SINGAPORE: Small and medium businesses (SMBs, companies with less than 1000 employees), across Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan (APAC), will spend $16 billion on non-desktop PCs in 2011, much higher than spending on desktop PCs.
Non-desktop PCs include laptops, netbooks and tablets. While tablets have attracted much media attention of late, the bulk of APAC SMB spending on non-desktop PCs is on laptops and netbooks.
These findings emerge from multi-year research by New York-based Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc. According to the latest results, APAC SMBs are expected to spend more than 96% of the US$16 billion on laptops and netbooks. Small-size touch-screen devices like Apple iPad, Dell Streak, HP Slate, RIM Playbook are classified as tablets. These tablets only account for less than 1 percent of the expected non-desktop PC spending in the APAC region.
“The PC industry is going through an exciting stage,” says Dr. Vu-Thanh Nguyen, Research Analyst in AMI-Partners’ Singapore office, “where consumer-oriented devices are filtering into enterprises and enterprise-focused players are creating devices to cater to consumer needs. Mobile phones are becoming more powerful and are being designed to mimic PCs and traditional PCs are becoming smaller to be more mobile.
“While tablets are useful for media consumption, entertainment, and communication, people will eventually realize that a small screen (say, less than 12 inches) is not really optimal for everyday work. For business purposes, we believe that many people will give priority to screen size, network connectivity, and portability. That’s why portable PCs – especially light-weight convertibles, hybrids, and large-screen slates – will continue to be the computer of choice for businesses compared to small-screen netbooks and tablets.”
In the long term, as more businesses turn to a virtualized desktop environment, cloud computing, and the software-as-a-service model, the need for powerful PC-like end-user devices may diminish over time. We may see larger adoption of convergent devices like Motorola Atrix 4G, a pocketsize smartphone which can connect to external monitors to run browsers and applications on larger screens. Even then, portable PCs with integrated large screens will still be important tools in many business environments.