A recent forecast from Gartner, Inc. predicts that global shipments of AI PCs and generative AI (GenAI) smartphones will surge to 295 million units by the close of 2024, a significant increase from the 29 million units recorded in 2023. Gartner defines AI PCs as personal computers equipped with specialized AI accelerators or cores, neural processing units (NPUs), accelerated processing units (APUs), or tensor processing units (TPUs). These components are specifically designed to enhance and expedite AI tasks directly on the device, resulting in enhanced performance and efficiency when handling AI and GenAI workloads, without the need for external servers or cloud services.
GenAI smartphones are specifically engineered devices with both hardware and software features optimized for seamless integration and efficient execution of GenAI-driven functionalities and applications directly on the smartphone. These smartphones are equipped to locally run AI models that can generate new iterations of content, strategies, designs, and methods without relying on external servers or cloud services. Notable examples include Google’s Gemini Nano, Baidu’s ERNIE, and OpenAI’s GPT-4.
Ranjit Atwal, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, emphasized that the rapid adoption of on-device GenAI capabilities and AI processors will soon become a standard requirement for technology vendors. This widespread adoption presents challenges for vendors in terms of differentiation from competitors, making it increasingly difficult to establish unique selling propositions and drive revenue growth.
According to Gartner’s estimates, approximately 240 million GenAI smartphones and 54.5 million AI PCs will be shipped by the conclusion of 2024, constituting 22% of both basic and premium smartphones, as well as 22% of all PCs in the same year (refer to Figure 1).
While the incorporation of AI into PCs is anticipated, it is unlikely to significantly impact end-user spending beyond anticipated price hikes. Business purchasers of these devices will require compelling justifications to make such investments. Nevertheless, it will require some time for software providers to fully harness the potential of on-device AI and effectively showcase its heightened advantages.
After eight consecutive quarters of decline, the PC market experienced a resurgence in growth during the fourth quarter of 2023. Gartner forecasts that overall PC shipments will reach 250.4 million units in 2024, reflecting a 3.5% increase from 2023. The integration of on-device AI is expected to reinvigorate the marketing of PCs throughout 2024 and contribute to sustaining the anticipated replacement cycles, thereby mitigating some of the adverse impacts of a disruptive socioeconomic environment.
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