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Strong Growth Forecast for All-in-One Computers

Shipments of all-in-one (AiO) computers, which combine a monitor, a system base and a power cord in one unit, will increase by 20 percent to 16.4 million units in 2012, according to researcher IHS.

By comparison, worldwide growth of traditional desktop PC shipments in 2012 will rise just 0.2 percent from 132 million units to 132.3 million units.

All-in-one PCs integrate the display and base unit into a common chassis with the power cable permanently attached to the entire mechanism. Examples of AiO systems include the iMac range of products from Apple Inc., and the TouchSmart series of PCs from Hewlett-Packard Co.

AiO PC demand will continue to grow through 2016 when shipments will total 24.8 million units, according to IHS.

“The AiO PC appeals to consumers who like the strengths of the traditional desktop but also like a large screen size and touchscreen, a cool technology,” said Craig Stice, senior principal analyst for compute platforms at IHS.

AiO PCs fit into a variety of environments. For instance, they can hang on a wall and some models offer a television tuner option that allows the PC to function both as a computer and TV.

AiO PCs often come with larger screen sizes with 22-inch screens being the average. Many larger systems offer high-definition (HD) specifications, including HDMI inputs and outputs, options for 3D, and high-end sound systems.

Most AiO systems also employ optical technology with sensors within raised bezel edges that will track touch, typically in a two-touch or point-and-touch screen, according to IHS.

Pricing for AiO systems is similar to standard desktops ranging in price $500 to nearly $2,000 depending on the features and options.

The downside to AiO PCs is they cannot be customized with additional or upgraded hardware as easily because of the enclosed environment and space constraints within the system. The form factor of the systems makes the machines hard to repair.