Every quarter a handful of analysts release reports letting us know if shipments of devices like PCs, smartphones, tablets, and smart home devices are rising, falling, or flat. Sometimes this data gives us a good idea of current and future trends. This year, I’m not really so sure what it tells us.
With that in mind, IDC says PC shipments from January 1 through March 31 of this year were up a whopping 55-percent over the same period last year. But there are so many unusual factors that it’s hard to say what this means for the future.
A report from another firm, Canalys, also puts the year-over-year increase at 55-percent, while rival research firm Gartner says the increase was just 32-percent, but the two companies have different criteria for what does and does not count as a PC. Also, 32-percent would be huge in any other year.
Last year factories in China were shutting down during the first quarter as the pandemic began to affect daily life there. Since then the factories have opened up again, but demand for home computers has risen as students and workers have been looking for technology to work from home. Meanwhile chip shortages mean that while demand is high, supply is constrained. And COVID-19 is hardly in the rear view mirror yet, but with global vaccination efforts picking up people are starting to think about what the world will look like in a year or two… and nobody really knows whether work-from-home will become the new normal for folks who can, or if most will head back to the office.
All of which is to say… more PCs were shipped last quarter. But I don’t know how much that tells us about what to expect next year or even next quarter.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- PC Shipments Show Continued Strength in Q1 2021 Despite Component Shortages and Logistics Issues [IDC]
PC shipments in the first quarter of 2021 were up 55 percent from the same period in 2020. That’s partly due to increased demand, but also largely due to shortages at the start of last year caused by pandemic-related factory shutdowns. Canalys has a similar number, but Gartner puts it at “just” 32-percent.
- NVIDIA Announces CPU for Giant AI and High Performance Computing Workloads [NVIDIA]
NVIDIA says its new NVIDIA Grace data center CPU is an ARM-based processor that delivers “10x the performance of today’s fastest servers” on complex AI and high-performance computing workloads.
- Google Play Movies & TV app for some smart TV platforms shuts down in June [@liliputingnews]
Google is shutting down the Google Play Movies & TV apps for Roku, Samsung, LG, and Vizio smart TVs on June 15, but past purchases should be available in the YouTube apps for those platforms, and you can use Play credits with YouTube. Watchlists won’t transfer though.
- Apple Working on Combined TV Box, Speaker to Revive Home Efforts [Bloomberg]
Apple is allegedly developing a new device that combines the functions of an Apple TV media streamer, a HomePod smart speaker, and a camera for video conferencing. It’s unclear if it’ll ever be released though.
- Apple Facing Supply Shortage of Upcoming High-End iPad Displays [Bloomberg]
Another Bloomberg/Apple leak: The next-gen 12.9 inch iPad Pro may feature a MiniLED display which should be brighter and offer a higher contrast ratio. But due to manufacturing difficulties, it might be delayed and/or available in limited quantities at launch.
- ASUS Introduces Chrome Enterprise Devices for Modern-Day Businesses [Asus]
Asus launches Chrome Enterprise Devices with new enterprise versions of its Chromebook, Chromebook Flip, and Chromebox devices sporting Intel Core or AMD Ryzen chips plus enterprise software and support services (up to 3 years of support).
- Sony plots big PlayStation push into mobile gaming [EuroGamer]
It looks like Sony plans to bring “PlayStation’s most popular franchises” to mobile according to a new job listing. That could mean smartphone versions of titles like Uncharted, The Last of Us, God of War, and more, although it might take years to happen.
- Logitech Harmony universal remotes are being discontinued [TechHive]
Logitech is ending production of its Harmony universal remote controls. Some inventory may still be available for purchase for a while, and software and support will continue. But this is the beginning of the end for the once popular remotes.