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2-in-1 computers rise

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The Middle East and Africa (MEA) tablet market (which includes 2-in-1 devices) posted a flat growth of 0.3% year on year in Q2 2015, according to the latest figures released by International Data Corporation, with a total of 4.05 million units being shipped in Q2 2015.

Tablets grew 0.1% year on year to total 4 million units. The 2-in-1 market grew 17.6% over the same period to make up the remaining 50,000 units. For the first half of the year, the overall market shrunk 3.2% year on year, which compares unfavourably to the 59.6% year-on-year growth recorded in the corresponding period of 2014.

“The tablet market, which is nearing saturation point in many countries, is being cannibalized by the emergence of smartphones boasting large screen sizes,” says Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC. “The market share of large-screen smartphones is increasing, and the launch of the iPhone 6 plus has only served to spur the trend toward bigger screen sizes in this space.”

Other factors have also contributed to the market’s slowdown. “With crude oil prices at a six-year low, there has been a reduction in government spending, particularly in oil-dependent countries,” says Fouad Rafiq Charakla, program manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC. “This has curtailed government-driven initiatives in several countries across the MEA region, and contractions in the public sector contraction typically have a ripple effect on consumer sentiment, which is also being impacted by currency fluctuations and political insurgencies in some parts of the region.”

In terms of vendor rankings, Samsung continued to lead the tablet market in Q2 2015 with 28.0% market share and a 31.3% increase in shipments year on year. Lenovo placed second with 13.2% market share and year-on-year growth of 27.0%. And despite suffering a 27.3% year-on-year drop in shipments, Apple maintained its third-place ranking with a market share of 11.2%.

The MEA tablet market is expected to post more buoyant year-on-year growth of 6.6% in Q3 2015. IDC forecasts that a total of 16.84 million units will be shipped in 2015 as a whole, equating to a year-on-year growth rate of 0.8%. The Android operating system will witness healthy growth, but will continue to lose share to the iOS and Windows operating systems.

“The growth of Windows will be spurred by greater adoption of tablets and 2-in-1 devices in the commercial segment,” says Dogra. “Businesses will find it easier to incorporate Windows into their existing IT infrastructures and corporate cultures rather than introduce a new OS hub just for tablets, thereby enabling them to run the same OS on both PCs and tablets. We also expect the share of 2-in-1 devices in this market to grow from around 1.2% currently to 3.3% by the end of 2016.”

The education sector will be pivotal to the growth of this form factor. “We are seeing a steady increase in the adoption of 2-in-1 devices in this sector, primarily as a result of government-driven initiatives,” says Charakla. “Education remains a key focus for governments in the region, and the reductions we have seen in budgets have typically not hampered government spending on the sector. For example, Kuwait and Pakistan are expected to see a combined total of 175,000 2-in-1 shipments flood into their education sectors during the second half of 2015.”

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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