AiO is all about experience and aesthetics!

By VARINDIA - 2010-02-16

AiO is all about experience and aesthetics!

With the changing trends in PC sales, dominated by notebook segment, the All-in-One (AiO) is widely seen as a niche market product. With the TV integration capabilities, it has much to offer. There was a time when AiO or 3-in-1-like terms were associated with printing devices. It comes with inbuilt CPU. Initiating the renaissance of AiO in India, HP introduced it into the market in 2007, but did not receive warm reception from the channel market. Until early this financial year 2009-10, there are no major rollouts. Now, we have Acer, BenQ, Dell, Lenovo and Viewsonic as the most aggressive and active players in the AiO PC category. Speaking on the trends, S. Rajendran, CMO of Acer India, says that the AiO market in India is still in its infancy and the numerous brands of AiOs at present are busy introducing different ranges in the same category.

AiOs vs Desktops
AiO is a sleek design or new form desktop. It occupies almost one-third of the space of a desktop. Confident about the opportunities in the Indian market, Sanjay Yadav, Country Head - Retail, Dell India, says, "We are seeing a growing trend amongst Indian consumers for sleek All-in-One desktops. Space efficient designs with best-in-class performance coupled with the ease of use are gaining popularity." 

This product creates interest for technology enthusiasts who are looking for performance, design and innovation, including new touch and non-touch applications. HP's new range of All-in-One PCs combine the monitor and CPU in a powerful, sleek and elegant desktop that adds style. Ketan Patel, Country Manager, Consumer Desktop PCs, HP India, says, "The All-in-One desktop market in India is growing at a feverish pace and has great potential in a growing market like India. Because of its exciting features, good looks and mobility options, consumers around the world have developed a liking for them, thereby making All-in-One PCs the latest rage."

As per the recent IDC report, by 2013 small form factor, All-in-Ones and ultra-small form- factor desktops will make up nearly 38 per cent of the overall desktop market. To this, Anand Subramaniam, 4P Integration Manager, Consumer Notebook Transaction Team, Lenovo India, added, "At present, almost 2 per cent of the sales is contributed by AiO to the consumer desktop segment for home in India." BenQ claims that as per the latest trends, AiO aims to offer consumer desktop with all the benefits of performance, connectivity and design. But all agree that AiOs can never be a threat to the existence of desktops. Patel feels that All-in-Ones neither have an immediate impact on the sales of desktops nor they will have any impact down the line two years as they cater to entirely different set of customer base.

Gautum Ghosh, Country Manager, ViewSonic India, claims that one of the most unique features of AiOs is that they consume 40% less power as compared to traditional desktops. This could be a differentiating factor and can change the scenario with the passage of time.

Touch Factor
The recent launch of Windows 7 is seen to be a great influencer for the sales of touchscreen AiOs in the days to come. Acer has already introduced its Aspire Z5610 with Windows 7 and HP with its Touchsmart 600. The manufacturers are now putting greater emphasis on style and design, and touchscreens have practically become the norm. Even Dell Studio One 19 has multi-touch displays, which lets you use two fingers at a time to pinch, push, rotate, and scroll items on the screen. The TouchSmart PCs are also among several stylish big-screen All-in-Ones that have built-in Blu-ray drives and double as Media Centre HDTVs.

Building upon its nearly 30-year history of touch innovation, HP has ushered in the next era of multi-touch computing for consumers with the introduction of HP TouchSmart300 All-in-One Desktop PC, HP TouchSmart600 All-in-One Desktop PC and HP Pavilion MS200 All-in-One desktop PC.

But that does not restrict participation from other brands. Almost every vendor is busy introducing touchscreen AiOs.

AiO Technology Challenges
Every coin has two sides. All AiOs have a lot of advantages attached to it, but that is also a myth. Most of the AiOs have Atom processors. So, people think that they can't support gaming or the other related entertainment features. Completely rejecting the belief, Patel said, "The entry-level AiOs which are Atom-based support basic gaming." Then, there are mid-end and high-end ranges which offer complete entertainment features.

If Lenovo's AiOs are priced between Rs.21k and Rs.60k, then HP's offering ranges between Rs.36k and Rs.90k. HP's first non-touch consumer All-in-One desktop PC, the HP Pavilion MS200, provides a full set of features for all users’ computing needs in a stylish space-saving design.

On the flip side, Ghosh adds that even the Atom-based AiOs have a market to cater. "They are a fit for the corporate environments where employees do not have access to gaming and other lifestyle applications."

Despite the improvements in AiO PCs over the last year, they still struggle to match the performance of a good value desktop computer. Of course, AiO PCs offer lots of benefits. They don't require you to buy a new monitor, or to have an old one sitting around. Wall-mounting options are common as well. And these days, almost all budget AiOs feature a single-touch display. Spend a little more, and you can have Dell's Studio One 19 or one of HP's TouchSmart PCs, which boast multi-touch displays. All-in-One PCs also integrate many add-ons, such as speakers, Webcams (the Lenovo has a 2-mega pixel camera with VeriFace recognition log-in software, for instance), and wireless networking.

At the same time, people, who regularly upgrade their normal desktop to increase its life span, find it difficult in the case of All-in-One PCs as they have serious upgrade limitations. But then vendors like Lenovo comes with the answer, their IdeaCentre A600 scores better because users can upgrade its hard disk, optical drive, memory, and fans. Also, the HP TouchSmart PCs and the Sony VAIO VGC-LV180J let you upgrade if not all but at least the memory and hard drive.

Vendors Channel Strategy
Almost all vendors including Dell are trying to take the channel route to reach the Indian consumers. Dell will appoint dedicated regional partners to drive and retailers to showcase the products. "We believe in providing our channel community with the choice of what to buy as per consumer demand. We are determined to support the channel in whatever way possible for us. We have partners across the country and we are fast expanding," adds Yadav.

Vendors are trying to reach out to the consumers through various means - direct conversations, its online communities as well as the traditional media/online advertising.

Though HP-like vendors feel that the end-consumer schemes will not have much impact on the sale of AiOs. Lenovo has a different practical experience altogether. Yatindra Nath, Director - Consumer and SMB Sales, Lenovo India, shared the view, "Lenovo offered its value All-in-One C300 with an attractive Philips Home Theatre set that is worth Rs.11,000/-. The Lenovo C300 is available in all the Lenovo authorised stores across India starting from Rs.29,000 onwards."

Almost all vendors feel that AiOs will take some time to penetrate across all the verticals initially, but it is not restricted to any geography.

In the end…
Any technology faces slow acceptance initially. So is the case with AiOs. But since the slowdown phase is over, and people have again started spending on products which combine technology with style, sale of AiOs will surely catch up. In the meantime, vendors are busy advertising and creating a pull amongst the consumers and training their partners to educate each walk-in client about the benefits of the product.
 


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