Today, most vendors have come out with their own versions of the all in one PC and the market looks very promising for these systems. The AIO PC is good for entertainment and other less demanding tasks. This small form factor PC segment is growing rapidly.
Notebook PCs and desktop PCs have lost out as tablets are gnawing away at the global PC market share. However, the AIO (All-in-One) PC category manages to ride out the recession and maintain slight growth. With emerging markets becoming the powerhouse of AIO PC sales, branded vendors will have a good chance to break Apple’s long-time dominance.
AIO PC provides everything your average consumer might need in a single package, nixing the need for a standalone desktop in favor of a monitor-endowed piece of PC hardware. They come in an array of styles, offering everything from 1080p touchscreens and 5K resolution to robust sound and high-end Intel Core processors, each of which typically comes bundled with a keyboard and mouse.
Most target the premium market with a sleek, streamlined design, yet recent market offerings continue to push the boundaries of what a budget-based PC is capable of. Consumers pay for this style and convenience with performance, and while the best AIOs don’t pack the processors or video cards some enthusiasts demand, they’re efficient enough for most everyday tasks.
The AIO PCs were first introduced in India around 2008 but they have gained a lot of relevance recently, with newer versions being launched at much more affordable price points. Simply put, AIOs look like the traditional flat-panel monitor. The components seen in the big CPUs with older computers are all neatly integrated within this form factor. Yes, the components have become smaller and slimmer too, which allows for deployment in slim designs. Basically, this is your entire computer, made for the modern home.
AIOs have processing power and memory that’s equal to any desktop or laptop. Following the release of Windows 10, AIOs are also optimised for a touchscreen. And, you don’t need a big budget to buy one.
The AIO is now good enough to replace your old desktop. If you are willing to spend, the latest ones can have third generation Intel Core i7 processors and 16GB RAMs. With specs like these, AIOs can be used for gaming and other resource-intensive uses such as video editing.
The form factor still remains the USP of the AIO. It is a single unit with the CPU, webcam and speakers integrated into the display unit itself. So it will use only a bit more space than your PC monitor. For input, you have the option of a wireless keyboard and mouse, along with the touchscreen in high-end devices.
An AIO usually has just one wire coming out of the main unit. This also means there is just one unit that consumes power in this set-up. For an average user, this means less consumption of power. An AIO can give you up to an hour on a UPS compared to just 15 minutes for a traditional desktop.
They are good enough to replace even televisions, thanks to features such as Lenovo’s OneKey TV. This new technology turns the high-definition display into a television at the click of a button. Many have frameless designs like top-end flat panel televisions. The lean back design is ideal for consuming content.
While price was a put off for AIOs earlier, the new breed gives buyers options at all price levels. If you are willing to compromise on processing power and sacrifice a touchscreen, you can take home a capable AIO for as low as Rs 20,000. High-end versions offering top specifications will cost upwards of Rs 1 lakh.
The only serious disadvantage left in the AIO is the fact that it is still not very conducive to upgrades. But there are high-end models that have tool-less chassis models that allow easy upgrades.
Many organizations are cautious about spending and investing in these devices. It cannot be a preferred to a mobility device. A laptop will always have an edge over an AIO PC and, considering current economic scenario, extra spending is not justified. Counting its negative points, firstly, it has a single point of failure and with any component failure; one needs to replace the entire set. Also, there is limited scope to customize or upgrade in future, probably RAM is the only thing you can play with in an AIO PC. As it is more proprietary in construction, the availability and spending on support is higher than on conventional desktops or even laptops. Lastly, AIO PCs can be more expensive than even some of the high performance desktops available in the market. Certain organizations in their PC refresh cycle have not even considered AIO PCs as an option.
Though the AIO PC has taken the market by storm, it cannot compete with the traditional desktop in terms of performance. Their compact size, which makes the product so appealing, creates great heat and power limitations. Another important factor to be considered is that AIO PCs usually cannot be upgraded like a desktop to increase its life span. There are a few models with big screens offering upgradability but they come at a high price! The common man’s AIO usually lacks the power and entertainment extras and runs on Windows XP instead of Vista, but the cheaper cost makes it an attractive buy!
Current scenario of AIO PC and Brand
According to Chandrahas Panigrahi, Sr. Director and Head – Consumer Business, Acer India,PC desktops market is a mature market and evolving in various form factors and AIO is a fast growing category. One of the largest market research companies anticipates that overall PC market in the country will increase this year, compared to last year. We expect special education projects and improved business sentiments in the enterprise business will continue to drive commercial PC volumes this year. Due to its inherent advantages such as compactness and stylish design, many people consider AIO as a lifestyle product. Acer has created a space to match the user-specific needs of hardware and software solution to ensure performance and stability. Our team works towards a seamless integration of versatile solutions depending on the user-specific requirements. We are placed favorably with one of the highest growth rate in AIO segment QoQ.
“The Indian PC market is a versatile one, with multiple types of users exhibiting unique preferences for form factors depending on their computing needs. The AIO PC market in India has been growing with an uptake for the sleek device, especially among first time PC buyers. The USP of the AIO form factor is its capability to deliver a desktop experience, whilst consuming minimal space. Typically, it is preferred by users for family use, particularly in homes which have both young school going children as well as parents who collaboratively use the device for personal content consumption, academic projects, etc. The overall share of AIOs with respect to the overall desktop market is a little over 10% and Dell holds the 2nd position in the market for CY 2015 per IDC. At Dell, we have a range of AIOs that cater to a variety of user needs, from the Inspiron 20 3000 Series AIO Desktop (3052) with its compact, space-saving design that’s made for at-home entertainment and productivity to the powerful Dell Inspiron 24 5000 Series (5459), a 24-inch AIO desktop with rich multimedia features, with full HD IPS, edge-to-edge touch screen and built-in performance speakers with an articulating stand,” said, Alen Jose, Product Marketing Director, Consumer & Small Business, Dell India.
“PC desktops market is the steadiest of all the other product markets in India. IDC anticipates that overall PC market in the country will increase this year, compared to 2014. Special education projects and improved business sentiments in the enterprise business will continue to drive commercial PC volumes in 2015. With Digital India projects, government and government-aided education buying will hold the key to growth in the commercial PC business. We see lot of scope in DIY segment since it comprises of 40% of total PC market. AIOs PCs as a segment is evolving in India. We will be meeting the demand by providing unique Barebone AIO solutions. We have created a space to match the user-specific needs of hardware components and ensure interoperability, compatibility, performance and stability. Our team works towards a seamless integration of versatile solutions depending on the user-specific requirements,” said, Shalini Pandey, Director of the India operations, ViewPaker.
“AIO is a sleek PC occupying nearly one-third of the space of a traditional desktop. We at Lenovo are seeing a growing trend amongst Indian consumers for sleek AIO PCs. Space-efficient designs with best-in-class performance, coupled with 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,” concluded, Rohit Narag, National Product Manager, Comm. Desktop & Thinkvision, Lenovo India.
AIOs Vs Desktop PCs
“The AIO form-factor has seen increasing awareness in the market, as customers recognize it as an option for home computing. This awareness has expanded from Tier 1 to Tier 2 & 3 markets which will constitute the user-base for an overall growth in PC adoption in the country. These markets see a number of first time buyers of the PC, whose first preferred interface with PC technology is through the use of a desktop which can cater to multiple users. This user base includes families which purchase the PC for young children, as they recognize that PC access contributes significantly to the overall growth of an individual, complementing their requirements for access to information, resources to build upon academic projects, as well as entertainment for the family. As everyday tasks become automated, be it paying bills, or the rapid growth of e-commerce in the lives of the consumer, the need for the device such as an AIO sees more demand in these markets,” said, Alen of Dell India.
“As AIOs are an integrated PC, customers used to a Tower PC are generally not comfortable with the serviceability and prefer Desktop PCs as a first choice. The AIO PC market in India is growing at a fast pace and has a great potential in a growing market like India. Owing to its exciting features, form factor and mobility options, consumers around the world have developed a liking for them, thereby making AIO PCs the latest rage,” added, Rohit of Lenovo.
“AIO PCs have become the first-choice option for many consumers seeking a home PC with power and flexibility. Whether as a home entertainment center, a desktop for productivity or a gaming and multimedia device, we believe an AIO should adapt to our customers’ needs quickly and smoothly and offer them a level of performance on par with a traditional desktop. Nowadays the e-literate customers appreciates AIO for its space saving, power saving features,” concluded, Chandrahas of Acer India.
Will Channel benefit through AIO?
“AIO Form Factor is well received by both the Government and Large Enterprises. Channel Partners are also referring this to customers due to the customized options available, which will help increase the margins as well. This helps increase the volumes and their portfolio from traditional desktops. We have multiple retailers and enterprise Channel Partners across the country. We believe in providing them with the choice of what to buy as per the consumer demand. We are determined to support our Channel Partners in whatever way possible for us,” added, Rohit of Lenovo.
“The primary requirement for a channel partner is to effectively partner a brand in delivering the right technology solution for the right user requirements. They thrive on building customer relationships by acting as trusted advisors in the market, and act as eyes and ears for a brand in the farthest corners of the country. We strive to deliver an end-to-end range of computing devices, in order to cater to every technology need. In the AIO category, Dell offers the complete range of AIOs across the low, medium and high price bands in order to help our channel partners to cater to the consumer demand. Our relationships with channel partners is built on trust and mutual growth, and we also develop incentive programs for them on a periodical basis to ensure that our relations with partners are fulfilling and dynamic,” said, Alen of Dell India.
“The back end structure has been harmonized in such a manner that partners earn more than in traditional desktops. Partners are excited over AIOs more than desktops given that these products offer everything in one package and are gaining ground faster than ever. The AIOs have proven a strong category in the PC marketplace over the last five years. Even though AIOs tend to be more expensive than conventional desktops, it is easier to sell them because of the competitive advantages they carry. It is also easier for a seller to ship the product as they are compact and take less storage space. Traditional PC assemblers have a hard time in assembling the computers as it is a cumbersome process. The installation procedure is also simple one these devices house all the internal parts, such as the chipsets, processor, hard drive, video and sound cards, etc within them,” elaborated, Chandrahas of Acer India.
“We have been setting up our channel line in different parts of the country and we are ensuring good margins and incentives for channel partners, moreover, our product line is quite unique and many channel partners are replacing traditional desktop with ViewPaker barebone AIO. This gives them a lot of options for customization and earn extra margin, by giving cost saving solution as compared to standard AIO. Very soon we are going to roll out partner engagement program too,” concluded, Shalini of ViewPaker.
Challenges that could hinder the growth of AIO PC in India
“If we consider the AIO PC market, we are facing a few challenges that could hinder the growth of AIO segment in India. Most AIO PCs are costlier than their regular desktop counterparts because of their compact nature therefore discouraging the customers to make the purchase vs a traditional desktop but it’s a matter of cost-benefit analysis and many consumers see the benefit of owning an AIO. Frequent power outage in India is also an issue as AIO needs a UPS back-up which comes at extra cost compared to a laptop which has in-built battery. Space constraints in large cities are forcing people to buy compact and portable device for their home use,” said, Chandrahas of Acer India.
“The proliferation of Mini Form Factor as well as budget constraints could hinder the growth of AIO PC. 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. Any technology faces slow acceptance initially. 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,” added, Rohit of Lenovo.
“The AIO delivers a holistic computing experience in a sleek form factor. The Dell AIO range of devices delivers superior features for a seamless personal computing experience, packed into a sleek AIO form factor which allows for placing the device into the aesthetics of a home including the provision for wall-mount. Most importantly, the AIO form factor delivers value for money to customers, in markets where purchasing a PC is considered a significant purchase decision. This reduces the inhibition to invest in technology, enabling first time PC users to come face to face with the potential of personal computing for individual and family use,” said, Alen of Dell India.
“Acer’s philosophy is breaking barriers between people and technology through innovation and design. Recently we have launched world’s first Chrome base AIO desktop with Intel Core processors. The new Aspire Z Series allows people to enjoy true-to-life video calls with family and friends with 1080p Full HD webcams. Stereo speakers with Acer TrueHarmony and Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater technology enables conversations to be heard loud and clear, and built-in dual digital microphones can sense where the voices come from to ensure they are heard crystal clear even in a noisy environment. The new models feature a silky-smooth mechanical design so that the screen can be tilted from -5° to 25° with just two fingers. With the screen tilt adjustable with minimal effort, users can portray themselves in the video frame perfectly or ergonomically adjust the viewing angle for long conversations. We also offer suite of Acer software applications which enhances the user experience and also helps maintain and diagnose the AIO by themselves. Our AIO comes with free cloud storage and BYOC (Build Your Own Cloud) with which helps them to set up their own private cloud. We believe that the user experience provided by an Acer AIO PC is better than that of any other brands present in the market. We also provide robust customer service points across the country to ensure our customers enjoy peace-of-mind ownership,” elaborated, Chandrahas of Acer India.
“Lenovo is one of the first brands to introduce AIOs, keeping in mind the needs of the consumer and enterprise users. We have different models to cater to multiple user group requirements. In addition, for our enterprise customers, there are enterprise models which can be customized as per their requirements with extended warranty. Also, options like Wall Mount, etc and accessories like multi-functional stands are also available to cater to specific requirements,” concluded, Rohit of Lenovo.
There are more vendors selling these devices. While these devices may not suit every organization, there are industry verticals where their aesthetic would fit well such as hospitality or even in the reception of any company for that matter. Moreover, large enterprises with global ambitions would likely look to these products. But for many PC users today, AIOs just make more sense. They take up a fraction of the space of a traditional PC, without sacrificing much in the way of performance. And that performance has improved while prices have dropped, so you don’t have to compromise. Most important, AIOs are paving the way for touchscreen adoption outside of the tablets and smartphones.
Mr. Chandrahas Panigrahi, Sr. Director and Head – Consumer Business, Acer India
“We also offer suite of Acer software applications which enhances the user experience and also helps maintain and diagnose the AIO by themselves. Our AIO comes with free cloud storage and BYOC (Build Your Own Cloud) with which helps them to set up their own private cloud. We believe that the user experience provided by an Acer AIO PC is better than any other brands present in the market. We also provide robust customer service points across the country to ensure our customers enjoy peace-of-mind ownership.”
Mr. Alen Jose, Product Marketing Director, Consumer & Small Business, Dell India
“The primary requirement for a channel partner is to effectively partner with a brand in delivering the right technology solution for the right user requirements. They thrive on building customer relationships by acting as trusted advisors in the market, and act as eyes and ears for a brand in the farthest corners of the country. We strive to deliver an end-to-end range of computing devices, in order to cater to every technology need, in the AIO category.”
Mr. Rohit Narag, National Product Manager, (Comm. Desktop & Thinkvision), Lenovo India
“As AIOs are an integrated PC, customers used to a Tower PC are generally not comfortable with the serviceability and prefer Desktop PCs as a first choice. But, the AIO desktop market in India is growing at a fast pace and has great potential in a growing market like India. Owing to its exciting features, form factor and mobility options, consumers around the world have developed a liking for them, thereby making AIO PCs the latest rage.”
Ms. Shalini Pandey, Director of the India Operations, ViewPaker
“We have been setting up our channel line in different parts of the country and we are ensuring good margins and incentives for channel partners, moreover, our product line is quite unique and many channel partners are replacing traditional desktop with ViewPaker barebone AIO. This gives them a lot of options for customization and earn extra margin, by giving cost saving solution as compared to standard AIO. Very soon we are going to roll out partner engagement program too.”