Scheduling delays and weakened consumer demand for replacement notebooks are forcing leading notebook vendors – including Apple, Asustek Computer, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Lenovo, Samsung Electronics, Sony, and Toshiba – to reduce notebook shipments for 2014. According to DisplaySearch, the 2014 shipment estimate for the top-nine notebook vendors is 134 million, which is a decrease from the previously estimated 152 million units. It is likely that notebook shipments will decline again in 2014, as they did in 2013, the firm said.
“The declines in notebook shipments will have many effects on the notebook value chain in the coming year,” said Jeff Lin, value chain analyst for DisplaySearch. “We expect panel makers to shift 5G and 6G capacity from TFT LCD for notebook panels to oxide, LTPS, and other technologies. OEM and ODM businesses will face new challenges in the allocation of product development resources for Windows and Android. Also, as Samsung reduces notebook shipments, HP, Lenovo, and Asustek will fill the gap in the Europe market.”
Notebook manufacturers have reduced their 2014 shipment estimates as the market faces some challenges on both the supply and demand fronts. Intel’s ready-to-ship schedule for its Broadwell CPU, like the U-Processor line, has been delayed, which will push notebook ODM production demand from second-quarter 2014 to third-quarter 2014.
At the same time, the expected launch of a 12.9-inch iPad from Apple could trigger growth in larger tablet screen sizes, leading to even more competition for potential notebook buyers. In addition, wearable devices and other new concepts are expected to compete for consumer spending during the holiday season and beyond. Finally, the trend toward user-interface fusion and operating-system integration will offer a more seamless working platform between mobile devices and PCs, which would further extend mobile device advantages for businesses, DisplaySearch said.
In terms of product design, low-priced notebooks with screen sizes between 14- to 15.6-inch, which are expected to sell for US$299, will not be ready before June 2014. None of those models will include touch capabilities, so the touch penetration rate could be less than the 15% estimated for 2014. In addition, notebooks with the Duo OS concept, which were created by Intel and PC brands, have been cancelled because Microsoft and Google no longer support the concept.