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Futuresource Consulting, the specialist research and consulting company, is delighted to be the official knowledge partner for CEATEC. The company can trace its roots back to the 1980s and provides market insights into consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, optical manufacturing, storage media, professional IT and education technology.
With more than 70 full-time employees providing in-depth analysis and forecasts across consumer and professional electronics categories, Futuresource is able to advise on market, competitive and technological developments, providing clients with access to the information that helps produce the best possible results.


K-12 Education Market Hotting Up as Form Factors Go To War

Competition between different personal computing devices and form factors is hotting up within the US K-12 education market as districts and schools continue to purchase personal computers for students and teachers. In the largest quarter Futuresource has seen within the US K-12 education market - with shipments exceeding 2.4 million units (YoY growth of 12%) - Notebooks accounted for more than half of the education market: a stark contrast to the same period last year where tablet shipments overtook those of notebooks for the first time.

According to Futuresource Consulting's 'K-12 Education Technology Market Track' service, the US K-12 education market in 1H 2014 has grown by more than 15% YoY. Growth in the shipments of the notebook form factor is being heavily driven by the uptake of Chromebooks in the US education market, with these devices accounting for almost 30% of all education shipments in Q2, while also outnumbering the shipments of notebooks running the Windows and MacOS operating systems combined. Nearly all major PC OEMs have entered the Chromebook space with at least one device, with Samsung and Acer currently being the two leading providers of Chromebooks within the US education market. Futuresource expects competition within the notebook category to intensify as both new Chromebook models and lower priced Microsoft Windows devices hit the market later this year.

"Chromebooks have so far provided an affordable way for districts in the US to provide personal computing devices to students and teachers in preparation for Common Core assessments," says Phil Maddocks, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "Increased competition in the Chromebook space, fuelled by the entrance of many of the major PC OEMs have kept the space price competitive, while Google has made some innovations such as announcing the availability to run Android applications on the platform as well as launching its own classroom management solution. However with several of the major PC OEMs projected to announce cheaper Microsoft based devices towards the end of the year, competition is only expected to intensify."

Tablet shipments in the US K-12 education market also declined for the first time YoY in Q2 2014, falling by almost 10% as competition from other form factors intensifies. The availability of other devices, such as detachable tablets and convertible notebooks has given districts and end users more choice in terms of choosing the device that meets both student and teacher needs. Los Angeles School district recently announced that they are now considering other options which include an arrangement of devices ranging from Chromebooks, notebooks, and convertible notebooks, having previously made plans to implement a 1:1 tablet program which further infers the array of options for end users.

"As well as LAUSD announcing that they are considering other alternatives to tablets, we have seen other school districts look at other form factors such as Baltimore School District which has announced it is purchasing convertible notebooks for its students and teachers, while Fresno school district has rolled out 15,000 detachable tablets to students. With new Microsoft devices due to be launched later this year from many OEMs, new Chromebooks - as well as the launch of Apple's next iPad - the choices for US school districts is continuing to increase."