Samsung To Stop Selling Laptops In Europe

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Samsung To Stop Selling Laptops In Europe

 user admin 2014-09-25 at 11:46:42 am Views: 163
  • #41086

    Samsung To Stop Selling Laptops In Europe

    The laptop is increasingly irrelevant these days and Samsung probably knows that better than anyone. Even so, its decision to entirely stop selling laptops in Europe, including its Chromebooks has surprised some people. I’m not so shocked though, the writing is on the wall for laptops, and has been for a while, so let me explain why I say that.

    In the coming years I think it will go from being hard to make money out of selling laptops, to near impossible. The price of laptops has been driven down into the ground. So much so, that Intel had to invent a premium “Ultrabook” segment just to keep things ticking along at all. The problem is, even in premium devices the profit margins are not great. I struggle to believe even Apple is making much money on the Macbook Air these days, although I suspect the Pro makes up for it.

    Samsung's laptops were often pretty good, like its Ultrabooks

    Samsung’s laptops were often pretty good, like its Ultrabooks – image Ian Morris

    So Samsung’s exit in Europe doesn’t really surprise me, and I’d actually say it’s quite a smart move for a company that’s seen a drop in profits recently. We’ve already seen Sony sell its laptop division to Lenovo, and I think there will be more companies following suit in the next year. Pulling out of laptops in the EU addresses Samsung’s recent dip in profits before it gets too late. What might be making them a small amount of money now almost certainly won’t next year, so it’s better to get out now. I have a feeling Samsung won’t be making laptops at all in a couple of years time.

    My gut feeling is that Samsung will be able to sell far more tablets than laptops over the next few years. The tablet is becoming the laptop replacement in the same way the laptop became the desktop PC replacement. Tablets offer pretty much the same features to most people that laptops do, if you need to work, it’s simple to get a small keyboard, or a cover with a keyboard built in. Samsung makes these for its new range of excellent Tab S devices, so it understands that this is good enough for most people.

    Tablets are smaller, lighter and have far better battery life than a cheap laptop does. They often have 4G built in too, meaning that you have a device that’s online. Everything you need is included, from email clients to word processing apps. And if there’s anything missing, you can pay a small amount of money to get it. Office apps might cost $10 on Android, but you’d pay $100 or more for Microsoft’s on a PC.

    The Android ecosystem also makes apps easier for customers. I would wager most PC users don’t buy apps for their computers. Most people exist on free software, and probably wouldn’t bother downloading a game to play on their commute. Where tablets excel though, is in casual games. As I write this – on my laptop, for shame – on the train, there’s a man opposite playing 2048 on his iPad, and a man next to me reading a book on his Apple tablet. I can see six 10-inch tablets, dozens of phones and some kindles. I am the only person in this train carriage using a laptop, and I could have written this on a tablet with the same ease as I have on the laptop.

    Even Microsoft has ignored the traditional laptop, and gone for the tablet market

    Even Microsoft has ignored the traditional laptop, and gone for the tablet market – image Ian Morris

    There will always be a market for laptops, especially for more advanced users who need a bit more power, but tablets are catching up. We have 64-bit processors in phones from Apple now, and they’re on their way from Android manufacturers too. Soon, the RAM capacity in a £300 tablet will be the same as in an Ultrabook, at a fraction of the price.

    If you need even more evidence that the laptop market is dying, take a look at Microsoft. Its move into hardware has seen it acquire Nokia for phones, and create its own tablet computers under the Surface brand. Microsoft could make an amazing laptop if it wanted to, but it understands that this is a market that is declining. And while the Surface is a laptop in all but name, it still follows the tablet form factor has a touch screen and is even described as a laptop replacement by Microsoft.

    What does sadden me, however, is the fact that Samsung is also quitting the Chromebook market in Europe. I think that’s a shame, because I see the Chromebook as being a device that will only gain in popularity over the coming years. In the US they are already being adopted as educational devices, and in significant numbers too. That’s a change I think will happen in the UK and Europe over the coming years, and I think Samsung had something worthwhile to offer. Still, in its official statement the firm didn’t rule out a return in the EU if the market changed, so Chromebooks may come back at some point, but I very much doubt we’ll see another Samsung Laptop any time soon.