Mobility surge

As consumers continue to drive the adoption of smartphones and tablets, the market for mobile computing solutions has never been better.

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Mobility surge Manish Punjabi, Regional Marketing Manager, MENA, AMD
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By  Manda Banda Published  July 20, 2013

Shadi Hijazi, marketing manager, Dell Middle East, said the mobile computing explosion has meant big changes for the PC industry, but the future of the computing industry is going to be hybrid involving all innovations in the field of mobility covering smartphones, notebooks, desktops, and tablets. Hijazi said that for decades PCs constituted almost the entirety of computing sales, but that’s obviously not the case anymore.

“The new distribution of personal computing sales to smartphones, tablets, notebooks and desktops will constitute a more accurate portrayal of their role in people’s personal and professional lives,” he said.

Hijazi said, contrary to talk of a “post-PC age” nearing, the growth of tablets and other mobile computing devices is exciting for the technology industry, but there is a robust and relevant market for desktop PCs and notebooks going forward. “Notebooks and desktops will not vanish from the market. That’s why we are still focusing some of our computing lineup on the Ultrabook class of mobile machines,” he said.

At chip maker, AMD, the company is optimistic the PC segment will make a comeback in the Middle East region.

Manish Punjabi, regional marketing manager, MENA at AMD, said far from talk of the PC’s demise, the company is expecting the PC category to make a resurgence.

“With our new APUs in the market, code-named ‘Richland’, ‘Kabini’ and ‘Temash’, consumers will see PC manufacturers bringing a variety of new form factors, features and price points,” he said.

Punjabi attributed the recent slowdown in the PC business to the slow performance of the global economy.

“Tablets have lengthened the replacement cycle of notebooks and consumers have delayed their purchases knowing that the launch of new APUs is around the corner,” he said.

Toshiba’s Varghese concurred and said what has slowed down the replacement cycle for PC products is the non-compelling change in technology and innovation in these products. However, Varghese said new technology including touch screen, gesture control and voice recognition will add more interest in the sales towards the PC segment.

“The channel should stay away from low price points-based sales and stop overstocking. Instead, resellers should focus on the new concept and offer value-added services. The business-to-business [B2B] segment will continue to fuel sales for PCs as replacement cycles are overdue for most corporate firms in the Middle East,” he noted.
Varghese said with low price points for the PC segment, margins will be strained across the chain hence the need for channel partners to look for value-added services rather than just box moving.

The best way to conceptualise the growth of the mobile computing market is to understand how modern PCs, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices are all intertwined as parts of the lifestyle of the modern computer user.

Dell’s Hijazi said there are specific roles in our lives that each type of machine fills best, and these roles are often complimentary.

“A typical consumer may want a tablet computer that can double as a desktop for when they are trying to be productive in multiple venues and modern technology can accommodate that. “Alternatively they may want computing power that can handle gaming and visual rendering at home and there are different technology offerings that are available to meet that need,” he said. Hijazi said the future of the computing market is going to be about having the right tools that are available for the job.

“When we can create multiple machines in one, then that makes for a versatile all-in-one offering. Regardless of how the breakdown of products falls, we can expect positive results from the computing market, a large part of it will come from mobile devices going forward,” he said.

Varghese added that low cost “unbranded tablets” will continue to impact the price points in the mobile computing products. “The low price of traditional notebooks against the mid- and high-end products of thin form factor devices and hybrid notebooks contributes to the confusion at end-user level,” he said.

“For power retailers in general, it also means they have to remain agile. To stay in business, they need to remain profitable and this means they need to cut the cord sooner when a particular retail location looks like it may not succeed. This is a lesson most in Europe and the US refused to acknowledge earlier, and if they had, many of them would still be in business today.”

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