Gartner: Windows 8 failed to kick-start PC market

Research firm Gartner says that an estimated drop of 4.9 percent in worldwide PC sales over the fourth quarter has signalled a shift in the market.

In Q4, PC shipments worldwide fell by an estimated 4.9 percent, according to the research firm. A total of 90.3 million units were sold, but a shift in both consumer habits and the fragile state of the economy played a part in making sure PC manufacturers had little to celebrate as their products were shunned in favor of tablets.

Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner said:

“Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by ‘cannibalizing’ PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs. This transformation was triggered by the availability of compelling low-cost tablets in 2012, and will continue until the installed base of PCs declines to accommodate tablets as the primary consumption device.”

Rather than asking for a new PC for Christmas, Gartner says that the plethora of cheap tablets made sure that they replaced PCs as the ‘must have’ gadget during the holiday season. Although there were a number of cheap notebooks on offer, this did little to excite the Christmas cheer for PC vendors.

However, it may not all be doom and gloom for PC makers. “On the positive side for vendors, the disenfranchised PCs are those with lighter configurations, which mean that we should see an increase in PC average selling prices (ASPs) as users replace machines used for richer applications, rather than for consumption,” Kitagawa said.

Many of us waited to see if Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8, would have any major impact on PC sales. Gartner says that Windows 8 failed to revitalize the PC market in Q4, mainly due to “lackluster form factors” in PC vendor offerings and a “lack of excitement” which is found in the touch element of tablets.

The research firm also says that HP managed to climb back up to secure the top spot in worldwide PC shipments against rival Chinese firm Lenovo. However, Hewlett-Packard’s shipment rate did not change compared to a year ago, whereas Lenovo did experience the best growth rate among the top five PC vendors. Dell came in third place — although its sales fell by 21 percent year-on-year — whereas Acer came in fourth with a drop of 11 percent in PC shipments.

gartner pc sales estimates q4 2012

Over 2012, PC shipments reached 352.7 million units, which Gartner says is a 3.5 percent decline based on figures from 2011. HP still retains the top spot overall with a 16 percent marketshare and Lenovo is second with 14.8 percent. However, Asus has shown the highest rate of growth with shipments increasing 17.1 percent.

gartner pc sales estimates q4 2012
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Pac-Man Championship Edition DX surfaces on Windows 8

Originally due in November, the Windows 8 and Windows RT version of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX are available now. Being compatible with both Windows 8 and Windows RT, you don’t have to try to remember exactly which Surface tablet you bought; it’ll work on any of them.

Pricing on the Windows 8 version is consistent with the XBLA and PSN versions, at $9.99/8.49€. We assume the ghost count is also consistent, at so many ghosts.

VPN access under Windows 8 just got easier

Windows 8 developers that need to support VPN access will find NCP’s new version of its VPN client has some useful bells and whistles.

German firm NCP Engineering has upgraded its VPN client to support Windows 8, and has added a host of features to make it easier for users to connect and stay connected across different networks.

The new version of NCP’s Secure Entry Client (Version 9.31) is available as a universal client for Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP and can connect to a wide range of VPN gateways, such as those from Juniper, Check Point, Cisco, NetGear and SonicWALL.

Version 9.31 includes a new Access Point Name (APN) management feature that eliminates the need for end users to configure the mobile access point from which they access the Internet.

Previously users who switched between mobile networks had to tweak these APN settings manually. Now NCP’s IPSec VPN software automatically prompts the driver to search for and configure the APN via the NetID of the SIM card.

The software also boasts “an intuitive graphical user interface that is simple enough for any end user to understand and control, and to allow for safe and secure connections to corporate networks with a single click – and without needing to worry about firewall settings, device compatibility, connection negotiation or policy requirements.”

NCP’s Secure Entry Client also includes a seamless roaming feature enabling it to automatically change between networks, eg LAN, WiFi and 3/4G, during a session and to dynamically redirect the VPN tunnel, without the user even noticing.

Its “Friendly Net Detection” feature automatically determines whether or not a network is secure and activates the appropriate firewall rules accordingly.

It also, according to NCP is very easy to use from both the user’s and the administrator’s perspective. A graphical, intuitive user interface provides information on all connection and security states and detailed log information makes for effective assistance from the help desk.

NCP says this high level of usability means less time spent on training, less documentation and fewer support calls. And an integrated budget manager guarantees cost transparency because a volume or time budget or the use of a specific provider can be set and monitored.

Android for desktops Vs Windows 8: Google to bring Android to PCs

Google is taking its android to PCs. Android for desktops Vs Windows 8 comparison may look out of place right now, but this is certain to happen thanks to increasing touch enabled PCs and laptops being launched every other day, saysAbdul Vahid V

Google Android is heading to desktops; no joke. It is going to happen in near future. At CES 2013, we have seen a couple of large smart monitors from ViewSonic with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Beyond that, Google is reportedly working to take Android to complete desktops PCs, notebooks and laptops. As per a Patently Apple report, Google has applied for a patent for taking its Linux-based free mobile OS to PCs.

“A recent patent filing by Google surprisingly indicates that they’re seriously eying the desktop and notebook markets for Android,” Patently Apple writes. The site further notes that it has received enough clues for Google’s work on Android for x86 projects. The company is also under process of considering a list of other Intel-Android linked projects. Arrival of Android on desktop will be a big challenge for Microsoft and its newest OS version the Windows 8.

Currently, Android dominates over Microsoft’s mobile and tablet software counterparts; the Windows Phone 8 for phones and Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro for tablets. But, in future, Android for desktop may lift critical threat to Windows 8. Indeed, recent reports and developments point light to this factor. Apart from ViewSonic’s two smart monitors with Android, many more products are expected for sooner release with Android OS.

ViewSonic Android Smart Monitors: The American tech maker stunned CES spectators with two amazing monitors. They are 22-inch ViewSonic VSD220 and 24-inch ViewSonic VSD240. They are up with incredible specs. The monitors run Android 4.0 ICS, the version which is being replaced with Android 4.1 or 4.2 Jelly Bean on mobile phones and tablets. The machines mount 1920×1080 pixel screens with dual touch and pinch-to-zoom capability like a mobile or tablet PC.

The ViewSonic monitors sport a couple of Full USB ports, one microUSB port, two 1.5-watt speakers and a 1.3MP front camera with 720p video recording facility. Amazingly, the PC compatible smart monitors also have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, 3.5mm headset jack and DC-in jack for power supply. That is, they are themselves two standalone high-tech PCs with Android, and as well they can be connected with PCs.

Asus All-In-One PCs with Windows 8 and Android: Asus first talked about its AIO with Windows 8 and Android at the Computex Taipei. Now it is again in the news with CES 2013. It is a massive 18.5-inch PC with separated processing units for Windows 8 and Google Android. It will mount an Intel Core i3 to i7 processor for Windows 8 and a quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor for Android. So it will be both a high-end Windows PC and a larger Android tablet, at the same time.

Android for PC Vs Windows 8
Android is a highly popular mobile OS platform. It has now taken over all its competitors including Apple’s iOS in mobile industry. The most peculiar thing with Android is that it is open-source software. Many people prefer Android on their handhelds as they wish to be a part of an open source project. Another great thing is that it is stunningly easier to handle Android interface. One more vital thing is that it allows third party app and product developers generously and free.

In all the above three significant areas, Microsoft Windows has some set of disturbing restrictions. See, first of all, it is not open source, but a closed platform. Secondly, it is not that easy to use Windows’ interface as you can do with Android. And finally Windows has too many restrictions in its approach to third party developers. The company still charges OEMs for the software and programs. All these things will bring bad results for Windows if Android comes to desktop market seriously.

Can we think of a time where Android will gain domination in PC market as well? Sure, we can’t tell, no. Because, it looks that there is a good chance for a platform like Android in PC market. The long-dominating Windows and Apple OS X may lose some important space once Android is active in the mobile industry.

PC shipments dropped in Q4 2012 despite Windows 8: Gartner

Holiday season shopping and the launch of Windows 8 was supposed to increase PC shipments but consumers preferred to buy tablets and smartphones instead. This has led to a 4.3 per cent fall in PC sales in the fourth quarter which has been confirmed by research firm, Gartner.

Worldwide PC shipments have taken a dip to 90.3 million units in the last quarter of 2013 which is due to the weak global economy and it also indicates that there has been a shift in consumer habits in the PC sector.

The launch of Windows 8 in October was supposed to be the elixir of life for the sector but consumers have already shifted towards tablets and smartphones with many launches of tablets and smartphones in the past year.

Gartner has said that Windows 8 has not had a significant impact on PC shipments in the quarter since its launch, partly because the initial Windows 8 devices lacked the excitement of the touch interface that is found in many tablets.

Boot UI Tuner Customizes Windows 8 Boot Menu Options

Windows: Windows 8 has a new boot loader with a graphic interface and options like troubleshooting problems. It’s harder now, though, to quickly get to advanced options or load a different OS (e.g., by pressing F8). Boot UI Tuner solves this problem, allowing you to configure your boot options and tweak the boot loader.

The small, portable utility enables you to very quickly and easily tweak Windows 8’s boot screen and options at startup. Just check off the ones you want—e.g., show advanced options like using safe mode or bring back the Windows 7-style boot loader. The changes will take effect when you restart.

You can also disable the Windows logo, loading circle, and messages, potentially speeding up your start time with this free utility.

Samsung Brings the Sexy to Windows 8 Touch Laptops

Samsung launched a varied selection of Windows 8 devices when Microsoft’s new operating system debuted in October, but its only touch-screen laptop was the Series 5 Ultrabook. Now it’s expanding its selection of touch laptops with the Series 7 Chronos and Series 7 Ultra PCs.

The Series 7 Ultra (above) is definitely the looker of the pair. A proper Ultrabook, the laptop has a 13.3-inch touch screen with full HD resolution: 1,920 x 1,080. The metallic exterior gives the notebook an eye-catching appearance — a bit similar to Asus’ beautiful Zenbooks. It’s not the thinnest or lightest touch laptop we’ve seen (that’s still the Acer Aspire S7), measuring 0.74 of an inch thick and weighing 3.6 pounds. If you can live without touch, a slightly thinner and lighter version is available.

Like most Ultrabooks, the Ultra ditches any hard disk for a solid-state drive, with up to 256GB of storage. The processor is an Intel Core i5 or i7, and it’s backed by AMD HD8570M graphics. It has three USB ports, but only one of them is USB 3.0. RAM is configurable to 16GB, and battery life is rated at eight hours.

Mobile warriors, take note: The Series 7 Ultra will be available with 4G LTE, although that will obviously garner an additional monthly charge for data.

The Chronos (below) is the big brother of the Series 7 line. It has a 15.6-inch screen (also full HD) and weighs a beefy 5.18 pounds. It sports a similar metallic design as the Ultra, although what’s inside is quite different: a hard disk, for starters, with storage up to 1TB. The processor is Core i7, with AMD Radeon HD 8870M Graphics with 2GB GDDR5 Graphic Memory.

Also on board: a technology called “RAMaccelerator” that’s said to speed up browsing and any apps you have running by up to 150%. Battery life is rated at 11 hours.

Samsung will have its new Windows 8 machines on display next week at CES — we’re looking forward to some hands-on time.

Samsung launched a varied selection of Windows 8 devices when Microsoft’s new operating system debuted in October, but its only touch-screen laptop was the Series 5 Ultrabook. Now it’s expanding its selection of touch laptops with the Series 7 Chronos and Series 7 Ultra PCs.

The Series 7 Ultra (above) is definitely the looker of the pair. A proper Ultrabook, the laptop has a 13.3-inch touch screen with full HD resolution: 1,920 x 1,080. The metallic exterior gives the notebook an eye-catching appearance — a bit similar to Asus’ beautiful Zenbooks. It’s not the thinnest or lightest touch laptop we’ve seen (that’s still the Acer Aspire S7), measuring 0.74 of an inch thick and weighing 3.6 pounds. If you can live without touch, a slightly thinner and lighter version is available.

Like most Ultrabooks, the Ultra ditches any hard disk for a solid-state drive, with up to 256GB of storage. The processor is an Intel Core i5 or i7, and it’s backed by AMD HD8570M graphics. It has three USB ports, but only one of them is USB 3.0. RAM is configurable to 16GB, and battery life is rated at eight hours.

SEE ALSO: How Samsung Is Making Windows 8 Less Scary

Mobile warriors, take note: The Series 7 Ultra will be available with 4G LTE, although that will obviously garner an additional monthly charge for data.

The Chronos (below) is the big brother of the Series 7 line. It has a 15.6-inch screen (also full HD) and weighs a beefy 5.18 pounds. It sports a similar metallic design as the Ultra, although what’s inside is quite different: a hard disk, for starters, with storage up to 1TB. The processor is Core i7, with AMD Radeon HD 8870M Graphics with 2GB GDDR5 Graphic Memory.

Also on board: a technology called “RAMaccelerator” that’s said to speed up browsing and any apps you have running by up to 150%. Battery life is rated at 11 hours.

Samsung will have its new Windows 8 machines on display next week at CES — we’re looking forward to some hands-on time.