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Vendors High On All-In-One PCs

Notebooks may be the driving force behind the continued growth in the computer category, but the vendors refuse to quit on the desktop and have managed to infuse some life into the category with the wide introduction of all-in-one (AIO) models.

Hewlett-Packard, Gateway and Sony all made big splashes in 2007 with their AIO lines, and each is looking to move forward in 2008.

Gateway’s One line, which started shipping late last year, is being positioned by the company as a premium model geared toward the consumer looking to make a style statement, said Glenn Jystad, Gateway’s desktop products senior manager. The units are priced at $1,299, $1,599 and $1,799, but this can vary depending upon configuration. Gateway sees the One being versatile enough to be used just about anywhere in a home, giving it an edge over the traditional PC tower that tends to get stuck under a desk.

“Gateway hopes the U.S. market adopts the all-in-one. We believe it may take awhile, but it will grow,” Jystad said, adding that the AIO design will be pushed further down Gateway’s line to more affordable units, although he did not say when this was likely to happen.

Sony also anticipates growth for the category, said Mike Abrary, Sony’s Vaio product marketing VP, but this company sees the AIO entertainment capability overshadowing its computing power.

“We don’t envision this in a kitchen, but for a den or dorm room with the entire computer mounted on a wall,” Abrary said. “This really changes what you can do with a TV.”

Though not garnering the same level of interest as in the past, conventional tower PCs are still a mainstay for the category, primarily because they can be priced to attract the entry-level buyer. Their large size also allows these units to be packed with add-on features like extra optical drives and removable storage.

HP will focus on delivering very high-performance models with hybrid HD DVD/Blu-ray Disc drives, two removable hard drives and a unit using the upcoming AMD quad-core processor.