NEW YORK — Judging by the steady stream of post-holiday accessory announcements, one would never know there had once been much talk of a declining PC market.
Indeed, Gartner announced last month that worldwide fourth-quarter PC shipments showed a 1 percent increase from the prior-year period, and the U.S. market alone witnessed its fastest growth in four years.
Noted Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, “The PC market is quietly stabilizing after the installed-base reduction driven by users diversifying their device portfolios. Installed-base PC displacement by tablets peaked in 2013 andF the first half of 2014. Now that tablets have mostly penetrated some key markets, consumer spending is slowly shifting back to PCs.”
The U.S. market showed the most growth for the period, totaling 18.1 million units in the fourth quarter. This is up 13.1 percent from the prior-year period and the fastest growth seen in the market in the last four years, according to Gartner.
“The fourth quarter of 2014 was the best holiday for PC sales in recent history,” said Kitagawa. “The primary driver was mobile PCs, including regular notebooks, thin and light notebooks and two-in-ones. … These results supports our assumption that consumer spending is returning to the PC as tablet penetration has reached the majority of the market.”
Accompanying this uptick in shipments was a wide variety of PC accessory product announcements this month, all designed to enhance the PC experience for both professionals and amateurs alike.
ZF Electronic Systems introduced the Cherry JD- 0400EU-2 wireless desktop keyboard and mouse set with AES 128-bit encryption for security-minded consumers.
The set, which uses 2.4GHz wireless technology, also comes with a USB charging cable for both the keyboard and the three-button mouse.
Other details include rechargeable NiMH batteries, SX key technology with a reported service life of 10 million keystrokes, and adjustable DPI resolution of 1,000 and 2,000 DPI.
Pricing had not been finalized at press time, but it's expected to be around $89.00, according to a company spokesman.
EPI debuted the Philips Moda 2, an IPS monitor that features a pair of built-in Bluetooth 7-watt speakers. The FullHD, LED-backlit display has Bluetooth and MHL connectivity for wireless streaming, SRS Wow HD audio technology, HDMI inputs, and an audio input for older devices. Users can also charge a mobile device via the MHL port.
In terms of design, the Moda 2 has a glossy cherry-black finish, 2.5mm-thick outer bezel, and an in-panel black matrix strip measuring 3.5mm.
It is available in 24-inch and 27-inch models for $219 and $319, respectively.
Macally rolled a host of new products for PCs and Macs last week, including the MD3N1 Mini Display Port adapter meant to hook up a Macbook to an external monitor, TV or projector. It features VGA, DVI and HDMI inputs, and is currently available for a $39.99 suggested retail.
The U3GBA USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet adapter is engineered to turn a USB port into an Ethernet port; it can be used with both PCs and Macs. The adapter will work both USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, and will supports Ethernet connection speeds at 10/100/1,000Mbps. It’s currently available with an anodized aluminum housing for a $29.99 suggested retail.
The U3HUBA, a four-port USB 3.0 hub, is designed to be compact and features a built-in cable for portability. The plug-and-play hub supports USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices. It too has an anodized aluminum housing and a $29.99 price tag.
Finally, the U3HUBGBA is both a USB hub and an Ethernet adapter. The device features three USB 3.0 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port. It supports both USB 3.0 and 2.0, as well as Ethernet connection speed at 10/100/1,000Mbps. It’s currently available for a $59.99 suggested retail.