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Shuttle staff declare that notebook market is dying

In a surprising U-turn, the folks on the Shuttle stand at Computex 2011, were sharing their views on the imminent death of the notebook market. KitGuru examines, extrapolates and exercises its right to disagree.

Back at the start of 2010, the world seemed like it was heading lock, stock and 2 smoking barrels toward a place which would be owned by net/notebooks.

In that environment David Chen, Shuttle’s CEO, gave an interview which laid out his vision for the future. A future in which Shuttle evolved into one of the world’s leading white-box manufacturers for laptops. He wanted Shuttle to take the lead in designing the key components necessary for laptops to follow desktops – with greater innovation for local system integrators and greater choice for consumers.

Unfortunately, around the same time as Mr Chen was sharing his vision – Steve Jobs was well and truly on his way to sharing a different view of tomorrow with the original iPad. The rest, as we say, is history.

At Computex 2011, we heard Shuttle folk talking up their PCs and tablets, but they were quite sure that the days of the traditional notebook are seriously numbered.

Opinion is one thing, but actual research is something else. Armed with a camera, we headed to the world famous Guang Hua Digital Plaza, to see what the public were interested in. The result was interesting.

Time after time, the tables with notebooks were empty - while the tablet stations were crowded

As you can see from our snapshot, display areas with laptops were deserted, which tablet sections were crowded.

That’s not all. Businesses rely on profits and there’s very little profit in selling hardware. Services and personalisation, however, are a different matter. Guang Hua is full of iPad-loving stores that will fit anti-glare screens, provide you with a protective backplate and a whole host of additional peripherals.

So what do the Shuttle folk think the future will look like?

Significantly more tablet-type PCs – eating directly into the laptop market – with a resurgence of ‘desktop type PCs’.

Data from IDC seems to back up the idea that Tower systems will be boosted from 2011 to 2012 – more on that later.

The message from Shuttle seems clear

KitGuru says: We can’t say that the laptop market will die, but the U-turn at Shuttle HQ gives you an idea of how different the world (post iPad) has become – in less than 2 years.

Comment below or in the KitGuru forum.

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  • Optix

    tablets. and more tablets. only one is really selling……. maybe companies should take the hint!

  • Daniel

    Laptops are only struggling at present because the market has totally stagnated and nothing interesting or useful is being offered. Just spent all this week choosing a new one and rediscovering that there’s nothing designed or packaged the way I want it, just the same offerings with different badges.

    Unimaginative people assumed tablets were dead till along the ipad, but if companies like Toshiba and Sony weren’t filled with mindless drones and had one decent creative thinker on their books it wouldn’t be like this. Only Asus seem to be pushing the envelope, but not very far. So tablets will rule for a while, then laptops will bounce back, but it will just take years as companies that think like dinosaurs slowly slowly realise the market is filled with gaps that nobody is plugging.

    Interestingly the camera business is going through the same thing, as mirrorless cameras replace DSLRS and compacts, but anyone with any nouse is screaming at the torpid pace of these Japanese behemoths with cultures of treacle like progression, crawling forward.

    The real problem across electronics is a lack of a access for forward thinking creatives, to the commissioning manufacturers. You can have the best idea in the world, but unless you’re already on their books, nobody’s going to make it. Market failure. Microsoft should be looking for the next thing, instead they want to make an ipad of their own. Fail fail fail…