September 25, 2012
DRAM Shipments For PCs Plateau For The First Time

New reports issued this week would seem to suggest that the personal computer's day in the sun is over. Figures indicate that the percentage of DRAM shipments which were intended for use within computers has dropped, from 50.2% to 49% between the first and second quarters of this year. The so-called 'post-PC' era has seemingly begun, with the focus now turning to hand-held gadgets such as smartphones and tablets.

However, these statistics have been labelled provocative and misleading, as PC's still command a huge share of the market. Tablets and smartphones might be offering consumers more choice when it comes to technology, but the personal computer is still the one to beat; 3.4 billion DRAM units for PCs, both desktops and notebooks, were shipped in the last quarter, with just 264 million for tablets. Growth might have plateaued where computer memory in PCs is concerned but with almost 50% of the world's DRAM memory being shipped for use within computers, it doesn't look like the most mainstream form of computing will release its grip on the market anytime soon.

"The arrival of the post-PC era doesn't mean that people will stop using personal computers, or even necessarily that the PC market will stop expanding," said Clifford Leimbach, a memory analyst from IHS. Indeed, the expansion in the past decade has been rapid; according to research company Gartner, it took the PC industry twenty years to sell their first billion units, a further five years to sell the next billion and a mere three years for the third billion. The plateau in demand for this type of PC and Apple memory after this rapid rise is a result of many contributing factors.

One of the perceived reasons for the slow decrease in demand is the commonplace aspect of the PC market. The vast majority of homes now already possess personal computers and they don't constantly need to update or upgrade with new memory chips. Constant new models in smartphones and tablet computers see consumers out in their thousands to ensure they have the latest model, whereas the trend in personal computing is to buy a device which will last, with upgradable RAM memory for any changes which need to be made. Many households consider the PC to be the foundation to all their handheld devices; a place to dock and upload all their files, with the smartphones and tablets considered supplementary devices. The figures show that tablets and smartphones are on the rise, but not necessarily that PCs are in decline. There is simply more choice in the market than there ever has been before.

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