Kirk Skaugen, GM of Intel's client computing group told the Intel Global Capital Summit that there are more than a billion PCs that are more than three years old and a third of a billion that are over five years old. People are coming back to the PC and refreshing their systems.
It used to be that people upgraded every two years or so, but in the last five years silicon has got so powerful that no one saw the need. The problem is that they still don’t and Skaugen hopes that two-in-one detachable-screen systems, will be a major growth driver.
Sales of two-in-one systems are up 150 per cent, he claimed, and are leading to people wanting to refresh their PCs up to 18 months earlier than they would have. Mini computers are another growth market.
Without the growth in two-in-ones, the laptop market in the US would have shown 4 per cent negative growth, Skaugen said. However the new forms created a one per cent growth. He thinks the new hardware that such systems are starting to carry, particularly 3D cameras are going to have people rushing back to laptops.
The big loser in all of this is going to be the tablet market. Intel had got the growth in tablets wrong, he said, and is now revising its forecasts.
"18 months ago many people thought that tablet sales were going to cross over PCs in 2014. Now we're sure they won't ever. Intel has taken a billion units out of our forecasts in the last year," he said.
That is just as well because Intel never made a sustainable dent into the tablet market, but it also fulfilled our predictions that the technology never solved any problems. It was still the same toy that Microsoft had been attempting to sell without success for years and they never had a use.