NEW YORK –
The all-in-one (AIO) PC is being credited with helping save the desktop computer category, but the devices may offer computer vendors a pathway to another category: the TV.
This would not be the first time a computer vendor tried to bully its way into the television category. Hewlett-Packard, Gateway and Dell all rolled out televisions over the last decade, only to eventually pull out of the category.
However, this time around the entry would be more in response to TV vendors introducing smart TVs, which offer the user a walled Internet experience via widgets supplied with the TV.
On the computer side of the equation, the situation is now much different.
Frank Chang, Acer’s Pan America director for desktops, said he would not be surprised if long-term the AIO starts directly competing in the smart-TV space. He pointed to larger screen sizes coming online, such as the 27-inch this year and larger models in 2013.
These changes tied to the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, which is designed for use on touchscreens, and the advent of gesture control could make the AIO into an even better smart TV.
David Daoud, IDC’s PC and green IT research director, said the AIO does have a chance to nudge out the dedicated TV in certain applications.
“Certainly there is room for AIOs to take away from TV, in places like say kitchens, bedrooms, etc. — a lot less in living rooms,” he said, adding that the AIO’s touchscreen gives them the advantage here.
In the living room, Daoud sees the situation reversed, with smart and Internetconnected TVs putting pressure on AIOs and desktop computers. Here even the limited web access will be enough for most consumers as they will have some Internet access and able to do activities like Google TV or Google docs via a web browser.
Daoud said PC vendors will have to figure out to maximize touch technology in the AIO for it to play in a living room setting, and he still is not certain how Windows 8 will play in the AIO touch space.
While this could happen down the road, right now smart TVs have not infringed upon PC sales, said Xavier Lauwaert, Hewlett- Packard’s manager, product marketing, worldwide desktops.
“Smart TVs are not selling well now mainly due to the limited web access,” he said.