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Consumers Will Need Variety of PC Interfaces

IDC recently revealed its new forecast for worldwide adoption of thirty one interfaces and technologies shipping in desktop and mobile PCs through 2010. Among key highlights of the forecast are the following:

- The user need for constant connectivity will steer demand for cellular wide area networking and broadband wireless options.

- The PC's role as the hub for consumer devices will drive adoption of high-speed interfaces, including USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and PCI Express.

- The arrival of Windows Vista will boost market demand for discrete graphics controllers.

- The emergence of DisplayPort will cloud the video interface landscape.

"The supplanting of older interfaces by the latest industry offerings is a game of timing, listening to customers, and observing market dynamics for a technology provider or OEM," said Richard Shim, senior research analyst for IDC's Personal Computing team.

"Remove an interface too early and customers will complain. Remove it too late and customers will bear needless cost and restricted design flexibility. Still the benefits of greater cost efficiencies and improving performance of systems will continue to be powerful motivations to drive OEMs' decisions."

"From a semiconductor perspective, chip providers should keep in mind that while a new technology may represent opportunity for sales of discrete ICs, the opportunity for silicon supplies to generate revenue from the technology may quickly pass due to pending integration into other silicon, such as the core logic chipset," added Shane Rau, program manager for PC semiconductors at IDC.

The only forecast item that I would question is the impact of Windows Vista. In fact, even Steve Ballmer is telling Wall Street analysts that their expectations for market adoption of the new OS are way too optimistic. Furthermore, the number one customer request voted to the top of the Dell IdeaStorm website is (as of today) a collective plea to pre-load Linux, instead of Windows.

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