Samsung Banking on Vista-Driven Hardware Upgrades

PChardware upgrades ushered in withMicrosoft’s forthcoming Vista operating system should deliver a bump in year-end shipments and revenue for vendors, according toSamsung.

The electronics giant stressed the advantage for users of making a US$100 to $250 upgrade of flash memory and other hardware versus incurring the expense of a new computer. A total system upgrade is by no means a requirement to run the new Microsoft software, given the processing power of existing machines, Samsung said.

Refashioned Revenue

While most users’ current PCs will be able to handle a migration to Vista, those who want to take full advantage of the new OS may need bolstered or new systems.

Consumers may be inclined to spend on memory, video, sound or other hardware enhancements that will help older PCs take full advantage of Vista. Hardware upgrades could be worth $370 million in the U.S. as Vista arrives this year, Samsung estimated.

Perhaps to the chagrin of Microsoft hardware partners such as Dell and HP, Samsung disputed the idea that the new Vista operating system would require a new PC.

Still, the hardware enhancements that Samsung refers to can add up, and prices for new PCs have never been more competitive.

“Pretty much everything shipped over the last few years will be able to run Vista, and the stuff shipping now will be running it at the top level,” Martin Reynolds, a vice president with Gartner, told TechNewsWorld. “Microsoft does a good job of preparing everybody.”

However, new operating systems do not typically bring significant jumps in hardware shipments, he said.

“We don’t usually see operating systems driving a whole round of hardware upgrades. They don’t explode,” he said, describing an operating system upgrade as “hardware neutral.”

On the other hand, Reynolds allowed that the introduction of Vista is likely to drive richer configurations with more memory and other performance enhancements.

“It does keep capacity demand there,” he said.

Buyers and Bytes

Although the migration to Vista may bring some memory and video card updates, consumers tend to prefer buying complete systems with compatible hardware and software packaged together, Endpoint Technologies Associates Founder and President Roger Kay agreed.

Rather than making piecemeal improvements, it’s likely most will wait until they’re ready to buy a new computer, he told TechNewsWorld. Store shelves will be well stocked with Vista-compatible PCs shortly after the new OS’s release, he noted.

For the enterprise, it may be a year and a half before Vista sinks in as IT managers delay, test and qualify the new Microsoft operating system for their environments, Kay said.

Current builds of the Vista OS indicate it will take at least 1 gigabyte (GB) of memory to run smoothly, he noted, and while it may be able to run on 512 megabytes, the right amount of PC memory will probably be 2GB.

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