Tablets unable to replace notebooks, says Quanta chairman
Aaron Lee, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES [Monday 18 November 2013]

While global notebook sales in 2013 are expected to significantly decrease on year mainly due to fast growing demand for tablets, it is impossible for tablets to replace notebooks because notebooks are a tool used for work, Quanta Computer chairman Barry Lam said at a November 14 investors conference, adding that 2014 global notebook shipments will drop slightly on year.

Commenting on rumors that Samsung and Apple are considering large-size tablets, and Quanta would be the ODM for Apple’s large-size tablet, Quanta vice chairman CC Leung refused to talk about the company’s clients and only pointed out that if tablet display sizes become too large, prices will be similar to those of notebooks, reducing their appeal to consumers.

Leung also noted that Quanta’s notebook orders are mostly for 14- and 15-inch models, showing that consumers still prefer larger displays for work and browsing. However, the larger the display, the higher costs are, and touchscreen notebooks are also having similar issues because touch panels greatly increased costs, pushing consumers away.

As for wearable devices, Leung pointed out that many brand vendors are eager to try the new industry, but so far there is no killer application and most available products on the market are still expensive. Unless prices can drop to a more friendly level, they are unlikely to attract consumers.

TomTom, which is aggressively trying to enter the wearable device market is a client of Quanta, some market watchers pointed out.

Meanwhile, Compal Electronics president Ray Chen believes notebook shipments have a chance of reaching 40 million units in 2014, up 5% on year due to an expected PC replacement trend in the enterprise market.

Wistron and Inventec are both conservative about their notebook shipments in 2014 with Wistron expecting its volume to drop from 23-24 million units in 2013 to only 20 million in 2014.

Market watchers pointed out that notebook brand vendors are now adopting a strategy to accumulate their orders with only 1-2 ODM partners to save costs. Since ODMs with larger scales are able to provide better support and lower quotes, orders have started to accumulate with the top-two ODMs for 2014.

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