 10 launch to go relatively well, though many users will opt for a free OS upgrade rather than buying a new PC. Competition from 2-in-1 devices and phones remains an issue, but the economic environment has had a larger impact lately, and that should stabilize or improve going forward.”
“The U.S. market was in line with forecasts, declining -3.3% from a year ago, after avoiding the global market declines over the past five quarters. Soft retail demand, short term weakness from inventory reductions, some cannibalization from competing devices, and low demand for large commercial refreshes are among the factors that reduced PC shipments,” said Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst,Personal Computers. “Nevertheless, moving forward, we expect a healthy second half as inventory and purchase decisions pick up following the launch of Windows 10. Emerging product categories will remain a bright spot as attention shifts to convertibles and Chromebooks in the commercial as well as consumer segments.”
United States – With shipments totaling nearly 16.4 million PCs in 2Q15, the U.S. market shrank -3.3% from the same quarter a year ago. Although most vendors saw volume decline, gains from Apple and Lenovo helped limit the overall decline. A tough year-on-year comparison contributed to a decline in desktop shipments, while portable PCs shipments continued to grow.
Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) – In EMEA, weakening demand and high inventory levels inhibited sell-in, driving results below expectations. Vendors continued to clean stock ahead of the back-to-school season and Windows 10 launch. Moreover, unfavorable exchange rates led to increasing prices and continued to affect demand both in the business and consumer spaces. The commercial market also faced a difficult year-on-year comparison with 2Q14, when the end of support for Windows XP boosted sales.
Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) – China was impacted by excess commercial notebook inventory from earlier quarters as the anti-corruption campaign continues to suppress commercial spending. Currency fluctuation also remained a key factor in many countries in the region, contributing to lower demand. Nevertheless, volume was close to expectations, reflecting a slight decline in growth from prior quarters.
Japan – continued to see low growth as the weak Yen contributed to a difficult market. The Japanese PC market faced a particularly difficult comparison to year ago shipments that were boosted by the end of support for Windows XP and also changes to Japan’s tax code. As the market responds to these shifts and managing inventory, Yamada Denki (one of Japan’s major electronics stores) announced the closure of unprofitable stores in both urban and rural markets.
Lenovo held onto the top position with shipments of 13.4 million units. Volume was up 1% from the prior quarter, but down -7.5% from the prior year. The vendor continued to aggressively court expansion outside of Asia/Pacific, leading to share gains in the U.S. and EMEA.
HP remained the number 2 vendor, but saw shipments decline -10.4% from a year ago. Slowing business demand and inventory control of entry notebooks contributed to the dip. While most of the slowdown was from outside of the U.S., the vendor also saw its U.S. volume contract nearly -7%.
Dell came in at number 3, shipping more than 9.5 million units and registering a year-over-year decline of -8.7%. Strong results in 2Q14 contributed to a poor year-over-year comparison. Stronger performance in Asia/Pacific and EMEA were offset by slower growth in the U.S.
Apple continued to outperform other vendors, with growth of 16.1% globally. The vendor has largely avoided the price competition affecting other players and may be benefitting from some of the uncertainty around the launch of Windows 10, along with refreshed products like the 12-inch MacBook and a relative concentration of shipments in the U.S.
Acer continued to see growth in Chromebooks with more models introduced. However, the vendor also struggled with the larger pullback in the market, particularly in EMEA where it had seen a rebound in mid-2014. The vendor ended 2Q14 with a volume of 4.33 million, a significant decline from the prior quarter and year ago volumes.
ASUS was statistically tied* with Acer for the number 5 position. ASUS has also been affected by currency factors and inventory management, but strong growth in the U.S. boosted overall results.
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, July 9, 2015
* Note: IDC declares a statistical tie in the worldwide PC market when there is less than one tenth of one percent difference in the revenue share of two or more vendors.
In addition to the table above, an interactive graphic showing worldwide PC market share for the top 5 vendors over the previous five quarters is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on IDC.com.
- Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports.
- Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold.
- PCs include Desktops, Portables, Ultraslim Notebooks, Chromebooks, and Workstations and do not include handhelds, x86 Servers and Tablets (i.e. iPad, or Tablets with detachable keyboards running either Windows or Android). Data for all vendors are reported for calendar periods.
IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker gathers PC market data in over 80 countries by vendor, form factor, brand, processor brand and speed, sales channel and user segment. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis as well as price band and installed base data.
The ultimate ultrabooks/notebooks and 2-in-1 hybrids/detachables with the upcoming Intel Core M processors
What is presented below it is an incredible advance versus that of one a half year ago. For comparison see my earlier Saving Intel: next-gen Intel ultrabooks for enterprise and professional markets from $500; next-gen Intel notebooks, other value devices and tablets for entry level computing and consumer markets from $300 [this same blog, April 17, 2013] post. Note as well that with Core M Intel is able to differentiate its enterprise offerings from the consumer ones, as the latter could be mainly represented by products like in ASUS EeePC revival with the $199/€199 EeeBook X205 at IFA 2014: the Chromebooks alternative based on Windows 8.1 with Bing [this same blog, Sept 6, 2014].
See also the report about IDF 2014 PC Mega Session: 2-in-1s to Rule Mobile, Wireless Everything Coming Soon [Tom’s Hardware US, Sept 10, 2014]
They are of the fanless design! So it is time—says Intel—to upgrade your aging PCs to these business-ready touch devices built on the latest Intel Core processors and Windows 8.1:
Touch business-grade performance [Intel YouTube channel, Sept 4, 2014]
For small businesses a special business app bundle from Intel (already available with selected business tablets) is also providing an immediate opportunity to boost productivity:
Intel Business Apps [Intel YouTube channel, Sept 8, 2014]
Chip Shot: Intel Business App Portfolio Now on Windows OS and Intel® Core™ M Processor-based Devices [News story on Intel Newsroom, Sept 5, 2014]
The Intel® Business App Portfolio, a collection of useful business apps to boost productivity and enhance security of small businesses, is now available on the latest Intel-based tablets and 2 in 1 devices running the Windows OS. And, with the app bundle on some of the newest devices powered by Intel® Core™ M processors, users will realize additional benefits with up to 8 hours of battery life with full HD display and up to 50 percent faster CPU performance. Previously offered only on Intel-based tablets running the Android OS, the mobile app bundle includes special offers—valued at more than $250—and is now available with the following Windows apps:
AirWatch, Calc Pro HD, CamCard, Dictionary, DocuSign, Drawboard PDF, McAfee Anti-Virus Plus, Microsoft Office 365 Business, OneDrive, OneNote, Skype, SpeechTrans and Splashtop Business.
It is available for free by purchasing a qualifying device from Intel® Technology Provider members in North America, Latin America and Europe or through Amazon.com (in the U.S. and Canada). Visit www.intel.com/businessapps to learn more.
Chip Shot: Intel Releases Mobile App Bundle for Business Tablets [News story on Intel Newsroom, Aug 4, 2014]
Intel® Business App Portfolio is now available for select tablets based on Intel® processors and Android. Intel has bundled a collection of top business apps that include Evernote, ooVoo, Dropbox, McAfee, DocuSign and others, to turn tablets into enhanced productivity tools for workers. With the app bundle, an employee can easily create and share documents and presentations; video conference; access company files in the cloud or a remote PC; guard sensitive data from viruses; and capture images and signatures for business contracts. At an estimated value over $250, the portfolio is a cost-effective solution that meets the needs and budgets of small businesses worldwide to accelerate achieving goals of improving customer interactions and sales growth. The app bundle is available for free by purchasing a qualifying tablet from Intel® Technology Partner members in North America, Latin America and Europe or through Amazon.com (in the U.S. and Canada).
The categories in Intel® Business App Portfolio (for small businesses) as of Sept 9, 2014:
|Assist||Calc Pro HD3
|ABBYY Business Card Reader13
|Create||Office 365 Business1
McAfee Antivirus Plus11
|McAfee Antivirus Plus11|
1 Special Offer: Coming October 1, 2014 to the Intel® Business App Portfolio! Receive 15% off a 1-year paid subscription to Office 365 Business, which includes the familiar and powerful Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook applications, as well as cloud storage with OneDrive! ($23 USD value)
2 Special Offer: 2-month subscription of Splashtop Business ($10 Value)
3 Special Offer: Receive 60% off the Full Version of the Calc Pro HD (just $2.99) when you redeem this special offer.
4 Special Offer: Receive the Dictionary app from Farlex, Inc. for free ($1.99 USD value)
5 Special Offer: One year of SpeechTrans Ultimate ($24 USD value)
6 Special Offer: Extend CamCard free trial from 6 months to 12 months with promo code! ($5 USD value)
7 Special Offer: Special 20% discount on a DocuSign annual subscription (up to a $72 USD value)
8 Special Offer: A one-year extended trial of Drawboard PDF
9 Special Offer: Three months of unlimited calling for free!. That means, in addition to making free Skype to Skype calls, you can also call offline contacts on their mobiles and landlines.
10 Special Offer: 30-day trial with a consultation from a member of dedicated Airwatch SMB account team.
11 Special Offer: 1-year McAfee Antivirus Plus subscription ($35 USD value)
Android specific apps only:
12 Special Offer: 14-day free trial of Dropbox for Business
13 Special Offer: Receive Serial Number and download instructions for the full, premium version of ABBYY Business Card Reader.
14 Special Offer: Receive 3-months Premium service and lifetime paid [CamScanner] app features (totals $20) upon sign-up
15 Special Offer: One-year of ooVoo Video Conferencing Service
16 Special Offer: Activation code to upgrade PrintHand to Premium Mode.
17 Special Offer: While we highly recommend you utilize [MS Office compatible] WPS Office for your office document needs on your Android device, the application is free to use so there is no promotional offer available at this time.
18 Special Offer: While we highly recommend you utilize Evernote for your note taking needs on your Android device, the application is free to use so there is no promotional offer at this time.
19 Special Offer: 30-day trial of the Swype keyboard & dictation.
Mobile Devices (Intel based 2 in 1s and tablets) for the Intel® Business App Portfolio as of Sept 9, 2014:
|Acer Iconia A1-830 (7.9”, Z2560)
ASUS MeMO Pad (10.1”, Z2560)
Dell Venue 7 (7”, Z2560)
ASUS Transformer Book* T100 (10.1”, Z3740)
|Acer Iconia A1-830
ASUS MeMO Pad
Dell Venue 7
Samsung Galaxy Tab* 3 (10.1”, Z2560)
Computex 2014: What’s next for Intel: Cheaper 4K, new Core M chip and 3D cameras [Network World YouTube channel, June 5, 2014]
Intel® 14 nm Technology [an Intel Silicon Innovations page as of Sept 9, 2014]
Ultra-fast, energy-sipping devices powered by Intel
Supporting a wide range of products from mobile devices to servers, 14 nm transistors improve performance and reduce leakage power. Intel’s 14 nm technology will be used to manufacture a wide range of high-performance to low-power products including servers, personal computing devices, and products for the Internet of Things. The first systems based on the Intel® Core™ M processor will be on shelves for the holiday selling season followed by broader OEM availability in the first half of 2015. Additional products based on 14 nm process technology will be introduced in the coming months.
Using 2nd generation 3-D tri-gate transistors, the 14 nm technology delivers industry-leading performance, power, density, and cost per transistor, and will be used to manufacture a wide range of products, from high performance to low power.
Smaller is better
Intel’s 14 nm technology provides good dimensional scaling from 22 nm. The transistor fins are taller, thinner, and more closely spaced for improved density and lower capacitance. Improved transistors require fewer fins further improving density, and the SRAM cell size is almost half the area of that in 22 nm.
14 nm manufacturing
Intel’s 14 nm process and lead system-on-a-chip (SoC) product are now qualified and in volume production, with fabs in Oregon (2014), Arizona (2014), and Ireland (2015).
Microscopic Mark Bohr: Intel 14nm Processors Explained [Intel YouTube channel, Aug 11, 2014]
Intel® Core™ M Processor [an Intel Core Processors page as of Sept 9, 2014]
Versatile, Mobile, Blazing Fast
Intel® Core™ M and Intel® Core™ M vPro™ processors
With the world’s first processors built on 14 nm manufacturing process technology, PC performance is now possible within a range of ultra-mobile 2 in 1 devices. Blazing fast speed combined with the highest level of energy efficiency in Intel’s history enables razor-thin, fanless designs that meet your needs for both performance and mobility. The Intel® Core™ M vPro™ processor provides additional built-in security features1 to deliver the perfect combination of business-class performance and battery life to keep you productive longer no matter where you are. For small businesses, the Intel® Core™ M processor provides an optimal combination of business-class performance and battery life, so your employees have the power to stay productive longer, no matter where they work. Free yourself from carrying multiple devices and get the best of both worlds in a 2 in 1 device with the conflict-free Intel Core M and Intel Core M vPro processors.
IFA 2014: Intel presents new Core M Processors [allroundpc Youtube channel, Sept 5, 2014]
New Intel® Core™ M Processor Enables Razor-thin, Fanless Designs with the Optimal Blend of Beauty, Performance and Battery Life; Available Holiday 2014 [IFA 2014 press release, Sept 5, 2014]
- Acer*, ASUS*, Dell*, HP*, Lenovo* and Toshiba* to introduce new Intel® Core™ M processor-based 2 in 1s. Some systems available starting in October.
- Intel Core M processor delivers amazing performance and battery life for the thinnest, fanless 2 in 1 devices.
- At a power-sipping 4.5 watts, it is the most energy-efficient Intel® Core™ processor in the company’s history.1
IFA, Berlin, Sept. 5, 2014 – At IFA, a global trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances, Intel launched the new Intel® Core™ M processor, which will power new 2 in 1 devices from a variety of manufacturers including: Acer*, ASUS*, Dell*, HP*, Lenovo* and Toshiba*. Delivering the optimal blend of mobility and performance, Intel’s new processor was purpose-built for amazing performance in the thinnest, fanless ultra-mobile devices. The Intel Core M processor can power razor-thin devices with Intel Core processor-level performance and deliver up to double the battery life when compared to a 4-year-old system.2
“We’ve been on a multi-year mission to address end-user requirements and transform mobile computing,” said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of personal computing at Intel Corporation. “The introduction of Core M marks a significant milestone in that journey. Core M is the first of a new product family designed to deliver the promise of one of the world’s thinnest laptops and highest performance tablets in a single 2 in 1 device.”
Faster Performance, Even More Battery Life
The Intel Core M processor enables up to 50 percent faster compute performance and 40 percent faster graphics performance versus the comparable, previous 4th generation Intel Core processor.3 Consumers with older PCs will notice a more significant performance improvement. The Intel Core M processor delivers up to two times the compute performance and up to seven times better graphics compared to a 4- year-old PC, for example.2
In 2013, Intel delivered the biggest generation-over-generation battery life improvement in the company’s history. The Intel Core M processor and platform power reductions raise the bar on battery life even higher. The Intel Core M processor can handle more than 8 hours of video play, which is up to 20 percent (1.7 hours) longer battery life versus the previous-generation Intel Core processor4 and double the battery life of the average 4-year-old PC.1
Thin, Fanless 2 in 1s Available for Holiday 2014…and Beyond
The Intel Core M processor package is 50 percent smaller and, at 4.5 watts, has 60 percent lower thermal power than the previous generation.5 This lets OEMs design sleek, fanless systems less than 9 mm thin – thinner than an AAA battery and today’s sleekest laptops. There are already more than 20 Intel Core M processor-based OEM products in the development pipeline. The first systems based on the Intel Core M processor will be on shelves for the holiday selling season.
At IFA, manufacturers including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo unveiled new, coming-soon Intel Core M processor-based devices across a range of sizes, styles and price points.
- In Q4, Acer will expand its popular 2-in-1 series of notebooks with the Aspire Switch 12*, featuring a 12.5-inch FHD display with unique kickstand and magnet keyboard to move smoothly between five modes.
- ASUS introduced the ASUS Zenbook UX305*, an incredibly light and thin Ultrabook™ with a 13-inch QHD displayAsus unveiled the UX305, its newest flagship laptop at IFA 2014 this week. The device, it claims, is the world’s thinnest 13-in QHD+ ultrabook, giving it one of the highest pixel densities of any computers on the market. It faces competition from the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro and the Samsung ATIV Book 9 as well as the Apple MacBook Pro Retina Display, although we expect vendors to refresh their current thin-and-light laptop range very soon. At only 12.3mm thick and weighing 1.2Kg, it is light enough to be carried comfortably with one hand. Its specification sheet lists an Intel Core M processor (the 5Y10), Windows 8.1, 4GB or 8GB of LPDDR3 memory, either 128GB or 256GB SSD, an Intel HD Graphics 5300 subsystem, a webcam and a 6-cell, 45Whr battery. As for connectivity, it has three USB ports, one mini-HDMI output and a SD card reader.
and the ASUS Transformer Book T300FA* 2 in 1, which was unveiled during the Intel keynote. The Transformer Book T300FA is a high-performance 2 in 1 and is expected to be available in Europe this fall for an estimated €599. Looking ahead, ASUS plans to go even thinner with the ASUS Transformer T300 Chi*.
- Dell has announced its first commercial 2 in 1, the Latitude 13 7000 Series*, which combines a lightweight business Ultrabook and a detachable tablet in one powerful, no-compromise device.
- HP further extends its award-winning ENVY portfolio with the addition of two new HP ENVY x2* detachable PCs, available in 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch form factors.
- The new [11.6”] Lenovo ThinkPad Helix*, available in October, is 12 percent lighter and measures 15 percent thinner than its predecessor while packing even more power thanks to the Intel Core M processor.
[From Lenovo on Sept 4 with the VP PCG Marketing & Design, Dilip Bhatia: “the most complete 2-in-1 in the marketplace”] The ThinkPad Helix is the industry’s leading 2-in-1 device. Powered by the latest Intel Core processor family, sporting a new revolutionary fan less design and up to 12 hours of battery life. Built for business, the ThinkPad Helix. Learn more about Lenovo: http://lnv.gy/lenovo[From Lenovo on Sept 4 with the product manager for ThinkPad Helix, Sachin Pathak: “specific focus on productivity in business … in line with Lenovo’s multimode strategy to 4 earlier modes now a new desktop mode has been added … etc. –> for ‘full PC connectivity’ ultimately satisfying the ‘business traveller’ ”] Join Kevin Beck for the First Look at the new Think Helix. Lots of awesome new features, including an innovative new fanless design, up to 12 hours of battery life and plenty more surprises. Learn more about Lenovo: http://lnv.gy/lenovo
Intel also previewed a forthcoming Intel Core M processor-based design from Toshiba, and said broader availability of Intel Core M processor-based devices is expected in the first half of next year.
To further system choice and availability, Intel said it is working with ODMs including Wistron* and others. Wistron plans an Intel Core M processor-based design inspired by the Intel “Llama Mountain” reference device. Intel first unveiled the stunning, fanless Llama Mountain reference device, which measures 7.2 mm thin and weighs a mere 670 grams, at Computex in Taiwan earlier this year.Intel Core M “Broadwell-Y” 2-in-1 Tablet / Ultrabook Reference Design hands on at Computex 2014 http://www.mobilegeeks.com http://www.mobilegeeks.de We got to quickly check out Intel’s new reference design für “Broadwell-Y” based Intel Core M ultrabooks and 2-in-1 tablet style devices. It’s called “Llama Mountain 2” and has a 12,5 inch QHD IPS display with 2560×1440 pixels. The device is only 7,5 millimeters thin and weighs in under 800 grams. It shows what to expect from this years 2-in-1 devices coming in from Intels many hardware partners in the run up to the holiday shopping season!
A “Conflict-Free” Processor; Additional Features
Intel Core M is a “conflict-free” product, which means this product does not contain conflict minerals (tin, tantalum, tungsten and/or gold) that directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or adjoining countries.
The Intel Core M processor is available in several versions: the up to 2.0 GHz Intel Core M-5Y10/5Y10a processors and the up to 2.6 GHz Intel Core M-5Y70 processor. The Core M-5Y70 is the highest performing Intel Core M processor and is also available with Intel® vPro™ technology for business 2 in 1s with built-in security features to help protect data, user identities and network access.6
Additional Intel Core M platform features include support for high-quality audio, Intel® Wireless Display 5.0, Intel’s second-generation 802.11ac products and will evolve to support wireless docking with WiGig from Intel. For more information visit:www.intel.com.
1Energy efficiency based on SPEC CPU2006 Intel estimates for both performance and core power. Comparison made vs. Intel prior generation Intel Core family CPU Processors.
2Intel® Core™ M-5Y70 Processor (up to 2.60GHz, 4T/2C, 4M Cache) vs. Normalized to a 4-year-old PC with Intel® Core™ i5-520UM. Performance based on SYSmark* 2014. Intel® Core™ M 5Y70 compared to Intel® Core™ i5-520UM. Weight based on Intel® Core™ M processor-based 2 in 1 based on Intel® FFRD Llama Mountain. Old PC is OEM laptop with Intel® Core™ i5-520UM and 62WHr battery, 3 lbs weight, 1.1-inch thick.
3Up to 50 percent faster vs. 4th generation Intel Core processors based on: Specfp_rate_base 2006 comparing Intel® Core™ M-5Y70 Processor compared to previous-generation Intel® Core™ i5-4302Y at 4.5W. Up to 40 percent faster graphics vs. 4th generation Intel Core processors based on: 3D Mark Ice Storm comparing Intel® Core™ M-5Y70 Processor with Intel HD graphics 5300 vs. Previous Generation Intel® Core™ i5-4302Y at 4.5W with HD Graphics 4200.
4Intel Core M battery life tested vs. 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor based platforms – 11.6-inch panel; 19×10; 200 nits; 35WHr battery; SSD; 4GB memory. Full HD Local Video Playback Battery Rundown-measured using a Tears of Steel 1080p 10 Mbps video. Configuration: In the device settings, disable all radios. Disable Intel® Display Power Saving Technology (Intel® DPST), set up the system to specified screen brightness using a full screen white background, and re-enable Intel DPST. Turn OFF the adaptive brightness setting under Power Options in Control Panel. Set “Dim the display” to never on both battery and AC. Set “Put the computer to sleep” to never on both battery and AC. Wait 15 minutes after boot. Launch the default video player (Windows* 8.1 Style UI video player for win), start the workload video in a loop, and disconnect the AC plug to start the test. Measure the time until battery is exhausted.
54th generation Intel® CoreTM Processor (40 X 24 X 1.5 mm; 960 mm; 11.5W) vs. Intel® Core™ M processor (30 X 16.5 X 1.05 mm; 495 mm; 4.5W)
6No computer system can provide absolute security. Requires an enabled Intel processor, enabled chipset, firmware and/or software optimized to use the technologies. Consult your system manufacturer and/or software vendor for more information.
Intel Mobility at Computex 2014 with Core-M, WiGig, RealSense [Steve Paine YouTube channel, June 10, 2014]
– under Kirk Skaugen –> [46:23]:
>>> Reinvention of the Desktop
>>> 2 in 1 Momentum and the Intel Core M Processor
>>> User Experience at Intel
– then under Herman Eul –> [1:20:38]
>>> The Year of Intel Inside Your Tablet
>>> Powerful Smartphones
The growing Chromebook challenge for Windows laptops: promises from Google I/O are getting realized with new Chromebooks introduced at IFA 2014
1. New Chromebooks (13.3”, 14”)
2. Recently introduced Chromebooks (11.6”)
3. Gartner Says Chromebook Sales Will Reach 5.2 Million Units in 2014
Note that a highly competitive ASUS EeePC revival with the $199/€199 EeeBook X205 at IFA 2014: the Chromebooks alternative based on Windows 8.1 with Bing [this same blog, Sept 6, 2014] is coming in November for the U.S. and European markets. That offering is also just the first of a number of similar kinds expected from global laptop brands using the latest Intel Bay Trail-T Type 3 SoCs (i.e. Z3735G and Z3735F, details are in the above post) specifically designed for significantly lower SoC and PCB costs with specific design for “China Technical Ecosystem”. As of today there are no Chromebooks with Bay Trail-T Type 3 SoCs but those could come as well in November timeframe for even greater Windows laptop competition. The current low-end Chromebooks are mostly using the Intel Bay Trail-M (Intel Mobile Celeron) platform, namely the N2830 SoC (for comparison see the N2830, Z3735F, Z3735G table from Intel).
At the same time it is still unclear what the competition between Chromebooks and the cost reduced Windows laptops will be on the emerging markets. For reasons see the ‘Naked PCs’ lay bare Microsoft’s emerging markets problem article from Reuters (Aug 12, 2014) which has been widely republished (like in Business Insider). In addition Xinhua reported on Aug 24 that a Chinese OS expected to debut in October with the aim to relieve China’s way high dependence on both Windows and Android. With that Chrome OS chances in China could be minimal. We should therefore think of the competition between Chromebooks and the upcoming cost reduced Windows laptops just as a mature market phenomenon. More importantly the latest Gartner analysis considers the Chromebook market a niche market for the next 5 years (see at the end).
Microsoft facing increased competition from MacBooks and Chromebooks, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, July 23, 2014]
Microsoft is facing increased competition from MacBooks and Chromebooks, with the global notebook OS market share for Windows 8 already dropping to below 90%, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.
Thanks to iPhones and iPads, demand for Apple’s Mac series products has also been rising in the past few years.
Meanwhile, Google is seeing increased Chromebook demand from the US and the UK’s education procurement and enterprise markets. By the end of 2014, vendors including Acer, Asustek Computer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Lenovo, LG Electronics and Toshiba are together expected to launch about 20 Intel-based Chromebooks priced at around US$349, the sources said.
To counter, Microsoft has recently extended its free Windows 8 licensing coverage and is cooperating with HP and Acer to release US$199 notebooks at the end of 2014, the sources noted.
In addition to extending free licensing for Windows 8, Microsoft may also need to revise the shortcomings of Windows 8 and accelerate its pace on the development of Windows 9 in order to stay competitive, the sources added.
Google previews new Chromebook features [CNET YouTube channel, June 25, 2014]
The 3 years of Google’s Chromebook journey as it was represented by Sundar Pichai
(As far as Chromebook’s 1st year is concerned see also my Chromebook / box with Citrix Receiver going against Microsoft [May 12 – July 29, 2011] post of mine.]
|I’ve already recognized that “the whole Android-centric story is getting even more interesting when Chrome, Google Drive, Chrome OS and the apps related to that are added” in my Nexus 7: Google wanted it in 4 months for $199/$245, ASUS delivered + Nexus Q (of Google’s own design and manufacturing) added for social streaming from Google Play to speakers and screen in home under Android device control [June 28, 2012] post.|
From Native Android apps are coming to Chrome OS [The Verge, June 25, 2014]
Google is working to bring Chrome OS and Android closer together, and that’ll eventually mean having Android apps running right on a Chromebook. “We’re in early days,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s Chrome and Android chief, said on stage today at Google’s I/O developer conference. Pichai didn’t say when the feature would arrive, but he demonstrated it already working using Android apps for Evernote, Flipboard, and Vine. The apps can appear in a tall, phone-sized window, or they can be expanded to run as they would on tablets.
Earlier this month, a project for Google’s Chromium called Athena pointed toward big changes to the touch aspects of Chrome OS. That included a virtual software keyboard, a card-based interface a la Google Now, and a new app launcher interface.
Altogether, it sounds as though touch input is bound to become a far more integral part of Chrome OS. Google didn’t comment on what future Chromebooks will look like from its partners, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see more and more shipping with touchscreens.
Google also said today that Chrome OS will eventually be able to display notifications from a paired Android phone, and that a paired phone will be able to unlock a Chromebook just by coming near it.
1. New Chromebooks (13.3”, 14”)
HP Chromebook 14 inch Tegra K1 Hands On [Steve Paine YouTube channel, Sep 4, 2014]
From: HP Unveils Five New Innovative and Stylish Consumer Products for Holiday [press release, Sept 4, 2014]
The 14-inch HP Chromebook combines beautiful design, super-fast performance and a wide 14-inch FHD [1920 x 1080] diagonal screen(5) for a superior Chrome experience. Powered by the latest-generation NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor with world-class graphics performance, the HP Chromebook provides smooth multitasking while browsing the web, running productivity apps or streaming music. Tegra K1’s breakthrough power efficiency gives the 14-inch HP Chromebook improved battery life. It also features a silent, slim, fanless design and is optimized for Google Hangouts, supporting Hangouts in HD.(5,7)Available in Twinkle Black or Snow White with a choice of complementary accent color options, including Smoke Silver, Sorbet Orange, Ocean Turquoise or Neon Green, the 14-inch HP Chromebook stands out in a crowd.(6)
- The 14-inch HP Chromebook is expected to be available in the United States beginning on Oct. 22 for a starting price of $299.99.
(5) High definition (HD) content is required to view high-definition images.
(6) Color availability may vary by region.
(7) Internet service required and not included.
Toshiba Chromebook 2 [CB30-B 13.3”] with Full HD [1920 x 1080] Screen Hands-On [Steve Paine YouTube channel, Sep 3, 2014] with Intel’s BayTrail-M (Intel Mobile Celeron) platform
Note: In France the Toshiba Chromebook 2 CB30-B is available for €329 as of Sept 7.
Acer Chromebook 13 Hands-On (CB5, Tegra [K1], 2014) [Steve Paine YouTube channel, Sep 5, 2014] Note: available for pre-order in U.S. since Aug 12 (see below), but as of Sept 7 it still has not been released
A new type of Chromebook with extra-long battery life [Google Chrome Blog, Aug 11, 2014]
Chromebooks were designed for your mobile lifestyle. They’re thin and light, resume instantly, and are easy to use.
Starting today, we’re welcoming a new type of Chromebook into the family, beginning with the Acer Chromebook 13. This new device uses the NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, so you get the speed you’re used to from Chromebooks with a battery life up to 13 hours. What could you do in thirteen hours?
- Fly from New York to Beijing
- Watch the entire set of Harry Potter movies
- Complete an Iron Man triathlon (average finish time is 12hr 13min)
- Finish a 1-credit college course
- Watch 390 adorable cat videos (2 min per video)
- Use your Chromebook 13 to watch, play and get a lot done
The Acer Chromebook 13 is available now (with optional touchscreen and 1080p resolution) at Amazon and other online retailers from $279.
Hands-on: The Tegra K1-powered Acer Chromebook 13 [NVIDIA YouTube channel, Aug 12, 2014]
See more at: Tegra K1 Transforming Chromebooks From The Inside Out [NVIDIA Blog, Aug 11, 2014]
Acer Chromebook 13 laptop – The Chromebook with 13 hours of battery life (features & highlights) [Acer YouTube channel, Aug 11, 2014]
Acer Launches Industry’s First Chromebook Powered by NVIDIA Tegra K1 and its First 13.3-inch Model [press release, Aug 12, 2014]
Acer America today announced the Acer Chromebook 13, the industry’s first Chromebook powered by an NVIDIA Tegra K1 mobile processor mobile processor and the company’s first with a 13.3-inch display. The Chromebook 13 enhances Acer’s already dominant position in this category with an impressive 46.7 percent market share in Chromebooks.(1)
Acer’s early lead in the Chromebook space you could understand from my earlier Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die! [Nov 7, 2013] post.
The combination of additional real estate on the vibrant 13.3-inch display, industry-leading battery life of up to 13 hours,(2) and a thin and light fanless design makes the Acer Chromebook 13 the ideal choice for customers who want additional screen real estate along with a portable and productivity-boosting design. The Acer Chromebook 13 is available in two options – one with a full HD display with 1920×1080 resolution and another model with a 1366×768 display.(2)
The Acer Chromebook 13 delivers the ultimate in mobility with the Tegra K1 with a 192-core GPU, enabling customers to get more done throughout their work day and after hours, no matter where they take their Chromebook. Customers will experience a first-rate multi-tasking experience when keeping multiple tabs open, playing a video and doing more all at once.
“The Acer Chromebook 13 is an ideal device for families who need a new or additional computer to share for school projects, research, entertainment and fun online,” said Sumit Agnihotry, Acer’s vice president of product marketing. “The display is large and vibrant, so everything from homework to video is incredibly crisp and detailed. Plus, up to 13 hours of battery life means families can use the device all day for work or school and not have to recharge it for nighttime activities like homework and watching movies.”
The Acer Chromebook 13 uses the NVIDIA Tegra K1 4-Plus-1™ quad-core ARM Cortex A15 CPU plus a third-generation battery-saver core to provide up to 13 hours of battery life(2). Tegra K1 uses an NVIDIA Kepler architecture-based GPUwith 192 programmable GPGPU cores to process rich and detailed graphics.
“The Acer Chromebook 13’s long battery life, speedy multitasking and advanced graphics highlight the tremendous experiences that Tegra K1 delivers,” said Kaustubh Sanghani, general manager of the mobile PC business unit at NVIDIA. “Acer’s innovations and Tegra K1 will make the Chromebook 13 a popular device with consumers.”
Two Options Provide Choice of Full HD Display, Extra-Long Battery Life
The Acer Chromebook 13’s large 13.3-inch display comes in two models to give customer the options that fit their needs. The version with a full HD 1920×1080 display shows video in lifelike 1080p resolution and provides up to 11 hours of battery life.(2) In addition, models will be available with a bright and crisp 1366×768 resolution display that provides even longer battery life of up to 13 hours.(2) Both displays will have Acer ComfyView™ anti-glare panels that minimize light reflection that can cause eye fatigue. In addition, the Acer Chromebook 13’s display provides rich colors and excellent contrast, while the large size helps accommodate the spacious keyboard that is both comfortable and maximizes productivity.
Designed with mobility in mind, the Acer Chromebook 13 has an incredibly thin and light design that measures only 0.71 inches thin and weighs only 3.31 pounds. In addition, the Acer Chromebook 13 is fanless, so the system is nearly silent while operating. The Acer Chromebook 13 keeps customers in touch and connected with 802.11ac WiFi, which provides speeds up to three times faster than 802.11n. Plus, the 2×2 MIMO antenna helps ensure reliable throughput.
Starts Quickly; Connects to Popular Devices
The new Acer Chromebook 13 boots up in less than 9 seconds and resumes nearly instantly from sleep mode. This enables customers to more quickly enjoy the more than 30,000 free and paid apps, themes and extensions in the Chrome web store.
Customers will enjoy faster data transfers of photos and video with the Acer Chromebook 13’s two USB 3.0 ports. Plus, streamed video and movies can be shared on a larger display or home TV using the Acer Chromebook 13’s HDMI port. Video chats and Google Talk are all enhanced by the Chromebook’s HD webcam that provides 720p HD audio/video recording as well as the two built-in stereo speakers and microphone.
Fun to Share, Easy to Protect
Chromebooks are simple to use and ideal for sharing by multiple users, such as families, schools or at different shifts at a business. Users can log into their own account to access Gmail, Docs, website bookmarks and other information. Storage on Google Drive(3) protects files, documents, and photos safely in the cloud, and ensures that the most current version of the file or document is always available and safe, even if the Chromebook is lost or stolen. Plus, Acer Chromebook 13 users can view, edit, create and collaborate on-line and off-line with a growing number of programs, such as Microsoft Office documents and Gmail.
Security is a key benefit of the Chrome operating system, as it’s automatically updated to guard against ever-changing online threats. This is especially useful for families and schools who want to protect children.
Pricing and Availability
Several models are available now for pre-sale:
- The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T9B0 has the 1920×1080 full HD [1920 x 1080] display, 2GB of memory and a fast 16GB Solid State Drive(4). It is priced at only $299.99 and is available now for pre-sale at BestBuy.com.
- The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T1UU has a 1920×1080 full HD [1920 x 1080] display, 4GB of memory and a fast 32GB Solid State Drive(4). It is priced at only $379.99 and is available now for pre-sale at Amazon.com and the Acer Store.
- The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T7NN has a 1366×768 display, 2GB of memory and a fast 16GB Solid State Drive(4). It is priced at only $279.99 and is available now for pre-sale at Amazon.com and the Acer Store.
Acer is also offering a configuration via resellers that will be sold to commercial and education customers. That model comes with a 1366×768 display, 4GB of memory, a fast 16GB Solid State Drive(4) and will be priced at $329.99.
Acer systems are backed by professional, high-quality technical support. The company’s online community at community.acer.com provides customers discussion forums, answers to frequently asked questions and the opportunity to share ideas for new and enhanced services and products.
Prices listed are manufacturer suggested retail prices and may vary by location. Applicable sales tax extra.
Q1 2014 NPD data, U.S. market.
The Acer Chromebook 13 model with the full HD 1920×1080 display provides up to 11.5 hours of battery life. The Acer Chromebook 13 model with the 1366×768 display provides up to 13 hours of battery life. Battery life as measured with Google power_LoadTest (http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/testing/power-testing). Actual battery life varies by model, configuration (including storage capacity, RAM capacity, processor in use, display type and resolution, etc.), applications, power management settings, operating conditions, and utilized features.
More information on Google Drive on Chrome devices:https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/2703646?p=driveoffer&rd=1
Accessible capacity varies: (MB = 1 million bytes; GB = 1 billion bytes)
2. Recently introduced Chromebooks (11.6”)
Acer Chromebook 11 laptop – The right choice for a smart buyer (features & highlights) [Acer YouTube channel, Aug 21, 2014] with Intel’s BayTrail-M (Intel Mobile Celeron) N2830 platform (availability?)
From Acer’s Chrome Devices Now Expand to Include New Chromebox CXI and Chromebook 11 [press release, Aug 21, 2014]
Acer Chromebook 11
The Acer Chromebook 11 enhances life on-the-go with an even faster wireless connectivity and long-lasting battery life that extends productivity from day to night on a single charge. There are two models: the CB3-111 consumer model in an immaculate Moonstone White color, and the C730 commercial/education model in Granite Gray.
The Acer Chromebook 11 meets the needs of students, families, anyone on a budget, as an affordable secondary device, and for the growing number of customers who enjoy the Google ecosystem for school, work and entertainment.
Faster Connection and Long-lasting Battery
Up to 3x faster(1) connection is achieved via the latest 802.11ac wireless communication, which vastly improves coverage in distance and range. The Chromebook 11 features Bluetooth 4.0 technology and one USB 3.0 port that lets users share and send data faster. Up to 8.5 hours(2) of battery life means users can fit in plenty of work and entertainment throughout the day.
Fast Boot and Connectivity
The Intel® Celeron® N2830 processor(4), based on the Intel Bay Trail M architecture, and eMMC 16/32 GB solid-state drive helps this system boot fast(5), perform well without slowing over time. The Chromebook 11 comes with an 11.6-inch HD 1366 x 768 display, 16:9 wide aspect ratio, and Acer ComfyView™ LED backlit TFT LCD. Input/output ports include USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports for quick and easy data sharing and external storage, SD™ Card reader, combo headphone/speaker jack, and HDMI® port.
The Chromebook 11 (CB3-111) for consumers is slimmer than its predecessor measuring 299 x 202 x 18.65 mm with a reduced height, and weighs 1.1kg (2.43 lbs.) so it can be taken anywhere for exploring online, staying in touch, running Chrome apps and more.
The Chromebook 11 (C730) for the commercial/education with improved structural design can withstand a 60% higher drop test than the consumer model, and features a water spill proof keyboard/touchpad with drainage channel designed to tackle the higher possibilities of spills and drops in businesses and schools. This model measures 302.6 x 206.6 x 21.75 mm and weighs 1.4 kg (3.09 lbs.)
Speed, Security and Synchronicity of Acer Chrome-based Devices
The New Acer Chromebox CXI and Chromebook 11 pack all the speed, security and auto-synchronization convenience of Chrome OS.
Powerwash – Easy Factory Reset
Powerwash enables IT to quickly and easily clear all local user data stored in the Chrome device by resetting it to its original factory state. Using this feature, all data stored on the device such as files, photos, owner permissions, and saved networks, will be deleted for all accounts. After clearing this data, the IT professional is guided through the initial setup again. Resetting the device doesn’t affect the accounts themselves, or any data synced to these accounts.
Always Up to Date, Easy to Use
IT professionals will find that it’s simple to control a fleet of Chrome devices via the web-based Google Management Console, which makes it possible to deploy an app from 1 to thousands of Chrome-based devices with a single click of a button. The OS and all downloaded applications are automatically updated every six weeks, saving IT staff’s time and assuring users the freshest software and security features.
Acer’s Chrome devices come with pre-installed web apps and over 30,000 additional apps, themes and extensions on the Chrome Web Store. Since all applications run within the browser, there is little to no computer management required.
Acer’s Chrome devices are easy to use. After the user signs into Chrome with a Google account, they’re immediately immersed in the Google ecosystem and signed into Google services. Their bookmarks, history and settings are synced across all of their devices and computers running Chrome. Once logged in, they can surf the Internet with the Chrome browser, read and send emails from Gmail, search the web with Google Search, create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more with Google Drive, as well as watch videos from YouTube, etc.
Fun to Share, Easy to Protect
Chrome devices are simple to use and ideal for sharing by multiple users, such as families, schools or at different shifts at a business. Users can log into their own account to access Gmail, Docs, website bookmarks and other information. Storage on Google Drive 4 protects files, documents, and photos safely in the cloud, and ensures that the most current version of the file or document is always available and safe, even if the Chrome device is lost or stolen. Plus, users of Acer Chrome devices can view, edit, create and collaborate on-line and off-line with a growing number of programs, such as Office documents and Gmail.
Layers of Tight Security
Multiple layers of security features including data encryption and verified boot defend the device against online threats, malware and viruses. Every time the Chrome OS boots, it checks the integrity and validity of system files. If it detects any anomaly or unauthorized change, the system will restore from a prior backup. User and system files are stored on separate partitions that keep data secure and make restoration from a backup simple. Individual user’s data is encrypted automatically and protected by the TPM 1.2 chip, which generates and stores secure cryptographic keys, enabling IT professionals to read data from a stolen Chrome device.
Via individual accounts, data is kept safe when the device is used by multiple users. Storage on Google Drive safeguards files, documents, and photos in the cloud, and ensures that the most current version is always available. IT staff will also appreciate that the Acer Chromebox CXI has a Kensington lock to secure them to a desk or mobile cart.
(1) Based on a IEEE 802.11ac draft specification. Actual speed will vary based on range, connection rate, site conditions, size of network, and other factors.
(2) Battery life may vary depending on model and configuration. Based on Google power_LoadTest.
(3) 330 ml of liquid water spillage resistant keyboard and touchpad design on Acer Chromebook 11 – C730 only.
(4) Accessible capacity varies: (MB = 1 million bytes; GB = 1 billion bytes).
(5) Reg: Boots up under 10 seconds. Source: Chromium OS Fast Boot.
Lenovo N20/N20P [11.6”] Chromebook hands-on [SlashGear YouTube channel, May 5, 2014] !! The N20p comes with a 300-degree hinge that allows the screen to be turned around for using the notebook in all-touch mode!! with Intel’s “BayTrail-M” [Mobile] Celeron N2930 or N2830 platform, available beginning in July and August, respectively
Lenovo Breaks The Mold By Going Multimode On Its First Consumer Chromebook [press release, May 6, 2014]
Portfolio offers thin and light designs and breakthrough dual mode, touch experience
- N20 Chromebook in clamshell design offers familiar laptop feel with choice features
- N20p Chromebook features an HD 10-point multitouch display and easily converts from Laptop to Stand mode for added flexibility and new ways to use it
Lenovo(HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) today announced Lenovo’s first consumer Chromebooks, the N20 Chromebook and N20p Chromebook. These devices offer consumers choices of two ways to enjoy the Chrome experience in a thin and light form factor with a set of comprehensive technologies – all at an unbelievably affordable price starting at $279. While the N20 provides the familiar comfort of a traditional laptop, the N20p Chromebook breaks the mold for Chromebooks with its innovative multimode design featuring Laptop and Stand modes.
These new additions complement Lenovo’s Chromebook family, which includes the ThinkPad 11e Chromebook and the ThinkPad YOGA 11e Chromebook, built with the needs of education customers in mind.
Fusing Innovative Hardware
Designed for maximum portability, both Chromebooks are thin and light at less than 17.9mm and weighing less than 1.4 kg. With an 11.6-in 1366×768 HD screen, users can comfortably see their work and type by using the full-sized keyboard with its oversized trackpad and attractive cool-touch palmrest.
While the N20 Chromebook features a traditional laptop design, the multimode N20p Chromebook’s keyboard flexes 300° backward to convert from Laptop mode to Stand mode. Stand mode gives users a new way for watching videos up close and interacting with the 10-finger touchscreen for playing games and browsing.
With up to eight hours of battery life1 and powered by an Intel® Celeron processor with integrated graphics, users can quickly and seamlessly boot the Chromebook and immediately begin their task, whether it’s watching videos, video chatting using the high definition web cam, listening to music, surfing the web and more without bringing their power cord along. They can also stay constantly connected with its WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. The Chromebooks also come with up to 16 GB internal and up to 100 GB of free cloud storage from Google Drive for storing digital content.
The Chrome Experience
Combining the Chrome experience with Lenovo’s innovative multimode Chromebook design offers an unmatched value for consumers. With the Chrome operating system, the Chromebooks boot within seconds. Chrome offers fast, automatic updates and tens of thousands of apps available via the Chrome Web Store.
Users can work on their N20 Chromebook and N20p Chromebook offline writing email on Gmail and creating documents with Google Docs. To facilitate working with other people and devices, the Chromebooks allow for opening, editing and sharing Microsoft Word and Excel files. Users can even share their Chromebook with someone else through a guest’s personal Google account or by enabling Guest Mode, and they can enable monitoring of children’s web browsing with supervised user profiles. With the Chromebooks, users can print anywhere via Google Cloud Print, and they can employ remote desktop access to access software on their machine.
“Our first consumer Chromebooks perfectly complement people’s changing mobile digital lifestyles,” said Dilip Bhatia, vice president, worldwide marketing and design, PC Group, Lenovo. “Equipped with thousands of apps, the N20 and N20p Chromebooks are also fast, secure and incredibly simple for anyone to use and manage. With touch and two unique modes on the N20p Chromebook, users are getting a great technology experience at a handsome price.”
Pricing and Availability2
Pricing for models of the N20 Chromebook and N20p Chromebook start at $279 and $329, respectively. They will be available beginning in July and August, respectively, via Lenovo retailers and www.lenovo.com.
ASUS C200 [11.6”] Chromebook Review. Detailed. HQ. [Steve Paine YouTube channel, Aug 4, 2014] with Intel’s BayTrail-M (Intel Mobile Celeron) [N2830] platform, was first available in U.S. since May 6, 2014 (Amazon) and as of Sept 7. its MRP is $249 while you can buy it on Amazon for $230
See also: Introducing the New ASUS Chromebooks C200 and C300 [press release, May 6, 2014] where it was stated that:
… The ASUS Chromebook C200 and C300 will begin shipping in the US at the end of June 2014 with a starting price at $249.99. …
New Chromebooks: in more shapes, sizes and colors [Google Chrome Blog, May 6, 2014]
Spring has finally arrived in the U.S. And with the new growth the season brings, we’re happy to expand our Chromebook family. Together with Intel, today we’re announcing a new lineup of Chromebooks with Intel inside from leading manufacturers Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG and Toshiba—spanning an entire range of shapes, sizes, colors and configurations.
Lenovo’s N20p Chromebook and Thinkpad YOGA 11e Chromebook offer options for touchscreen and hinge designs that enable tablet or tented-angle usage, so they’re just as easy to use at your desk or coffee table, on your lap or at school.
ASUS is following the success of their Chromebox (now the most popular desktop on Amazon.com) by introducing two new laptops: The ASUS C200 Chromebook (11-inch) and ASUS C300 Chromebook (13-inch).
New versions of the Dell Chromebook 11 and the Acer C720 Chromebook will be powered by Intel’s Core i3 processor, which packs the additional performance to help you get things done faster. These new Chromebooks, along with a new 13-inch Toshiba model, a Chromebox from HP, and the LG Chromebase (the first all-in-one computer running Chrome OS), will be available in retail over the next few months.
3. Gartner Says Chromebook Sales Will Reach 5.2 Million Units in 2014 [press release, Aug 11, 2014]
Chromebook Sales Expected to Nearly Triple by 2017
In 2014, Sales to Consumers Will Account for Over Half of All Chromebook Sales
Sales of Chromebooks* will reach 5.2 million units in 2014, a 79 percent increase from 2013, according to Gartner, Inc. By 2017, sales of Chromebooks are set to nearly triple to reach 14.4 million units.
“Competition in the Chromebook market is intensifying as more vendors launch Chromebooks, with eight models in the market in 2014,” said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner. “Now that the PC market is no longer growing strongly, vendors are searching for new business opportunities. They launched Chromebooks to revive interest in sub-$300 portable PCs once the netbook bubble had burst.”
Demand for Chromebooks is mainly driven by the education sector in the U.S. Gartner estimates that the education sector accounted for nearly 85 percent of Chromebook sales in 2013. In addition, of the 2.9 million Chromebooks sold during 2013, 82 percent were sold in North America, making it the major market for Chromebooks globally.
While Chromebooks are primarily used by the education sector, they will also have a place in businesses for specific workers, such as staff in banking, financial services, estate agents and hotel receptionists. “So far, businesses have looked at Chromebooks, but not bought many,” said Ms. Durand. “By adopting Chromebooks and cloud computing, businesses can benefit; they can shift their focus from managing devices to managing something much more important — their data.”
These devices also encourage more collaboration and sharing of content. As more users work collaboratively in the cloud, collaborative working practices are likely to become more common which may further increase the appeal of Chromebooks and similar devices.
In 2011, Samsung and Acer, very consumer-focused vendors, were the first vendors to invest in Chromebooks, and were the two dominant leaders in the market in 2013 (see Figure 1) “While there is less presence in the business market, and a limited product portfolio for midsize businesses, Chromebooks could open doors to the business market,” said Ms. Durand.
Acer’s early lead in the Chromebook space you could understand from my earlier Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die! [Nov 7, 2013] post. Meanwhile Samsung earliest lead was documented in the very end of my Nexus 7: Google wanted it in 4 months for $199/$245, ASUS delivered + Nexus Q (of Google’s own design and manufacturing) added for social streaming from Google Play to speakers and screen in home under Android device control [June 28, 2012] post.
Figure 1. Chromebook Vendors’ Shares of Unit Sales to End Users, Worldwide, 2013
Source: Gartner (July 2014)
By selling 1.7 million units in 2013, Samsung led the Chromebook market globally. It was especially dominant in the education market, having the most popular devices in primary and secondary schools. Acer, which had a 21.4 percent market share in 2013, designs Chromebooks with a consistent focus on delivering the best value for money. It uses Intel, rather than ARM-based, CPUs because its target consumers are price-sensitive.
HP was the No. 3 vendor, with a 6.8 percent share of Chromebook shipments, and Lenovo (which did not enter the market until last year) accounted for 6.7 percent of shipments in 2013. HP was the only vendor to launch a Chromebook with a 14-inch screen. HP positions itself as a provider of solutions and services for businesses, and its large installed customer base in the business and education markets should provide it with a strong competitive advantage in the Chromebook market going forward. Lenovo’s Chromebooks are very rugged, compared with the competition, and therefore ideal for primary and secondary school pupils. However, Lenovo needs to manage its devices portfolio in such a way as to avoid selling so many Chromebooks that it undermines sales of its other ThinkPads — which provide better margins.
Chromebooks will remain a niche market during the next five years. To reach a wider audience, vendors need to offer better features that address cloud-based usage patterns: faster connectivity, faster memory access, faster and larger solid-state drives, and strong user support in the education, business and consumer segments. “Making a competitive Chromebook is not just a matter of hardware and price; what is most important is to show how the device’s cloud-based architecture provides genuine advantages to users,” said Ms. Durand.
More detailed analysis is available in the report “Competitive Landscape: Chromebooks, Worldwide.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/document/2811820.
Versus as it was presented in The lost U.S. grip on the mobile computing market, including not only the device business, but software development and patterns of use in general [this same blog, April 14, 2014]:
The global tablet market ticked up in the second quarter of 2014, although growth is still near the market’s historical low.
- Shipments hit about 44.3 million during the period, yielding year-over-year growth of 11%.
While an improvement from the previous quarter, consider that the tablet market had year-over-year growth of nearly 80% in the same quarter just a year ago.
- Although it lead all vendors with about 27% market share, Apple’s iPad shipments declined 9% year-over-year during the period. That marks the second consecutive quarter in which iPad shipments have declined.
- Samsung’s tablet shipments grew a paltry 1% for the period to hit 8.5 million units in the second quarter. That is an enormous slowdown compared to the growth rates it was achieving just a year ago. In the second quarter of 2013, Samsung tablet shipments grew 300% year-over-year.
- Both Apple and Samsung lost market share during the quarter. Apple’s leading market share fell from 33% to 27% while Samsung’s dipped two percentage points to 17%.
- “White-box” vendors = 41% of market
Worldwide Tablet Market Grows 11% in Second Quarter on Shipments from a Wide Range of Vendors, According to IDC [IDC press release, July 24, 2014]
The worldwide tablet grew 11.0% year over year in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14) with shipments reaching 49.3 million units according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Although shipments declined sequentially from 1Q14 by -1.5%, IDC believes the market will experience positive but slower growth in 2014 compared to the previous year.
“As we indicated last quarter, the market is still being impacted by the rise of large-screen smartphones and longer than anticipated ownership cycles,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC Research Director for Tablets. “We can also attribute the market deceleration to slow commercial adoption of tablets. Despite this trend, we believe that stronger commercial demand for tablets in the second half of 2014 will help the market grow and that we will see more enterprise-specific offerings, as illustrated by the Apple and IBM partnership, come to market.”
Despite declining shipments of its iPad product line, Apple managed to maintain its lead in the worldwide tablet market, shipping 13.3 million units in the second quarter. Following a strong first quarter, Samsung struggled to maintain its momentum and saw its market share slip to 17.2% in the second quarter. Lenovo continued to climb the rankings ladder, surpassing ASUS and moving into the third spot in the tablet market, shipping 2.4 million units and grabbing 4.9% markets share. The top 5 was rounded out by ASUS and Acer, with 4.6% and 2.0% share, respectively. Share outside the top 5 grew to an all time high as more and more vendors have made inroads in the tablet space. By now most traditional PC and phone vendors have at least one tablet model in the market, and strategies to move bundled devices and promotional offerings have slowly gained momentum.
“Until recently, Apple, and to a lesser extent Samsung, have been sitting at the top of the market, minimally impacted by the progress from competitors,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. “Now we are seeing growth amongst the smaller vendors and a levelling of shares across more vendors as the market enters a new phase.”
Worldwide Tablet Shipments Miss Targets as First Quarter Experiences Single-Digit Growth, According to IDC [IDC press release, May 1, 2014]
Worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 shipments slipped to 50.4 million units in the first calendar quarter of 2014 (1Q14) according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. The total represents a sequential decline of -35.7% from the high-volume holiday quarter and just 3.9% 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 the first quarter of 2013. Despite the contraction, the company saw its share of the market slip only modestly to 32.5%, down from the previous quarter’s share of 33.2%. Samsung once again grew its worldwide share, increasing from 17.2% last quarter to 22.3% this quarter. Samsung continues to work aggressively with carriers to drive tablet shipments through attractively priced smartphone bundles. Rounding out the top five were ASUS (5%), Lenovo (4.1%), and Amazon (1.9%).
“With roughly two-thirds share, Android continues to dominate the market,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. “Although its share of the market remains small, Windows devices continue to gain traction thanks to sleeper hits like the Asus T100, whose low cost and 2-in-1 form factor appeal to those looking for something that’s ‘good enough’.”
Digitimes Research: Global tablet shipments reach 55.06 million units in 2Q14 [press release, July 23, 2014]
There were 55.06 million tablets shipped globally in the second quarter of 2014, decreasing 4.5% on quarter but increasing 17.9% on year, according to Digitimes Research.
The shipments consisted of 14.1 million iPads, down 10% on quarter, and 18.96 million units launched by vendors other than Apple, down 12.7% on quarter. Additionaly, 22.3 million white-box units were shipped in the second quarter.
Shipments of small-size Wi-Fi-enabled units in particular slowed down in the second quarter and the time period was also a slow season for shipments. Supply chains also faced yield issues and Samsung saw less-than-expected shipments for its 8-inch tablets. Tablets sized 10-inch and above have seen shipment increases since fourth-quarter 2014.
Taiwan tablet makers meanwhile surpassed 20 million in shipments for brand tablets during the second quarter, which made up 60% of overall brand tablet shipments during the time period, added Digitimes Research.
Digitimes Research: Global tablet shipments drop 30% sequentially in 1Q14 [press release, April 23, 2014]
Global tablet shipments reached only 58.56 million units in the first quarter of 2014, down almost 30% sequentially, but up 4.6% on year despite Samsung Electronics trying to boost both its high-end and entry-level tablet shipments and Lenovo pushing shipments to meet its fiscal 2013 targets. Seasonality, Apple seeing weaker sales, and the tablet market growing mature were also factors that affected shipment performance, according to Digitimes Research.
Shipments of iPads suffered both on-year and sequential drops to reach 15.85 million units in the first quarter. Non-iPad tablet shipments were 22.31 million units, down 20% sequentially, but up over 30% on year thanks to strong demand for Samsung, Lenovo and Asustek’s Windows-based models. White-box tablet shipments reached only 20.4 million units due to seasonality and labor shortages during the Lunar New Year holidays.
Apple and Samsung remained the top-two vendors in the first quarter, but the two players’ market share gap was less than 6pp. Lenovo was the third-largest vendor, followed closely by Asustek Computer in fourth. Amazon and Google dropped to number seven and ten.
Taiwan ODMs shipped 22.15 million tablets together in the first quarter, accounting for less than 60% of global shipments. The largest maker, Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry), and second-largest Pegatron Technology both suffered significant shipment drops due to lower-than-expected demand for iPad. Quanta saw increased shipments in the quarter because of Asustek’s T100 tablet, and returned to being the third-largest maker in Taiwan. Compal Electronics’ shipments suffered a sharp decline because Amazon’s Kindle Fire range is approaching the end of its lifecycle, while Acer is turning to cooperate with China-based makers, Digitimes Research‘s figures showed.
Digitimes Research: Global white-box tablet shipments down in 1Q14 [press release, May 12, 2014]
There were 20.4 million white-box tablets shipped globally in the first quarter of 2014, decreasing by 27.4% on quarter and by 2.4% on year, according to Digitimes Research.
The decrease in shipments was mainly because most white-box vendors are based in China and there were fewer working days in the first quarter due to the Lunar New Year holidays, Digitimes Research pointed out.
Of the shipments, 7-inch models accounted for 70.5%, 7.85/7.9-inch ones 21.3%, 8- to 9-inch ones 4.2%, above 9- to 10-inch 2.9%, above 10-inch 1.1%.
Due to strong demand in emerging markets including India, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia and Eastern Europe, global white-box tablet shipments in the second quarter of 2014 will increase 14.2% on quarter and 45.6% on year to 23.3 million units.
2014 will be the last year of making sufficient changes for Microsoft’s smartphone and tablet strategies, and those changes should be radical if the company wants to succeed with its devices and services strategy
For the company’s most recent “ONE Microsoft” strategy see:
– Microsoft reorg for delivering/supporting high-value experiences/activities [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 11, 2013]
– How the device play will unfold in the new Microsoft organization? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 14, 2013]
Update: There are extremely worrying signs on the horizon as per Jan 27, 2014:
– MediaTek MT6592-based True Octa-core superphones are on the market to beat Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-based ones UPDATE: from $147+ in Q1 and $132+ in Q2
– End of the Nokia “magic” hurting European and Asian consumers while mobile carriers are uncertain about the future under the Microsoft brand
End of Update
As 2014 will be the last year of “free ride” in the smartphone and tablet spaces for ARM-based competitors of Intel – at least what Intel is insisting again [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 17, 2014] it is time to summarize the ARM-based opportunities for 2014 (note that Intel’s goal in the tablet space is only 40 million units, both Android and Windows):
Compare everything to 2014 global notebook demand forecast [DIGITIMES Research, Dec 5, 2013] which estimates that global notebook shipments in 2014 will reach around 160 million units, down from a peak of over 200 million in 2011, but the drop in 2014 will be lower than the on-year drop in 2013, with new market developments, new product opportunities, and changes in the major players’ strategies all playing critical roles in the IT industry’s future trends.
Global smartphone shipments are expected to top 1.24 billion units in 2014, with Samsung Electronics, Apple, LG Electronics, Sony Mobile Communications, Lenovo, Huawei [according to the company: 52 million units in 2013 vs 60 million target] , Microsoft, ZTE, Coolpad and TCL serving as top-10 vendors, according to Digitimes Research.
Apple may see its shipments double in 2014 largely due to increased shipments to China and Japan as it will benefit from its cooperation with the largest telecom operators in the two countries, said Digitimes Research.
The growth rate for Samsung will be limited in 2014 as its sales in the US, China and Japan will be depressed by growing popularity of iPhones.
China-based Lenovo, Huawei and Coolpad are expected to step up their efforts to boost sales in overseas markets after being enlisted among the top-10 vendors due to higher shipment volumes in the home market in China.
However, TCL and ZTE will continue to ship smartphones to overseas markets mainly, but will also strengthen sales in China, with domestic sales to account for less than 50% of their total shipments in 2014, commented Digitimes Research.
This article is an excerpt from a Digitimes Research Special Report (2014 global smartphone market forecast).
Digitimes Research: China smartphone-use application processor shipments edge up 2.4% in 4Q13 [Jan 15, 2014]
Shipments of application processors for smartphone applications to China grew 2.4% sequentially and 20.8% on year in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to data compiled by Digitimes Research.
MediaTek saw its AP shipments decline 3.9% sequentially in the fourth quarter due to inventory checks at clients and a high growth recorded in the previous quarter.
However, it was a 20% sequential shipment decline suffered by Qualcomm the fourth quarter that weakened the growth momentum of the application processor sector, said Digitimes Research.
Meanwhile, MediaTek has been shifting its focus to the high-margin segment, instead of seeking high shipment growth. China-based Spreadtrum Communications was hit with high inventory of TD-SCDMA chips and slow sales of its dual- and quad-core solutions, Digitimes Research indicated.
Qualcomm also saw its performance weaken in the fourth quarter as its QRD (Qualcomm reference design) chips were less competitive than those offered by rivals in terms of product features.
This article is an excerpt from a Chinese-language Digitimes Research report. Click here if you are interested in receiving more information about the content and price of a translated version of the full report.
Digitimes Research estimates that in 2014 global tablet shipments will reach 289 million units [Dec 31, 2013]
China white-box makers add extra value to tablets as cost reduction is no longer possible [DIGITIMES Research, Jan 16, 2014]
China white-box players have not been able to lower their Wi-Fi-based tablets’ prices since the third quarter of 2013 because there is no room for further reductions in their BOM costs.
The average BOM cost for a white-box tablet – most of which adopted a dual-core processors – stood at about US$25 as of the fourth quarter of 2013. Dual-core processor pricing could not drop any further, as their average prices came to about US$4, only less than US$1 higher than that of a single-core one.
Memory and 7-inch TN LCD panels are the two key components that account for major shares of white-box tablet BOM costs. However, most panel suppliers have been only willing to upgrade specifications instead of dropping their quotes, and therefore, white-box players have been left with upgrading their devices with better panels without an option of reducing the panel cost.
While cost reduction is no longer a feasible way to attract consumers, many white-box players have turned to push tablets with phone functions to increase their devices’ functionalities and value. The devices also provide higher gross margins for vendors.
Digitimes Research estimates that currently, 80% of white-box tablets are available in countries other than China, because white-box tablets with phone functions have seen rising demand in Russia and other markets in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia since the second half of 2013.
China white-box players’ partnerships with regional brand vendors in emerging markets have also helped raise local consumers’ demand for tablets with phone functions.
In the first half of 2013, most white-box tablets with phone functions adopted China-based Allwinner Technology’s solution which combined an entry-level single-core processor with a discrete baseband module. However, many white-box device makers have turned to MediaTek solutions for their tablets since the second half of 2013 after the Taiwan-based chipmaker also integrated a baseband chip into its tablet processor solution.
MediaTek’s solution is more expensive, but its support for product development and hardware design has given it an upper hand over competitions. Meanwhile, independent design houses (IDHs), which provide white-box players with product design services, also started to design tablets using MediaTek’s smartphone processors in the second half of 2013, which prompted white-box players to adopt MediaTek’s solutions.
Digitimes Research estimates that tablets with phone functions will account for 40% of 7-inch white-box tablet shipments in 2014, up from 20% in 2013.
In 2014, smartphones are expected to continue penetrating rapidly into emerging markets such as Russia, India, Indonesia and Latin America, while China’s smartphone shipments will see weakened on-year growth in the year, but still enormous volume. Within the top-10 smartphone vendors in 2013, four of them are from China and in 2014 more China-based vendors are expected to enter the top 10.
Three China-based handset vendors increase component deliveries [DIGITIMES, Dec 11, 2014]
China-based handset vendors Xiaomi Technology, Gionee and Hisense have been taking increasing deliveries of panels and touch panels from suppliers in preparation for launching new models during the peak period before the 2014 Lunar New Year at the end of January, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.
Other China-based vendors including Lenovo, Huawei Device and Oppo have begun to follow suit, the sources indicated.
Xiaomi has seen success in marketing its high-end Xiaomi 3, mid-range Xiaomi 2S and entry-level Hong-mi (Red Rice), the sources noted.
Gionee focuses on marketing high-end smartphones priced above CNY2,000 (US$328) through general retail chains without cooperation with China’s three mobile telecom carriers, the sources indicated. Gionee has shipped more than two million smartphones a quarter so far in 2013.
Hisense is among several licensed vendors of 4G smartphones and has launched the 5-inch X6T, its first 4G smartphone featuring TD-LTE, LTE-FDD, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA and GSM, on 12 frequency bands, the sources noted. Hisense has taken delivery of components for use in more than one million handsets to be launched before the 2014 Lunar New Year, the sources noted.
China market: Xiaomi lowers price for Hongmi smartphone [DIGITIMES, Jan 7, 2014]
China-based vendor Xiaomi Technology has reduced the retail price for its budget TD-SCDMA smartphone, the Hongmi, launched in August 2013, from CNY799 (US$132) to CNY699, heralding upcoming competition in the Android smartphone segment in China, according to industry watchers.
Rival vendor Huawei is likely to counteract by slashing the prices of its Honor-branded budget smartphones, while other local brands in China are also expected to follow suit soon, said the observers.
Optimizing its policy of offering smartphones with high hardware specifications and yet at low prices, Xiaomi has managed to ramp up its shipments to over three million units a month and is expected to ship over 40 million smartphones in 2014, the sources estimated. [According to Xiaomi: “7.2 million devices … in 2012 and 18.7 million …bought in 2013. … for 2014 – the CEO expects forty million Xiamoi smartphones to be bought”]
Asustek expected to ship 2014 target of 5 million smartphones [DIGITIMES, Jan 7, 2014]
Asustek Computer unveiled three ZenFone-series smartphones for the opening of CES 2013. Viewing that ZenFone models have comparatively high price-performance ratios, Asustek will be able to hit its target shipments of five million smartphones for 2014, and is likely to ship 8-10 million units, according to market analysts.
The three ZenFone models will initially launch in the Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia markets in March at contract-free retail prices of US$99 for the 4-inch model, US$149 for the 5-inch, and US$199 for the 6-inch.
All three models are equipped with Intel Atom processors and Asustek will launch 3-4 models also with Atom processors in the second half of 2014, the sources indicated.
Since Intel has offered incentives to attract PC vendors to adopt its platforms for smartphones, Asustek is expected to procure Atom processors at discount prices and receive subsidies from Intel for marketing the devices, the sources said.
Asustek likely to release smartphone orders to China ODMs in 2H14, says paper [DIGITIMES, Jan 15, 2014]
Asustek Computer does not rule out the possibility of tying up with handset ODMs in China for the production of smartphones in the second half of 2014, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) has quoted company CEO Jerry Shen as saying.
After unveiling five new models at the recently concluded CES 2014, Asustek plans to launch another five smartphones in the second half of the year, and therefore it needs more ODMs to support production, Shen was quoted as indicating.
The three ZenFone-series smartphones out of the five models unveiled by Asustek at CES 2014, with displays sized in 4-, 5-, and 6-inch, will be available for US$99, US$149 and US$199 unlocked, respectively, and are designed to take on China-based rivals in the entry-level smartphone segment.
The possible switch of orders to China-based ODMs may affect its current production partners in Taiwan, including Wistron and Pegatron, said the paper.
Digitimes Research: Asustek ZenFone smartphones have lower price-performance ratios than comparable models from China [Jan 17, 2014]
Asustek Computer unveiled three ZenFone-series smartphones at CES 2014 and will initially launch the models in the Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia markets in March with prices comparable to low-cost models offered by China-based Xiaomi Technology and Huawei. But the price-performance ratios of the ZenFones will be still lower than rival models from China-based vendors due to the use of different marketing channels, according to Digitimes Research.
China-based vendors such as Huawei and Coolpad have been duplicating the business model initiated by Xiaomi by introducing entry-level models with higher hardware specifications and marketing the gadgets mainly through the Internet.
Leveraging subsidies offered by telecom operators, Asustek has been able to lower prices for its ZenFone models to levels comparable to those offered by Xiaomi, Huawei and Coolpad, but the price-performance ratios are lower than of the Hongmi smartphone from Xiaomi, the Honor 3C from Huawei and the Great God F1 from Coolpad, due to markup costs added by channel operators in China selling the ZenFones.
Due to the lower price-performance ratios, Asustek’s goal of shipping over five million smartphones in 2014 through a low-pricing model remains hard to achieve, commented Digitimes Research.
This article is an excerpt from a Chinese-language Digitimes Research report. Click here if you are interested in receiving more information about the content and price of a translated version of the full report.
Total: ~289+ million
More information (going back to end of July 2013) which is directly related to the possible changes on the 2014 markets in terms of 2014 will be the last year of “free ride” in the smartphone and tablet spaces for ARM-based competitors of Intel – at least what Intel is insisting again [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 17, 2014]:
Nokia should introduce an Android forked smartphone for the $75-120 range in order to enhance its Asha Software Platform strategy [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 17, 2014]
China market: Acer launches CNY599 7-inch tablet [DIGITIMES, Jan 17, 2014]
Microsoft to open Allwinner entry into Windows RT, for the production of 900 yuan (US$149) level Windows RT tablet [‘USD 99 Allwinner’, Jan 16, 2014]
The first wave of computational photography capabilities from Qualcomm for its new Snapdragon 805 SoCs [‘USD 99 Allwinner’, Jan 4, 2014]
The Cortex-A53 as the Cortex-A7 replacement core is succeeding as a sweet-spot IP for various 64-bit high-volume market SoCs to be delivered from H2 CY14 on [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Dec 23, 2013]
MediaTek MT6592-based True Octa-core superphones are on the market to beat Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-based ones [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Dec 22, 2013]
The future is here: Yes, it is Microsoft Surface 2 with modern apps only! (And ARM, not x86/x64!) [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 17, 2013]
Q3’13 smartphone and overall mobile phone markets: Android smartphones surpassed 80% of the market, with Samsung increasing its share to 32.1% against Apple’s 12.1% only; while Nokia achieved a strong niche market position both in “proper” (Lumia) and “de facto” (Asha Touch) smartphones [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 14, 2013]
The first multimode Android tablets and laptops from Lenovo [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 14, 2013]
Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die! [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 7, 2013]
Why Intel is pressed to go as far down as to $99 with its Android tablet prices (but not with Windows 8.1)? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 16, 2013]
Dell’s all Intel tablets and laptops targeting the evolving mobile workforce even with their most consumer specific Android tablets [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 3, 2013]
Amazon’s move into overall leadership: Kindle Fire HDX with Snapdragon 800, “revolutionary on-device tech support” (Mayday), enterprise and productivity capable Fire OS 3.0 forked from Android 4.2.2 etc. PLUS a significantly enhanced, new Kindle Fire HD for a much lower, $139 price [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 27, 2013]
2nd generation Microsoft Surface family of productivity tablets priced upto $2420 (when for an All-in-One configuration) [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 24, 2013]
The long awaited Windows 8.1 breakthrough opportunity with the new Intel “Bay Trail-T”, “Bay Trail-M” and “Bay Trail-D” SoCs? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 14, 2013]
The new Air Command S Pen User Experience making the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet, and Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition tablet next-generation devices [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013]
Companion Device Computing as envisaged and implemented by Pranav Mistry and his TTT team from Samsung: the case of Galaxy Gear + Galaxy Note 3 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013]
Xiaomi announcements: from Mi3 to Xiaomi TV [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 3, 2013]
Assesment of the Xiaomi phenomenon before the global storm is starting on Sept 5 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 30, 2013]
Android to overtake the overall PC market? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 20, 2013]
Google Play catchup with iOS App Store and its way of assuring compatibility across Android 1.6 to 4.3 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 15, 2013]
Superphones turning point: segment satured with Tier 1 globals while the Chinese locals are at less than 40% of the Samsung price [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 3, 2013]
Xiaomi, OPPO and Meizu–top Chinese brands of smartphone innovation [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 1, 2013]
GiONEE (金立), the emerging global competitor on the smartphone market [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 22, 2013, Jan 17, 2014]
[‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 22-29, 2013; Jan 27, 2014]
2014 will be the last year of “free ride” in the smartphone and tablet spaces for ARM-based competitors of Intel – at least what Intel is insisting again
With 2013 performance of only 10 million tablet chip sets (for Windows mostly) Intel is still confident in its ability to deliver 40 million of those (with increased Android portion) in 2014. To achieve this they will be doing a lot of enabling across the industry to take the Bay Trail-based tablet BOM cost down to an equivalent level. They expect that the company’s overall margin will be hit just by 1.5% because of this required in 2014 effort. They are saying that Intel will be safe from 2015 on as moving to 14nm process technology with next-generation (even in terms of micro-architecture) Broxton and SOFIA SoCs for tablet and smartphone devices. They are basing this statement on their inherent “transistor density” advantage against TSMC from that point in time on, despite some analysts’ opinion of the economy of scale advantage of TSMC in terms of the number of wafers produced.
With media generally reporting that Acer’s biggest mistake was its too early and too heavy bet on ultrabooks it is clear that OEMs will take a very cautious approach with Intel’s efforts to decrease the Bay-Trail based tablet costs down on the BOM level, as it is exactly what happened with ultrabooks. Instead the will try to solidify their tablet market position with ARM-based tablets in all segments of the tablet market, from the lowest cost upto the premium. Moreover, Jason Chen’s appointment to the CEO position of Acer is also showing that even for ongoing efforts OEMs need a very detailed and deep understanding of the SoC manufacturing and even the process technologies. Take note of Jason Chen’s history of employment in order to understand that:
- TSMC: 2005-2013
- Intel: 1991-2005
- IBM: 1991-1998
In other regards we only know that Acer to start new operation strategy in April to focus on BYOC (Build Your Own Cloud) [DIGITIMES, Jan 13, 2014] and that “In the future, all of Acer’s businesses including desktop, notebook and tablet will involve the BYOC platform and it is hoping to strengthen its product lines through the services.” It will be interesting to watch what that means as my previous conclusion was Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die! [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 7, 2013].
Now back to the Intel related information in terms of details in their earnings call. Note before that the correlation of Intel and Microsoft stock prices (as well that the stock market was absolutely not happy with Intel results and especially with the “flat 2014” outlook):
The company’s stance for 2014 is indeed not rosy as Intel to reduce global workforce by five percent in 2014 [Reuters, Jan 17, 2014].
From: Intel’s CEO Discusses Q4 2013 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Jan 16, 2014]
Inserted slides are from Investor Meeting – Stacy Smith (CFO) [Nov 21, 2013] while the acompanying text is from Intel Shares Mobile Progress, Priorities and Product Pipeline at Annual Investor Day [Technology@Intel, Nov 25, 2013] if reference is not put underneath
[On transistor density and wafer cost]
Mark Lipacis – Jefferies
Thanks for taking my question. At the Analyst Day, you addressed your view on transistor density and your expectation for leadership on that vector, but I have to say this discussing that idea with investors is a consensus view that seems to be that Intel has an inherent wafer cost disadvantage that relative to TSMC that neutralizes or more than neutralizes your transistor density advantage and the argument is that TSMC ships more wafers and therefore has more better purchasing power than you and its lower labor cost, so net-net, they have just a big huge advantage of wafer cost that you should have a hard to, too hard of a time to overcome. So my question is do you think that’s a fair view. Can you help us talk to the relative elements of the wafer cost and how you think you can compare? Any kind of help that you give us on the cost dimension would be extremely helpful. Thank you.
From: CES: Process Will Still Win in Mobile, Says Intel’s Eul [Barrons.com, Jan 9, 2014]
Eul points out that Qualcomm, and other competitors such as Nvidia (NVDA) and Broadcom (BRCM), all of whom are dependent on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to actually make the chips they design, will run into a problem as Taiwan Semi’s technology stops scaling.
Intel had made the point at the analyst day presentation, and Eul repeated it: As TSMC moves from 28 nanometer to 20 nanometer, it will run into a problem at the subsequent step, 16 nanometer, where TSMC will not add any real reduction in transistor size. That, says Eul, means that 16-nanometer parts a few years from now will be stuck at a 20-nanometer feature size while intel presumably zooms ahead to 10 nanometer by that time.
And what that means is that, unable to scale the density of a chip as Intel can, Qualcomm and Nvidia and Broadcom and the others will not be able to integrate as many parts as Intel on a single semiconductor die.
And so to those who point out that Intel hasn’t yet released its integrated baseband chip, Sofia, mentioned above, Eul contends the company will have the last laugh in a few years’ time as Qualcomm and the rest hitting a scaling wall.
Brian Krzanich – Chief Executive Officer
You know I think the first thing to remember is that what really counts in all of this is transistor cost and what we really talk about in our Moore’s Law of Curves and when we talk about transistor density is driving a consistent cost reduction of the transistors and so wafer cost is one segment of that. I’m not going to comment on you know TSMC’s wafer cost versus our wafer cost but we feel confident that our relative level of scaling and our internal wafer cost are such that we believe we have a leadership position in transistor cost.
When you’re talking about any product whatever it is, a logic product that’s a low-end microprocessor for wearable or internet of things or high-end Xeon server. You’re talking about the number of case and hence the number of transistors required to put that logic device together, it doesn’t matter whose technology it’s on to some extent. It doesn’t matter what node and so the more cost effective those transistors are whether it’s 500 million or 3 billion the lower the product cost there is and that’s really what we focus on and why we focus on transistor cost. So I think we stand by our what we said at the investor meeting.
Brian Krzanich: Our disclosure in November of a new smartphone and tablet road map that will include SoFIA our first IA SSD with integrated comps later this year is further evident that we’re innovating and bringing products to market at faster pace. Looking ahead 2014 will be an exciting year as we build further on this new foundation. We have established a goal to grow our tablet volumes to more than 40 million units. Within an emphasis on the value segment. As we’re finishing 2013 with more than 10 million units and a strong book of design wins we’re off to a good start.
Stacy Smith: In the tablet market, we launched the Bay Trail SoC and have started to expand our footprint and market signature in this growing market.
The 4X Tablet Campaign: This year, Intel increased its focus on tablets with key design wins and the introduction of Bay Trail. Next year, Intel plans to increase tablet volumes by 4X! Eul signaled a rich pipeline of tablet and phablet design wins for Bay Trail including Android and Windows devices spanning price points from premium to sub $99 products from leading OEMs and the China tech ecosystem. He also said industry leading performance, competitive battery life, cost-reduced SOCs and unique features like 64 bit will help drive growth. Intel gave a first-time demo of the performance gains achieved with a 64 bit Bay Trail system running Windows and showed a 64 bit kernel running on an Android tablet.
Note the details about the 2014 tablet market of ~289+ million units in the 2014 will be the last year of making sufficient changes for Microsoft’s smartphone and tablet strategies, and those changes should be radical if the company wants to suceed with its devices and services strategy [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 17, 2014] post of mine. The 40 million target of Intel is therefore less than 14% of that.
[regarding: So on the tablet strategy to get the 40 million you’re saying it’s going to be a 1.5 percentage hit.
Gross Margin Reconciliation: 2013 to 2014 Outlook (59.8% to 60% +/- a few points)
– 1.5 points: Tablet impact
Let’s say you guys get into the second half of the year and you’re not quite to the 40 million if it’s a pretty significant short fall. Would you consider canning that strategy I guess I’m just wondering what the commitment is if the volumes aren’t there but the cost is there by the end of the year?]
Brian Krzanich: This isn’t a price reduction as normal price reduction would be; it’s not where you are just simply reducing. It’s truly a BOM cost equalizer and remember a lot of our 40 million tablets in ’14 will be based on Bay Trail. Bay Trail was originally designed for Avoton-based PC segments and the upper end tablet [and all Windows]. And so it’s what we are doing here is doing a BOM cast delta relative to the, what the mid and lower end tablets require. And so those are things like Bay Trail may require more layers of a printed circuit board for the board itself, more components on the board and tighter power management controls and things like that. We have a whole program to reduce those throughout the year. So that gives us confidence that as we go through the year, the BOM cast delta will shrink, but if the volume didn’t show up for some reason and I am not going to say that, that’s what’s going to happen, but I am confident it will, but if it didn’t it’s on a per unit basis. And so the spending on that contra would be reduced equivalently.
Stacy Smith: And I would just add as Brian said we are doing a lot of enabling across the industry to take the BOM cast out in equivalent. These are costs at the system level not at our chip level and it will vary a lot by SKU, but to give you a sense for a Bay Trail platform from the beginning of the year to the end of the year we think that, that BOM penalty drops by more than half. And so it kind of gets better out in time. And then when we get to the Broxton generation we think it’s de minimis.
Brian Krzanich: Both Broxton and SoFIA are just specifically designed to eliminate that delta.
Say “hello” to SoFIA: By the end of 2014, Intel will deliver a new integrated Atom processor + communications solution for entry and value smartphones and tablets, code-named SoFIA. In his presentation, Eul highlighted that Intel’s Infineon wireless assets make the company an “incumbent” in the mobile phone market, shipping more than 360M mobile platforms a year spanning 2G and 3G solutions. He said SoFIA builds on the proven 3G communications platform to deliver a competitive and highly integrated, IA-based mobile solution aimed at the fast-growing market for entry smartphones and tablets. The 3G version of SoFIA is expected by the end of 2014, and Eul said an LTE version would follow in the first half of 2015.
Accelerated Mobile Roadmap: While specific product details will be saved for a later date, Eul signaled a robust pipeline of new Atom processors and multi-comms solutions for 2014 and beyond to address devices spanning market segments from entry to performance smartphones and tablets, an approach he called “market-oriented pragmatism.” In addition to SoFIA, Eul noted:
Broxton – in 2015 Intel plans to deliver a 14nm, 64 bit SOC based on a new, next generation Atom architecture (Goldmont) targeted for hero devices. Broxton is being designed for pairing with Intel’s next generation LTE solutions.
[regarding: If we look at tablets and smartphone, what type of units do you need to reach for that business to stop having a material impact in gross margin from is 10 points higher utilization rates and excluding the contra revenue impact and that’s it? So just looking at the 40 million units target for this year, what type of volume do you need to get in order for gross margin to start appreciating from the west of the business if you exclude the contra revenue impact?]
Brian Krzanich: Yes, it’s hard to say. I mean, I will bridge back to our strategy here. Our strategy is that we are going to use our process technology leads. We will have leadership products that also are competitive or maybe even leadership in terms of cost and I showed some data at the investor meeting that just kind of showed the die size as we progress from Bay Trail to Broxton to SoFIA and so you can get a sense of the kinds of cost structure that we are going to have on a per unit basis. I don’t think it causes on a percentage basis. Yes, I can’t – I am not envisioning if this causes the gross margin percentage to go up, but you can definitely get to a space once we get through these contra enabling dollars where every unit we sell is accretive on a gross margin dollars per unit. It’s utilizing factories that we have in place for PCs. And so it’s a nice adder of that gross margin dollar per unit standpoint.
[regarding: Bay Trail Android tablets]
Brian Krzanich: Most of the Bay Trail Android tablets really start showing up more in Q2 than in Q1 and that’s again purely you know remember we made a shift, an original program for Bay Trail was all Windows. As we came into the midpoint of the year we sandbox [ph] shift and make it Windows and Android and so you know our OEM partners as well are targeting more towards Q2 and it’s just when you do you go and start putting back in that back to school event which is a next seasonal place where upside usually occur.
[regarding: On the smartphone or on tablet space, I think it is true that Intel has a manufacturing lead, but do you think your cost reduction efforts and then the Moore’s Law advantages ever progressed faster than the ASP declines in the space. In other words, do you think Intel can be sustainably profitable in the mobile space which is maturing?]
Brian Krzanich: Yes, we absolutely do. You saw at the investor meeting products like SoFIA, which really are going to be put on to 14-nanometer are fully integrated all the way through with the 3G option or an LTE option and that LTE is with carrier aggregation. Those kinds of products we believe are very, very cost competitive in fact leading from a cost position. In addition, we don’t talk a lot about, but we are already in that low cost Asia market. We are inch and then we are working with ODMs there. That’s actually where a lot of the innovations coming out of for some of these cost reductions on tablets and where we are getting the cost reduction ideas. So we are in that market now. We sold out of that Shenzhen low cost market in Q4. We will continue through it – through 2014 and with products like SoFIA on leading edge technology, we are very comfortable that we can get into those very low price points.