Well, here's a break from all the doom and gloom about the PC market (which, today, was compounded by Sony's sale of its Vaio business). According to DigiTimes Research, shipments of notebooks from the biggest vendors beat expectations last month.
Reportedly, the top five notebook vendors saw their shipments grow 9% from January 2013 to January 2014. DigiTimes Research quotes a 15% shipment decline from December 2013 to January 2014, but that's not unexpected. Sales tend to dip immediately after the holiday season.
DigiTimes says Asus performed the best out of the top five, with 1.5 million notebooks shipped last month alone. The report is a little light on details, but it sounds like that's a global figure that doesn't include the company's convertible Transformer T100. (I guess it doesn't count as a real notebook.) DigiTimes claims the 1.5-million number represents sequential growth of 25%, but that seems at odds with the sequential decline quoted above. Perhaps the 25% gain is actually year-on-year.
In any case, those are some encouraging numbers. DigiTimes Research says that contract manufacturers Inventec and Pegatron "performed relatively strong" last month, as well, although three of their competitors—Quanta, Compal, and Wistron—saw sequential drops "in line with market expectations."