Intel has been struggling with a decline in the PC market for the last few years. The old upgrade cycle faded away, and buyers’ preferences shifted towards tablets and smartphones. However, Intel believes that PC sales will increase again soon due to new hardware and form factors.
Two-in-one to hasten the upgrade cycle
During Intel’s Global Capital Summit this week, Intel’s GM of the client computing group, Kirk Skaugen said that he honestly feels “this is a once in a decade moment,” adding “Today there are more than a billion PCs that are more than three years old and a third of a billion that are over five years old. People are swinging back to the PC and are refreshing their systems.”
There was a time when people upgraded their PCs every two years or so, but now people do not feel the need as devices have become more powerful in the last five years. But Skaugen believes the new form factors, especially the two-in-one detachable-screen systems will play a major role in driving the growth ahead
Skaugen claimed that the sale of two-in-one systems went up by 150%, and these devices are encouraging people to refresh their PCs up to 18 months earlier than they otherwise would have. Citing examples of Microsoft’s Surface Book and InFocus’ $99 Kangaroo PC, Intel executive said the new form factors – including mini-computers – are also inspiring companies to make use of laptops.
Skaugen said the U.S. laptop market would have shown a negative growth of 4%, if there was no growth in two-in-ones, but the new designs helped in bumping the growth rate up to 1%.
Intel sees new hardware to attract more users
The presence of new hardware in systems such as 3D cameras will also make users come back to laptops, the Intel exec said. Both HP and Lenovo will come up with laptops in the next few weeks that have 3D cameras built into the front. Intel wants to make them integral with the Windows 10 Hello biometric security system for which it is working with Microsoft.
Such a camera first scans the user’s face, and then it opens the operating system if there is a match. Intel hopes that the system will replace password logins for websites. It was relatively easy to fool the traditional facial recognition by just holding a picture of a face. Skaugen said the trick would fail with the new cameras that take a 270-degree scan of the user, and also have an IR component that makes sure there is a real human in view.