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| NEC Focuses on Space-Saving Computers, PC Sales Manager Says
November 26, 1998 (TOKYO) -- NEC Corp., Japan's largest maker of personal
computers, will discontinue offering traditional desktop-type PCs (horizontal
type, or non-tower type) in its winter season PC line aimed at the year-end
|Nearly 30 models in 10 lines of NEC PCs have space-saving features, the
NEC will roll out seven types and 22 models of "slim
tower" products with vertical designs (with a width of 86mm), and two
models of "boxless personal computers." NEC said that the latter comes
with a liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor integrated in the PC. Also,
NEC will offer six models of the so-called mini-tower type that are
separate from the space-saving PCs.
BizTech News Dept. interviewed Noboru Ozawa, assistant general manager
of NEC Personal Systems Ltd. (Pastem), and inquired about the aim of
the radical change in the company's product line.
BizTech: Why has NEC stopped making the traditional desktop-type
Ozawa: There are two reasons for ending the production of traditional
or horizontal desktop-type PCs.
First, users are looking for space-saving feature in a PC. In the case
of the ValueStar NX series, sales of slim tower PCs in the first half
of 1998 increased by 56 percent. In the June-September period, sales
of the series increased by 68 percent. These figures convinced us that
users like space-saving PCs rather than traditional desktop or mini-tower
Also, we have succeeded in building in two PCI slots, and in securing
sufficient expandability, even for the slim tower type PCs whose interior
space is quite limited.
So far, we have been able to build in only one PCI slot in
the existing slim tower type PCs. Even with the increasing number of
space-conscious users, there still are quite a few customers, for example,
who want PCs equipped with both a SCSI board and a LAN board, as well
as an expansion slot. Traditionally, customers with such requirements
had to select desktop type PCs equipped with multiple expansion slots.
Now, users no longer have a compelling reason to select traditional desktop-type
PCs, and we have decided to remove such standard desktop-type PCs from
our product line.
It did not take us too long to reach this conclusion. When more PCs are
available with an LCD monitor, the need to select standard desktop-types
Also, NEC has reviewed the entire product line because PC shops pointed
out that too many types and models tend to reduce the efficiency of
inventory control/sales management.
BizTech: But NEC has retained the PC set of CRTs and slim towers.
Ozawa: We have kept our CRT models for the low-end PC line. To
offer reasonably priced sets, CRT models are indispensable. Price-conscious
users are likely to consider that LCD models (a slim tower and an LCD
monitor) are still too expensive for their budgets.
Among the ValueStar NX series, market demand for CRT models priced below
200,000 yen (US$1,650) remains strong. Low-priced CRT models are expected
to account for almost 20 percent of total sales of the ValueStar NX
BizTech: Why has NEC included 350MHz/400MHz Pentium II models
among low-priced CRT models?
Ozawa: Customers seeking high-performance models at the lowest
price tend to select CRT models rather than LCD models. It was necessary
to include Pentium II-equipped models in addition to the low-priced
Celeron types. We think that customers who want reasonably priced models
will likely select those with 350MHz microprocessors and customers requiring
high-performance models will select 400MHz microprocessors.
BizTech: Projected sales of the "boxless PCs" are
said to account for only 1 percent of total sales of the ValueStar NX
series. This appears to be an extremely conservative figure.
Ozawa: The boxless PC is a product that proposes a new concept
to meet users' space-saving needs. However, NEC believes it will take
time for the new PCs to be accepted by users because of the new concept
and form. That's why NEC set the 1-percent projection.
NEC projects that sales of the boxless type will be small, so the scheduled
launch date of the boxless PCs is almost a month later than the other
types. NEC believes that the most popular type will be the slim tower.
The body of a boxless type PC is installed in the base of the LCD monitor,
and it has components used in notebook PCs. For example, the CPU is
a Pentium II for mobile PCs and it is not equipped with an expansion
Those customers who place a priority on the space-saving feature and
are willing to sacrifice expandability are expected to fully accept
(BizTech News Dept.)
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