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MEA market sees steepest decline yet in PC sales

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The Middle East and Africa (MEA) PC market suffered a 28.7% year-on-year slump in shipments in the final quarter of 2015, according to the latest insights from global technology research and consulting firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

Shipments fell for the third consecutive quarter in Q4 2015, with the decline representing the steepest ever recorded in the region for a single quarter.

In a shift from earlier quarters in the year when the decline in desktop shipments was notably less pronounced than the decline in notebooks, this time round both product categories declined at a similar pace. Indeed, IDC’s Quarterly PC Tracker shows that desktop shipments declined 29.4% year on year in Q4 2015 to total 1.3 million units, with notebook shipments falling 28.2% over the same period to total 1.9 million units.

“Similar to the previous quarter, Turkey, the ‘Rest of the Middle East’ grouping (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Palestine), Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan experienced the sharpest declines within MEA,” says Fouad Charakla, senior research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. “The reasons for these declines varied from country to country, but included high levels political and economic instability and uncertainty, low oil prices, increasing security concerns, and volatile currency fluctuations, especially with the U.S. dollar becoming more expensive.”

Once again, the top three vendors remained unchanged in Q4 2015. The continued focus of these vendors on the commercial segment has contributed significantly to their ability to remain at the top of the rankings, since they combined to serve almost 70% of the region’s commercial PC demand during the quarter.

Overall, HP maintained the top spot in terms of market share, despite experiencing a fall of 27.4% year on year, while second-placed Lenovo suffered a decline of 29.9% on shipments. Dell, on the other hand, escaped with a mild decline of 8.7% year on year as the vendor had experienced a relatively slow quarter during the same period last year. Declining slightly slower than the overall market at 23.2% year on year, Asus overtook Acer to claim fourth position, while Acer experienced the fastest decline among the top vendors at 42.9% year on year. Similar to previous quarters, the local assembly of desktops continues to slow as a growing portion of end users opt for refurbished PCs, upgrades, or to prolong their refreshment cycle altogether as they increasingly shift their usage towards mobile phones and tablets.

“As market sentiment remains low, IDC expects to see a delay in the recovery of PC demand,” says Charakla. “Overall, 2016 will experience a further decline on 2015, as growth is only expected to occur in the second half of the year. A slightly stronger recovery is expected during 2017, after which the region will continue to experience a period of slow growth over the longer term. As the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets will continue to inhibit demand for PCs, vendors and channels across the region are expected to plan and order cautiously so as to avoid being left with high inventory levels.”

Similar to IDC’s previous forecasts, there will continue to be a gradual shift in the weight of demand from consumers to the commercial segment as a growing proportion of home users switch from PCs to tablets and smartphones while commercial end users maintain a greater loyalty to PCs. As a result, commercial demand for PCs in the region is expected to surpass that stemming from home users by the year 2017.

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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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