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The year 2008 has just a few hours left and it seems to be the right time to think about the 2009. Despite of the economic crisis, technologies will once again become more excellent and demands of end-users will become even higher.

The 2009 is unlikely to become a year of booming personal computers (PCs) sales, but it may set certain trends that will considerably change the market in 2009 and going forward. In this short editorial we will try to determine those trends and share some of our expectations for the next year.

Pret-a-Porte Personal Computers Set to Get More Stylish

Personal computers have come a long way from dull grey boxes made by IBM to ultra-trendy systems like Voodoo Envy, Dell XPS One or Sony Vaio. Unfortunately, average mainstream personal computers still cannot boast with extravagant design, but that is going to change next year, we believe.

PCs are now “good enough” for almost any task that a typical end-user might want to run. It will be hard, if possible at all, for computer manufacturers to sell mainstream personal computers by advertising higher-performance microprocessors, larger storage or more capable graphics cards. As a result, many of large PC suppliers as well as significant local computer makers will put a lot of emphasis on making trendy personal computers.

Besides fashionable design, the new PCs are likely to become smaller in 2009 overall as end-users now value desk space more than ever.

Since there are many standard PC form-factors as well as a wide variety of components available on the market, it will not be hard for PC manufacturers to roll-out stylish and small form-factor systems with decent performance, feature-set and at price-points affordable enough for mainstream market. It is noteworthy that all such systems will either feature microATX, ITX or proprietary mainboard form-factors, but not BTX, which appears to be not popular at all.

At present only pretty expensive mobile PCs use truly high-quality materials, such as anodized aluminum, wood, carbon fiber and so on. While we would not expect to find those materials on mainstream systems, as consumers are cutting their spending, high-end PCs with a touch of wood or carbon fiber will get a little more affordable for sure. At the same time, computer makers who offer customers to choose artwork on their mobile systems now, such as Dell or Hewlett Packard, are also likely to advertise this option more aggressively.

In fact, we would expect high-profile design studios to tap the PC space with their designs. Porsche Design has already created a monitor for Samsung Electronics, Armani Casa is working with Samsung on HDTV line and chances are that we are going to see PCs created by the greatest artists on the planet.

It is interesting to note that Asustek Computer and Intel Corp. have launched web-site in a bid to find out preferences of end-users as well as their design ideas. This is an important indicator that computer developers do understand the future of PCs as well as want to understand specific needs of customers.

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