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iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice

Another year has passed. Time has come to draw conclusions from iXBT.com polls.

We are happy that market players value the prestige of the iXBT Brand poll. But some vendors, fans of some brands, and other sympathizers are enticed to improve the rating of their brands this way or another. Fortunately, many years of experience in conducting such polls allowed us to work out an effective system to prevent cheating. We can say with a considerable degree of certainty that the results you will find at the link below will not be biased or unrepresentative. Moreover, in our opinion, these results reflect the real state of affairs on the Russian market according to retail customers.

The poll certainly brought no surprises. The situation was quite natural and predictable for the majority of categories practically since the first thousand of votes. But that's just another proof that our figures are correct.

While our state elections are attended by fewer voters each year, we are pleased to announce a significant increase of the iXBT Brand poll participants. Compared to the last year, the increase is more than three thousand votes, the number of respondents has come close to fifteen thousands. Are Internet polls the thing of the future? Who knows, maybe in a couple of years we shall elect a new president or a mayor without leaving our workplaces.

Having watched the trademark popularity polls, it's not hard to notice one peculiarity: the market is certainly growing, there appear new players, the industry enlarges. It moves to the situation when the market is divided between a dozen of brands, three largest manufacturers controlling about 50% of the entire volume. We do not mean aggregate sales, not even sales in principle. We speak of the brand presence on the market, how they are apprehended by the active part of users, who form the opinion about brands among the most passive part of users.

There is such a huge market as the systems integration, which lives by its own laws, formed for a number of reasons, objective and not. Consumers of this market often don't know what's inside their dingy white (most often) PC cases. Maximum they can say is what monitor stands on a desk and what logo is on a mouse or a keyboard. Even that happens rather rare. We refer this audience to passive users, who are actually indifferent to what they use in their work. It just must work and meet requirements of theirs or of their management. These requirements are simple, as a rule: low price, decent design, low noise, high performance. That is normal consumer criteria, irregardless of a brand.

That's why market leaders practically don't change from year to year, except for a couple of the most dynamic nominations. Considering that market leaders are practically constant, it's important to watch the percentage redistribution among top three leaders and beyond. It should be noted that it takes some time for a leader with a considerable reserve of votes to go down. And/or a vendor should made a number of fatal mistakes, which can disappoint even the most ardent fans of a given brand. All the more pleasant when new names on the market achieve noticeable success.

You can see the poll results at this link:

"iXBT Brand 2005 — Readers' Choice" Poll Results

We haven't forgotten about the promised prizes either. We are glad to work for our readers so that our web site can publish information about prizewinners in the nearest future. Some of them already have their prizes shipped, so that the lucky guys get their presents by the New Year Holidays already.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, CPU nomination

Our readers have been choosing AMD as the brand of the year for the fifth year already. The company still offers high-performance processors. But unfortunately, the price is not already an absolute advantage of top solutions from AMD. Another problem of this vendor is a catastrophic shortage of Socket 939 solutions in retail; AMD does not seem seriously determined to solve this problem. Nevertheless, over ten thousand readers voted for this brand, it's 70.4% of the total number of voters. That is AMD got back to the results of 2001, when the company had won 70.6% of the electoral roll and lost some of its advantage in 2002-2004.

Last year we said that the main problem of Intel was high prices for its solutions. Today it does not seem to us the fundamental reason for accepting Intel by just 23% of the voters. NetBurst dead-end and the lack of bright advantageous (compared to the competitor) solutions do not allow the CPU giant to capture minds of the majority of users. It goes without saying that Intel's sales are high. But it has to do with the above-mentioned passive part of users in the first place. And of course, Intel's situation with CPU availability on the market is much better than in case of AMD. That's what we think to be the reason for the difference between our poll results and sales in the processor sector.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, CPU Cooling Systems nomination

Zalman yielded some ground compared to 2004. Nevertheless, acceptance of this brand is still high - 40.8% of the voters put Zalman on the first place in the CPU cooling systems nomination

GlacialTech lost many voters - nearly 4% were captured by ICE HAMMER, Gigabyte, and CoolerMaster. But this vendor still stands its ground as a manufacturer of cooling devices at attractive prices. Its models are only moderately noisy, which is confirmed by the results of the open tests of GlacialTech coolers, recently conducted by iXBT.com readers.

In 2005 ThermalTake didn't miss the opportunity to take away a small part of the voters from GlacialTech and Zalman either. Thus, the old-timer on the cooling market increased its share in our poll results from 12.5% in 2004 to 13.8% in 2005.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Memory Modules Manufacturer nomination

Kingston memory modules have always been considered High-End products and many users were guided by this very consideration in their choice of the brand. But Year 2005 has "stolen" 5% votes from this vendor. A thorough analysis reveals that the blame for this "theft" lies on Corsair, which will be described a tad later.

Samsung has also lost two percents this year. Perhaps the reason was in a great number of fakes or just low-quality modules, sold with Samsung chips. Even the so-called original modules did not always guarantee good performance and stability. As a result, 20.7% or 2909 votes for Samsung.

Corsair is one of the brightest novice leaders in iXBT Brand 2005. This brand has added another 7.4% to its last-year 4.7% votes, which allowed this company to take the third place. There is nothing surprising about it in our opinion. There appeared an initiative man in Russia, working productively in the marketing sphere as well as in memory sales. This expensive memory became very popular among overclockers and modders for this year. Perhaps it's their votes that brought the bronze medal to Corsair this year.

Hynix is only slightly outscored by the novice. The difference between them is 0.5%, so we decided to award Hynix with a bronze medal this year as well. Nevertheless, positions of this brand have faltered. One percent lost is not that much, of course. But should Samsung or Kingston win back what they've lost this year to the vendors of the second three, and Hynix may lose its iXBT bronze status.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Motherboards nomination

Everything is quite dull in the motherboard nomination. ASUSTeK lost some of its advantage, gained in 2004, when it had increased the number of fans of its products by more than 9%. Those 3% lost are hardly threatening ASUSTeK, if we recall that only 22% users voted for this company in 2002.

What concerns the silver category, Gigabyte is trying to return the second place, lost in 2001. EPoX and Gigabyte were snatching the second place from each other in turns during our poll time. As a result, we can see an approximate parity in the number of votes.

In fact, the second place would have been a natural result for Gigabyte. This brand is much larger and more versatile, it maintains a lot of staff in Russia. While nearly 80% of EPoX world sales fall on Russia, this company has only one distributor here. EPoX spends very little on branding or advertisement and manufactures no extraordinary image products.

Thanks to the fight for the second place between Gigabyte and EPoX, MSI got the bronze medal with its 7.2%. MSI also gained from a considerable reduction of ABIT votes this year, as this company nearly stopped manufacturing motherboards. It had a noticeable effect on company's position in our rating. A similar situation is with Albatron, Soltek, Chaintech, who used to sell well in Russia and had a lot of fans.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Intel Chipset Developer nomination

Intel's leadership in designing chipsets for its own processors was practically unchallenged last year (78.9%). Competitors noticeably pressed this company in 2005, leaving less than 60% for the giant.

One of Intel's offenders is NVIDIA, 3111 users or 22.4% voted for it. The modern high-performance nForce4 SLI Intel Edition has become one of the most popular chipsets for gamers, who prefer Intel. So a silver medal is a worthy award to a relatively young chipmaker.

Another large company, whose main profile is state-of-the-art graphics cards - ATI, is also gradually increasing its presence on the Intel chipsets market. The company has grown its share in the poll by 5% and reached 13.1%. But it still seems not enough for a state-of-the-art and attractive solution, such as Xpress 200. We hope that in 2006 ATI managers, who managed to significantly increase ATI's presence on the market of video cards several years ago, will turn their attention to the motherboards market and will make their solutions more popular.

iXBT Brand 2005: AMD Chipset Developer nomination

VIA chipsets for AMD used to be the most popular solutions not long ago. But now users have practically no questions as for what chipset must be used in a motherboard. NVIDIA managed not only to keep a high standard of 70.6% voters, but even increased it to 73%. That's why the first position in this nomination is given to NVIDIA.

ATI is a novice leader in this nomination. Having gained 1833 votes in this poll (13.1%), ATI made a 10% dash and pushed VIA off the top three. Out of doubt, it's a good result. But as in case of the Intel platform, we shall hope for more noticeable ATI's presence on the chipset market.

940 people, who voted for AMD as a chipset maker for AMD processors, are a better result, than 854 votes last year. Nevertheless, this loss exceeds 1% percentagewise, which is not surprising considering that AMD currently manufactures chipsets for its processors only in the server market segment.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Graphics Processor (GPU) Developer nomination

NVIDIA broke the three-year leadership of ATI, having won 57.6% of voters. That was a well-deserved award. These days the company offers the fastest and the most fine-tuned graphics solutions. NVIDIA's pricing policy allows to choose a balanced solution practically for any income level. It didn't happen in a day. In 2003 ATI occupied the first position in our poll with its 70% of votes. Last year NVIDIA's solutions captured 44% of our readers, this year already 57.6% of the poll participants placed it on top of the rating, awarding it with gold.

ATI started to prove oneself in the right only by the end of the year. It goes without saying that new video cards of the new X1x00 series find its users. But if we face the truth, X1800XT prices are too high, Middle-End cards only started to appear on the market in noticeable quantities, and the X1300 price does not match its functionality. If ATI takes this issues into account in 2006, we have chances to see a gripping battle next year.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, TV Tuners Manufacturer nomination

AverMedia is the most popular brand on the Russian market of TV tuners. AverMedia is traditionally interested in the Russian market. All its models have modifications, adapted to Russian conditions, proper signal quality and broadcasting. All the products have localized menus and User's Guides in Russian. It was evidently marked by 6500 users, who voted for this brand. But still AverMedia should hear the first alarm. The company lost 15% of our active readers for a year. In our opinion, it has to do with the dynamic development of the TV tuner market in the first place - other manufacturers are also trying to bite off their share of the pie and they introduce more aggressive pricing and marketing policy. As for now, AverMedia has 50% of our readers' votes. That's a good start for strengthening positions in future.

Pinnacle is better known as a brand of expensive video editing systems. But to all appearances, the company did justice to the market of TV tuners and we can see a noticeable growth of solutions from this company for Russian retailers. 11.3% is a good start for future growth.
Beholder is only slightly behind with its high-quality TV tuners (BeholdTV brand), Columbus series in particular. Behold Columbus can certainly boast of convenient software (localized into Russian), original plug-in system, generally good image quality, audio quality, post processing features, and responsive tech support service. Nearly fivefold growth to 11% compared to the previous year - excellent growth worthy of the silver medal.

GOTVIEW remains on the same position, but now it can pretend only for the bronze. Anyway, GOTVIEW was the first to create a full-featured technical support forum for such devices in Russia. Plus it uses one of the best alternative programs (FlyDS) as its standard software.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Video Cards nomination

That's probably the most stable nomination. Our readers again declared ASUSTeK the best manufacturer of video cards, 32.7% votes. ASUS gradually gives ground in this nomination from year to year. At this tempo we shall see a small intrigue next year.

Sapphire is in the same situation, having lost about 6% last year versus 2003, this year Sapphire has lost another 5% of votes. Nevertheless, the results are very high, considering that Sapphire is one of the key ATI partners. Unlike ASUSTeK, it offers video cards based on Canadian chips only. So if we take into account weaker positions of the main chip vendor, Sapphire's results do not seem that low anymore.

But Gigabyte seems not to have missed an opportunity to snap off a bit of ASUS and Sapphire's fans, having gained about 4% versus the last year. Gigabyte collected 11.6% of votes in this poll. These results allowed the company to take the bronze.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Optical Storage Devices nomination

In our previous poll we decided to merge nominations for readers and recorders of all types. Fortunately, today you can buy a decent device for a couple dozens of dollars and it will be able to read and record nearly all media types.
In 2004 NEC pushed the former leader off the podium - TEAC, who used to manufacture excellent CD-ROM drives at reasonable prices in the past. Even in 2003 we noted the dropping popularity curve for TEAC. As a result, inexpensive but rather reliable and functional NEC drives brought this company 43.7% of votes and the right to take the first place.

16.1%, 12.2%, and now 9.9%: that's the history of Plextor's brand development in our readers' minds. Out of doubt, Plextor has always been a special brand among optical drives. But the times, when Plextor was a synonym of reliability, are passing. These drives are getting closer to inexpensive models from their competitors, which is quite natural. Nobody needs super reliability for many years anymore. Two-three years are a good service life for an optical storage drive. A new standard may quite appear by that time and these new models will cost the same couple dozens of dollars. We'll see what will happen in our next poll. As for now, the company has a silver model.

Pioneer pushed TEAC out this year, having won 6.9% of all votes. It's difficult to tell whether Pioneer became better or TEAC became worse. But the fact remains - Pioneer gets the bronze medal in 2005.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Optical Storage Media nomination

Verbatim, a giant of the media market, has always offered clients high-quality and up-to-date products. Over 3900 people (37.5%) gave their votes to this manufacturer in the last year poll. This year the share has grown to 40.1%. Verbatim has been carrying the garland for the fourth year already, so the gold is in safe hands.

Another large player on this market, TDK, has won confidence of 22.0% voters, thus improving its previous results by 5% and surpassing the 2003 level.

Perhaps Mirex lacks these very tenths of percent (that raised TDK) to win the bronze medal. Mirex got 4.4% of voters, while it must have collected not less than 5% to enter the top three. Sony and Philips are close on the heels of Mirex. They also lack several tenths of percent to aspire to the iXBT Brand title.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Hard Disks nomination

"Fish" from Seagate is still more popular than "caviar" from Western Digital. Seagate has been keeping its leading position for the fourth year already - it won nearly 50% of our readers. After Seagate merged Maxtor, we can expect the leader in this nomination to strengthen its positions in the next poll.

Western Digital is the eternal competitor of Seagate, not an easy mission, especially due to some stereotypes about the WD product quality. But WD is getting better, the company added 1.5% to its 2004 results, practically reaching its 2003 results.

We still remember the words of Samsung marketing department that the Koreans would take up nearly a third of the HDD market.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Integrated Audio nomination

Integrated audio solutions are getting better and attain to the heights that were previously inaccessible even to inexpensive discrete solutions. People still suffer from stereotypes about integrated audio. Out of their narrow-mindedness, they tried to express them in our poll, though we earnestly requested not to do it. Anyway, the last year leader (NVIDIA) didn't continue to develop its APU. So as a rule, motherboards on nForce 4 have an integrated audio solution from Realtek/Avance Logic (ALC). Nearly every other motherboard uses Realtek audio solutions. Our readers surely noticed that and Realtek has broken away from its competitors (60.5%) and has taken the top position.

C-Media has always followed Realtek. The current poll is not an exception. CMI chips are a tad less popular among motherboard manufacturers, but their audio quality is comparable to Realtek. Like the last year, there are a tad more than 18% of fans of this company. Leaving the first place to Realtek, C-Media is the only silver winner, while it shared the second place with its competitor in 2004.

Analog Devices do not design audio solutions only, far from it. AD is also into designing chips for mobile headsets, ADC for wireless communications, and other important micro components. As NVIDIA disappeared from the list of integrated audio leaders, Analog Devices managed to take the bronze medal, having added 4% to its last year's results.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, PCI and USB Sound Cards nomination

Creative has been an unconditional leader on the sound cards market. At least, 11509 readers are of this opinion, which makes no less than 84.8%. We even thought about awarding Creative with a platinum brand title and consider it a class in itself. Perhaps we shall do accordingly next time, unless Creative gives up the market of discrete sound cards, having switched to something else.

Considering the fact that the other brands didn't manage to scrape even 5% votes, it would have been groundless to reward them with silver or bronze with these results.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Barebone-kits Manufacturer nomination

Stylish Terminators and unusual S-pressos are offered by ASUS as a complete solution for home and office. 4537 people agree with this positioning, which brings ASUS to the top line in this nomination.

Shuttle made a little dash this year, having collected nearly a quarter of all iXBT.com votes. This brand didn't even get 19% last year. In our opinion, such noticeable changes have to do with the active position of the company in the beginning of the year. Since midyear, when the company had some personnel changes, Shuttle noticeably decreased its activity on the Russian market, which will certainly have an effect on the next year's results, unless the company changes its attitude to our market.

MSI, who had (and still has) chances to replace Shuttle on the second place, lost some points in 2005. 12.5% versus 17.6% in 2004 allow the company to keep its third place, but leave much room for manoeuvre. At the same time, a novice in this nomination, Foxconn, has already come close to the top five.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Portable MP3 Players Manufacturer nomination

If we have a look at iriver results, we'll notice a considerable breakaway from the nearest competitors. But if we monitor the results for the last three years, we'll see that iriver is gradually "losing weight". If more than a half of our readers voted for iriver two years ago, the number of fans lost 4% last year and 12% this year. Having scored 32.9%, this brand keeps the first position. We shall see whether iriver will be able to win the gold in a year.

The blame for the iriver popularity drop partly lies with iPod MP3 players from Apple. Apple raised its MP3 players from the fourth to the second position in our poll due to its activities, promoting iPod as a stylish and fashionable accessory for young people, a number of marketing programs, as well as cooperation with a number of famous companies (including automobile companies).

Sony and Creative are in the same position this year. While Sony already tried the bronze medal on in 2004, Creative has this honour for the first time, as the trendsetter in the field of discrete sound cards had been keeping the second position in our rating for two years.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, PC Acoustics nomination

SVEN has been leading in our polls for the four years already. A snug part of the company's success is due to the SVEN-Audio brand manufacturing Hi-Fi componentry. At the same time, popularity of this brand is obviously declining. This year the company has scraped only 23.5% votes, while 29.7% voters preferred this company last year. A year before it was 41.8% of iXBT.com readers, participating in the poll - two percents more than in 2002.

If there are fewer votes here, there must be more votes somewhere else. Microlab evidently got more votes and managed to press Creative - having added another 2.5% to its votes, this company got the silver medal.

On the contrary, Creative yielded some ground, though very insignificantly. 1% or less may not play an important role in real life, but losing precious tenths of a percent in our poll may rob a brand of a higher title.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Digital Cameras nomination

Following the success of previous years, Canon has again reached the top, winning 37.5% of votes (5112 people). Canon is recognized and used by many professionals as the most functional cameras, our poll is just another proof of that fact.

Nikon has taken advantage of Olympus weakening and occupied the second position for the first time in its history. Nearly two thousand poll participants think that this company is worthy of the iXBT Brand title, but their votes do not extend beyond silver.

In 2003 Olympus could compete with Canon, winning 31.5% of votes. The brand looked noticeably worse in 2004, going down to 19.3%. This year has taken another 7.2% of votes from this vendor. What will happen next year?

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Digital Video Cameras nomination

Sony is a positive leader on the market of consumer electronics, which equally concerns the market of video cameras. Nearly half of poll participants voted for the Japanese giant, raising it to the top in this nomination.

Panasonic also feels confident on the consumer market, which is in its turn projected on more complex devices, such as digital video cameras. 19% of votes brought the second place to this company, who pushed down Canon.

Having lost 6% for this year, Canon went down to the third position, while it had shared the second place with Panasonic last year. Considering Canon's success on the digital camera market, we can assume that these difficulties are temporary and the brand will get better next year.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, LCD Monitors nomination

Samsung. Did you have any doubts in the beginning of this poll, I wonder? Monitors from the Korean giant have always been deservedly popular for their decent image quality and moderate prices. 3804 (27.6%) users think that Samsung is still worthy of the "iXBT Brand" title this year.

Thanks to high-quality monitors, NEC has been improving its positions from year to year. This year NEC has gained nearly 3%, reaching 16.4%, while this brand had taken only the fourth position the year before last. Of course, it's still far from Samsung, but the growth tempo is good.

BenQ is a relatively new, but very aggressive player on this market. Last year the company shared the third place with three grand brands, such as Sony and LG, losing only part of a percent to both vendors. But this year BenQ pushed its competitors from the third position and got the bronze medal only to itself.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, CRT Monitors nomination

The Korean giant still pays enough attention to the CRT market by offering high quality and inexpensive solutions. It's for the first time that Samsung got fewer votes in this nomination than in LCD nomination. 3540 votes or 26.4% voters selected this brand as the leader.

As Mitsubishi didn't make it for the top three, Iiyama has taken the second place, though with some losses, compared to the last year. 15.6% versus 17.0% last year - the losses are small, the company managed to take the silver model even with them; but on the whole the company should be more active on the market, so that the brand that follows Iiyama couldn't catch up with this company next year.

LG also lost some votes this year for the same reasons - Mitsubishi was pushed out of top three, LG goes to the third position even with worse results.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Ink-Jet Printers nomination

Last year our poll didn't show a definite leader between HP and Epson. But this year the scale has been tipped to the American company. Having lost some weight, HP still managed to take the first place with its 35.3% of votes.

Epson puts up a good fight. Especially taking into account a considerable (nearly 10%) lag from HP the year before last and a near parity last year. We hope that the fight in 2006 will be just as gripping.

As the hot contest between HP and Epson goes on, Canon gradually strengthens its positions, growing its influence on our readers by 4.8% to 23.9% in the expiring year.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Laser Printers nomination

Of course, HP's success on the laser printing market is far from Creative's success in the field of discrete audio. Nevertheless, HP leadership in laser printing is hard to challenge. The company possesses a great number of proprietary designs and impressive experience in this field. 8139 (60.2%) people consider HP laser printers to be the best in 2005 as well.

As in case with ink-jet printers, Canon does not make any sharp movements, but it gradually lures users away from its competitors, converting them to its fans. Such a policy allowed this brand to take the second place in our poll, leaving only the third place to Samsung.

Of course, one percent lost would have had no effect on Samsung's positions in our rating, but we can still see a small popularity drop among our readers. 1168 readers or 8.6% allowed Samsung to take the third position in the laser printers nomination.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Scanners nomination

HP takes a less confident stand on the market of scanning devices. It's not the last year's 32.0% (3312 readers), and 40% the year before last (2657 readers), but a tad less than a third in the current poll (4018 readers) that marked HP in this nomination.

HP is again followed by Epson that lags behind the leader by just 3%. 3628 people or 27.6% of all voters consider Epson to make the most considerable contribution into the development of scanning industry in 2005. Only 26.2% of readers agreed with it last year, 24.8% a year before.

Canon might have pretended for the Guerrilla of the Year title. Laser printers, ink-jet printers, and now scanners, where Canon pushed out Mustek, having captured the third place. 12.8% of voters preferred this brand and raised Canon to the bronze places.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Mice nomination

Logitech with its reliable, functional, and stylish mice earned recognition of 7753 users (55.8%). Popularity of this brand even increased percentagewise, as the company fosters its presence and reputation on the market. We are happy to congratulate this company with the iXBT Brand 2005 title.

Mice are usually consumables, very few users can afford to spend dozens of dollars on a new "rodent". A4Tech, offering inexpensive, but reliable solutions, deserved 14.5% of votes. Compared to last year, the company remains on the same position, its share of fans increased only by 0.4%.

What concerns Genius, this brand is gradually losing its Brand #1 in the World potential. Only 10.2% of poll participants marked Genius as their favourite, compared to 11.9% last year.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Keyboards nomination

Aside from good mice, Logitech manufactures just as attractive keyboards. Over 40% of our readers prefer this very manufacturer. Logitech demonstrates noticeable growth in this nomination compared to previous years.

Genius' positions on the keyboard front are better than in the previous nomination. At least they are more stable. 13.2% of poll participants (exactly the same percent as the last year) voted for Genius, which allowed this company to keep the second position.

While literally two votes allowed Mitsumi to rise to the second position two years ago, this and last years Mitsumi was losing its advantage to Genius. Mitsumi got 13.7% votes two year ago, it was already 11.9% a year later. Now Mitsumi collected only 8.8% of votes. A very little more and Microsoft will replace its competitor on the third place.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Handheld Computers/PDA nomination

HP is currently the largest manufacturer of handhelds with the richest product line. It should be noted that the Pocket PC competition has drastically deteriorated recently, as this market lost its financial attractions to manufacturers. For some unknown reason (that's what it looks like in the CIS) they practically stopped developing the PDA branch - they either left the market or switched to communicators or navigators.
The number of votes for HP went down a little to 33.9%, after a last year's swift upward flight from 16.6% to 38.2%. But the brand still retains its top position.

ASUStek, Computer, Inc. is not the most active player on the PDA market. The model line of handhelds from this company is rather narrow. It debuted with the successful MyPal A600 that indulged users with a fast Intel XScale PXA250 processor, a convenient case, and a capacious battery. The following model (MyPal A620), especially its BlueTooth modification, took one of the leading positions in the $400 price segment, which allowed ASUS to take the second line in the Handheld/PDA nomination last year. The company still occupies this position with its 2390 votes (19.0%).

palm is an intricate brand. Despite its popularity, this manufacturer is not very stable. Palm OS has been making no headway for several years, everybody was waiting for the release of "revolutionary" Palm 6 Cobalt. In the long run the company discontinued development of the sixth version and switched to the new Linux-based version, which will come out in mid 2006 at best.
Two years ago we noted a nearly 10% popularity drop of this brand to 13.3% last year. The current result is 12.8% of palm fans.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, ADSL Modems nomination

ADSL modems is a new nomination in our poll, which came to replace analog modems. Leaders have changed together with the nomination, but the first position in the ADSL segment, as in case with analog solutions, is also occupied by ZyXEL, who aggressively promotes its solutions on the Russian market. The coming of broadband Internet to many homes was connected with the appearance of an ADSL model from ZyXEL. As a result, 44.1% of poll participants voted for "that very ZyXEL"

D-Link is popular for its affordable prices and sufficient quality. D-Link is the first company, who offered retail wireless devices on the mass market. It currently offers a wide range of devices for building networks of any scale. These facts didn't avoid notice of our readers, 3305 of them voted for this brand.

U.S.Robotics analog modems had long been a quality standard in Russia. Plenty of firmware versions, detailed documentation and command descriptions allowed to configure these modems properly even in the worst phone lines with step-by-step exchange. State-of-the-art standards do not allow this brand to feel at ease on the market, as it did before. Hence the bronze and 7.3% of "captured" readers.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Chassis nomination

InWin is an old-timer on the market of chassis. Many users, who have been working with computers at least since 486 models, must remember InWin as a manufacturer of high-quality and relatively expensive chassis. Strict design and well thought-out layout have always attracted system integrators, who preferred to work with InWin chassis. A quarter of poll participants are of the same opinion, having voted for InWin.

Thermaltake PC cases are always expensive and always stylish. As a rule, the quality of Thermaltake chassis matches the price, though there are some offensive exceptions. Nevertheless, when you think of modding, Thermaltake almost always comes to mind. It takes the second place in our poll with its 15% votes.

"Is it a vacuum cleaner?" - these were the first words of the majority of users, when they saw ASUSTeK chassis of the VENTO series. Even considering that ASUS has a wide line of MINI and MID TOWER chassis, it's VENTO that allowed ASUS to rise to the third place in our poll (thanks to its original design), having outscored such brands as Chieftec and Foxconn, who specialize in building chassis.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, PSU nomination

Everybody knows that aside from InWin, Powerman brand is also used by Nienchance and that Inwin PSUs are called (and have always been) Powerman, even when they used to be manufactured by FSP (they had been initially marked as SPI, Sparkle Power Inc.) But several year ago InWin decided to start its own production of PSUs. As a rule, these models are installed into InWin chassis, but power supply units from this vendor can be also bought in retail. InWin's high reputation evidently ensured its high position in our poll. This brand rose to the top place with its 20% of votes.

As in case of chassis, Thermaltake PSU is a modder product in the first place - many Watts, nice illuminated fans, attractive shiny metal. Some people like Thermaltake's features, the others don't. Anyway, there are hardly any computer enthusiasts, who are indifferent to products from this company. Our poll showed that there are quite many fans of this brand, namely 12.5% of our poll participants.

Power supply units from FSP Group are well-known in our parts. As we have already mentioned, PSUs from this manufacturer were widely used by InWin in its PC cases in the past. FSP Group is quite a large OEM manufacturer of power supply units. For example, Aopen PC cases are equipped with these models. Most products from this company come to our market as OEM. FSP Group products have become popular in Russia thanks to their good price/quality ratio. By the quality we mean the quality of manufacturing and assemblage proper as well as electric parameters of a PSU. Poll 2005 has given 11.5% of the respondents to FSP.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Notebooks nomination

ASUSTeK has been fighting for the top line in our rating for three years, gradually improving its results. Last year the company gained its end - a quarter of voters had preferred this Taiwanese manufacturer, which allowed ASUS to take the first place with its 2452 votes (24.1%). This year has brought additional votes to ASUS, but the brand remains on the same level in percentage terms - 24.2%, staying on top.

Year 2005 Surprise. Acer had not risen above the tenth position for several years, but now it literally snatched a silver medal from Toshiba. This vendor attacked the market in 2005, having become practically a sole master of the notebook sector "below $1000". Acer has mobilized popular support and taken the second place with 11.9% votes.

The years of Toshiba's supreme leadership in this nomination have gone never to return. Nevertheless, Toshiba still seems to be in euphoria. It's hard to find a more inactive company, whose users are lured away by other companies before its eyes. If Toshiba pursues the same course, next year we may see a different bronze winner, for example, Fujitsu-Siemens, actively growing in our rating.

iXBT Brand 2005: Readers' Choice, Mobile Phones Manufacturer nomination

Nokia has been one of sales leaders on the Russian market for a long time. A constantly updated range of mobile sets, abundance of functions, stylish designs - these are not all features, meant by 34.6% of voters, who marked Nokia - this company gained nearly 5% compared to the last year.

Sony Ericsson is probably the only manufacturer of mobile headsets, who hasn't dived into hyper productivity. Of course, it offered more models this year than the last year. But as always, they are all piece-works, not base models plus a new case and a tiny functional difference. This policy suits 22.6% of users, who voted for this brand and raised it to the second place.

Of course, various "motos", ridden to death, hardly allowed Motorola to rise from the fifth to the second position. But the pressing marketing policy of the company played a certain role in this issue. Besides, Motorola is currently the only manufacturer of mobile terminals of the leading echelon, which develops its own line of MS Smartphones (MS Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphones) as well as very affordable headsets with Bluetooth. That's why a bronze medal is a worthy result, proportional to Motorola's efforts exerted last year.

January 17, 2006

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