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PC的身份危机

PC的身份危机

Dan Mitchell 2013年03月06日
传统PC的身份界定正在变得越来越模糊。移动技术的发展和触屏的出现一天天地颠覆着个人电脑的传统概念。平板电脑、智能手机的兴起不仅极大的挤压了传统PC的生存空间,同时也改变了消费者对个人电脑的认知。

    不出意外,Canalys的报告引起了很大的关注,也引发了一场热议。《时代》周刊(Time )编辑哈里•麦克拉肯借机发起了投票,调查读者的想法。他还附上了自己的分析,认为一台设备如果符合下述条件,就可以称为PC:第一,它能运行应用程序;第二,它具备多种用途(而不是像游戏机这样的专用机器);第三,它适合个人使用。

    他接着做出了大胆的假设,说PC可以是“任何尺寸”,也就是说智能手机也可以算作PC的一种。但是这个假设扭曲了市场。原因很简单,那就是大多数智能手机用户同时也拥有PC或者平板电脑。同样,有些人买了PC之后也还是会买平板电脑,还有些人PC用旧了也不去换新的,而是去买平板电脑。我们还需要进行粒化分析(粒就是指一些个体通过不分明关系、相似关系、邻近关系或功能关系等所形成的块。这种处理信息的过程.称信息粒化。——译注),以了解平板电脑和手机究竟是以何种方式、在何种程度上挤占传统PC的市场,以及有多少人会购买这类设备来补充PC的局限。(苹果机当然也是PC的一种,除非有什么前提可以明确表明它们与Windows系统的机器有所不同。)

    自从Canalys的报告发布后,人们对PC的概念更加困惑了。一方面是因为不同的研究人员对市场的定义不同,另一方面是因为PC和平板电脑的区别在迅速缩小。这种概念上的含混不清使我们难以估测各种各样的市场趋势。美银美林(Bank of America Merrill Lynch)今年1月发布的搜索引擎使用报告只有唯一的一个数据来源,那就是(传统)PC,因为无法获取移动设备搜索引擎的参照数据。如果不把移动设备的数据算进去,就算得出结论,宣称今年1月四大搜索引擎——谷歌(Google)、必应(Bing)、雅虎(Yahoo)和Ask——的搜索数量同比增长了9%,又有什么意义呢?“不幸的是,我们没有移动设备的搜索数据,无法反映搜索数量增长的全景。”美银在注解中解释。于是,这份报告附带地提到了一个事实:据一些搜索引擎广告商估计,移动设备的搜索数量约占搜索总量的15%。

    有效区分PC和移动设备对于分析其他配套行业也很重要。移动设备的芯片市场和PC的芯片市场区别很大。晨星公司(Morningstar)这个月发布的一份报告表明,芯片制造商AMD最近之所以麻烦缠身,部分原因在于“平板电脑迅速普及”带来的困境。无独有偶,在PC台式机市场占据统治地位的英特尔(Intel),为了在移动设备的芯片市场做出一番业绩,也面临着日益沉重的压力。

    但是如果我们把这些错综复杂的要素一概剔除,纵观市场全局,那么市场的趋势就显而易见了:两年前,iPad问世。在此之前的五年时间里,传统PC和笔记本的年销量增长在5%和15%之间,具体的增长率取决于年份和数据来源。去年,传统PC和笔记本的销量下跌了5%,预计明年还会有类似幅度的下跌。2012年全年的节假旺季,尽管经济在复苏,PC的销量依然同比下跌了6%到10%(具体跌幅还是取决于大家各自采信的数据来源)。同一时期,平板电脑的销量暴涨了60%到80%。很多人开始购买平板电脑,而对传统PC弃之不顾。

    这个趋势还会继续下去。接下来的几个月,更强大的滑盖式、翻转式平板电脑将陆续上市。显然,不出几年,平板电脑和PC之间的区别将变得微乎其微,至少在消费者的眼中是如此。当然,传统PC也还是会有市场,因为人们需要用它完成特定的计算任务。(财富中文网)

    译者:Nasca

 

    Not surprisingly, the Canalys report got lots of attention and stirred much debate. Harry McCracken of Time magazine took the opportunity to poll his readers to find out what they thought. He added his own analysis and decided that a device is a PC if it meets the following criteria: It run apps; it is general-purpose (and not meant for singular uses, like a game console); it is meant to be used by one person at a time.

    He then took a leap and said a PC can be "any size," meaning smartphones can count. But that assumption distorts the market for the simple reason that most people who own smartphones also own a PC or a tablet. Similarly, there are those who buy a tablet in addition to a PC, and others who buy them instead of a new PC. Granular analyses are needed to get a full handle on how and to what degree both tablets and phones are supplanting what most people think of as traditional PCs, and to what degree such devices are purchased as supplements to PCs. (Macs of course are included in the definition of PC, unless it's clear from context that they're being differentiated from machines running Windows.)

    Since the Canalys report was issued, the confusion has only deepened both because researchers define the market differently and because the gulf between PCs and tablets is quickly narrowing. That confusion sometimes makes it hard to measure various market trends. A Bank of America Merrill Lynch report on search-engine use in January had to rely on numbers solely from (traditional) PCs because comparable data on mobile searches wasn't available. Is it even meaningful to note that searches on the four major search services -- Google (GOOG), Bing (MSFT), Yahoo (YHOO), and Ask -- rose by 9% in January from the previous year, when mobile data isn't included? "Unfortunately we do not have mobile query data to see the full picture for query growth," BofA's note read. So the report threw in the fact that some search advertisers estimated that mobile searches made up about 15% of the total.

    The distinction between PCs and mobile devices remains important for analyzing other allied industries as well. The market for chips that run mobile devices is quite different from the market for chips that run PCs. A Morningstar report this month noted that chipmaker AMD's (AMD) recent troubles are in part due to the "headwinds" it faces thanks to "rapid tablet adoption." Meanwhile, Intel (INTC), which is dominant in desktop PCs, is coming under increasing pressure to show results in its mobile chip sales.

    But when looking at the market as a whole, sans all these complicating factors, the trend is clear: Over the five years leading up to the release of the iPad two years ago, sales of traditional PCs and laptops grew anywhere between 5% and 15% a year, depending on the year and data source. Last year, sales declined about 5%, and a similar decline is forecast for next year. Over the 2012 holiday gift season, PC sales declined by between 6% and 10% over the previous year (again, depending on whose data you believe), even as the economy was recovering. Tablet sales leaped by between 60% and 80% during the season. Lots of people are buying tablets and forgoing traditional PCs.

    That trend will continue. Over the coming months, more-powerful hybrid and convertible tablets will be coming on the market, and it seems clear that in just a few years time the differences between tablets and PCs will be negligible, at least from a consumer's point of view, though there will still be a market for traditional PCs for certain computing tasks.

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