|Can the PC Market Ever Grow Again?|
One of the big questions we at Creative Strategies get asked about by all of the big PC and semiconductor companies who have much skin in the PC game is whether the PC market could ever grow again. If you look at the Gartner chart below, you see that starting in 2012; the PC industry has been in decline significantly. Since 2011, the PC market shrank by 32%, and while 2017 numbers are not in yet, we believe it was down to 3-4% last year. That is a huge drop in PC sales that has had a major impact on just about everyone in the PC ecosystem today.
For the last seven years, when asked about the PC market ever growing again, our answer was always no. But recently, we have seen some significant technology becoming more available that can be applied to PC’s that, at least for a few years, could reverse the negative decline in PC’s and cause millions of users to upgrade there PC’s even if they are only two years old.
At the heart of this new technology, push is Qualcomm’s “Connected PC” design that they launched in Maui last December. Touting a more powerful Snapdragon processor with a cellular radio built into the overall chip design, and making it always connected as well as powerful enough to run Windows 10S. Qualcomm and Microsoft hope to entice people to upgrade their PC’s faster using the “Connected PC” idea and promising them a better overall experience since their PC, like a smartphone, would always be connected.
However, as I pointed out in my Techpinions Column on Monday, our research shows that what people really want is longer battery life and this was the #1 requested feature in our recent survey on what features people want when they buy a new laptop. But interest in adding a cellular modem to their laptop came out at #6 in this survey.
The good news for Qualcomm and Microsoft is that the other part of the “Connected PC” program is Snapdragon’s ability to deliver long battery life in these new laptops. At the event, they stated that a “Connected PC” could deliver at least 22 hours of continuous use and sources tell me that QQ is working on more advanced processors that could give users closer to 30+ hours by early next year.