All-in-ones, low-power PCs still niche

New PC form factors have yet to catch on among enterprises, says analyst, who adds that choosing the right vendor is instead a top priority for organizations.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor on

New PC market entrants all-in-one PC and consumer ultra-low voltage (CULV) notebooks are still considered niche in the enterprise segment. With little differentiation in features and functions, enterprises are more concerned about choosing the right vendor for their PC purchases, according to a Gartner analyst.

Lillian Tay, principal research analyst at the research firm, noted that all-in-one PCs and CULV notebooks have yet to catch on among businesses. While all-in-one systems did grow from a small base, this market segment is still considered niche in the enterprise space, Tay said in an e-mail interview with ZDNet Asia, adding that these PCs are usually purchased due to space constraint.

And even with the availability of CULV laptops, the analyst said enterprise PC buyers still prefer mainstream CPUs for the technology headroom.

Rex Lee, Southeast Asia regional sales director at Asus, said all-in-one PCs have "indeed been catching on" but its popularity varies by industry.

"We have seen enthusiastic response from the educational and government [sectors], typically from organizations that do not expect their employees to travel extensively or at all," Lee explained in an e-mail interview.

Ronnie Lee, country general manager at Lenovo Singapore, added that the "versatility, aesthetics and space-saving proposition" of all-in-one PCs appeal to its enterprise customers.

As for ultra-thin notebooks powered by CULV processors, Asus' Lee said growth in this segment is picking up among businesses that expect mobile computers to function without compromise.

Compared to CULV notebook, its predecessor--the netbook--was not designed specifically for corporate use. Lenovo's Lee said the newest processor technology is able to achieve a "much-needed balance" between performance and size, and this is appreciated by its enterprise customers.

For instance, he said the company's ultraportable product line comprising the ThinkPad X series, is able to support corporate operating systems such as Microsoft Windows 7 Professional.

In a May 2010 release, Gartner's research analyst Raphael Vasquez, noted that "increasingly competitive" CULV notebooks will impact the netbook segment.

Choosing right vendor most important
According to Tay, function- and feature-wise, there is little differentiation between different PC offerings so the major concern for enterprises looking to purchase PCs is vendor selection.

"Service and support options, as well as the ease of doing business, have become important factors in the process of selecting the right PC vendor to work with," she said. "Choosing the wrong vendor will result in delays and lost opportunities."

Apart from choosing the right vendor, organizations can also help optimize productivity and minimize cost by providing employees with the right form factor and correct user configurations, she added.

In a previous report, Gartner predicted that PC shipment in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow 20.3 percent in 2010 over the previous, with China accounting for 60 percent of overall shipments.

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