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Intel: The PC Isn't Dead; Hybrid Tablets Are The Future

Intel's Todd Garrigues said PC shipments for the first half of this year were up. But can new form factors and perceptual computing continue that upward trend?

Speaking at UBM Channel's XChange 2013 conference in Washington, D.C., Monday, Intel's North American Channel Manager Todd Garrigues told the audience that the PC is "not dead yet" and delivered some good news for solution providers selling desktops and notebooks.

"The North American channel in terms of [PC] shipments was actually up in the first half of this year," Garrigues said.

[Related: Intel PC Group Chief: 10-inch Tablet Will 'Rapidly Erode' ]

Garrigues also talked about the convergence of consumption devices like smartphones and tablets with creation and productivity devices like notebooks and desktops in a new category: two-in-ones, or hybrid tablet-notebooks. He showed off a few examples of such hybrid devices, including the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, a Windows 8 notebook with a detachable 11.6-inch display that serves as a standalone tablet.

Hybrids and convertibles will be a huge growth area, Garrigues said, because they combine the portability and ease of use of a tablet with the productivity features of a traditional PC. In fact, he predicted the tablet-notebook combination will become a dominant product category within the next year.

As for PC refresh opportunities, Garrigues said millions of older PCs, many of which are running Windows XP, are still being used today despite running on outdated technology. "Bottom line: There are 500 million PCs out there in the world that are four years or older," Garrigues said. "So there's a great opportunity."

Garrigues said new software and hardware advancements will help spur new PC purchases and help solution providers take advantage of the hardware refresh opportunity. For example, he said newest Core microprocessors, code-named "Haswell," offer a huge leap in battery life. He also talked about perceptual computing such as facial and voice recognition, and gesture and motion controls, and how these new features will help push new PC purchases.

"One piece of technology that I think everyone needs to pay attention to," he said, "is perceptual computing."


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