Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/183381/are-pcs-dying-of-course-not-heres-why/
Reports of the PC’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. We’ve all heard that everyone’s just buying tablets and throwing out their keyboards and mice. But, if you live in the real world, you see people using PCs every day.
Great post, Chris. I agree with you 100% on people just simply not needing to upgrade any more. They're plenty fast and seem to last quite a while. Come to think of it, that's why I like desktop PCs so much too. They're also ridiculously easy to upgrade and usually inexpensive to maintain (upgrading a small part here n there).
This is a 100% accurate assessment, no matter how unglamorous it may be to tech bloggers.
Of course Tablet sales skyrocketed over the past few years. When you go from ZERO, everything is a 100% gain.
Of course PC sales (counting Macs & Linux too) have declined. The market got tighter and equipment got better. PCs last longer. Plus, with the shift to web apps, they don't need to be as powerful.
Here's a simple exercise to see if PC's are dying:
Get 1 Million Tablet owners in a room (over the age of 12).
Ask them to raise their hands if they don't own/use a PC daily.
Not too many hands.
Eventually, as tablets become more powerful and compatible with a wider range of software and apps, the use of the PC will be much less.
Thank you HTG! I have two tower PCs, and I don't plan to replace either of them.
The reduction in PC sales is just history repeating itself when Microsoft releases a new operating system that sucks. Gartner reports that global PC shipments fell 10 percent in 2013, returning to 2009 levels, marking the worst decline ever. Businesses and consumers didn’t want Windows Vista (2009), nor Windows 8 (2013). So these unpopular Windows versions lead to falling hardware sales and many hardware manufacturers took a financial hit as people wait for the next version of Windows. Windows 8 was released 16 months ago and now has 10% of the marketshare of all operating systems—one-third of the percentage for Windows XP. Windows expert Expert Paul Thurrott stated that Windows 8 is a disaster and “has set back Microsoft and Windows by years, and possibly for good.” The corollary to that is that Microsoft's mistakes set back hardware manufacturers, some for good.
This doesn't take into account people buying just parts for their computer. I don't buy a PC anymore. I buy the parts and make my own. Now with all the sales on PC gaming compared to console gaming people will buy those over the console games.
I don't think anyone disputes that the tablet PC of tomorrow will be as powerful as the desktop PC of today...
But the desktop PC of tomorrow will always be more powerful than the tablet PC of tomorrow. That's just a matter of geometry and physics: you can always stuff more and better hardware in a PC case, and there's something to be said for using 20"+ monitors.
Personally, I think that tablets will become a replacement for laptops, but until some technology comes around that completely replaces silicon processors running Von Neumnan machines, bigger will continue to be better.
Excellent point about upgrades, going back like 10-15 years ago you had to upgrade every couple of years as PCs would get outdated very quickly to the point where even basic stuff like newer browsers and office software would struggle, not to mention the dire driver support that existed in the late 90s early 2000s. I remember buying a laptop in 2006 and it lasted til 2011 until the screen died and it became uneconomical to repair, and during that time I didn't see a need to upgrade, nowadays PCs with basic dual core chips and a couple of gig of ram can easily handle everyday tasks without an issue, unless you need a a powerful PC for work games etc, a cheap old machine is fine.
I've had my current laptop for nearly 3 years, it's a got a basic AMD A6 chip, 6 gb of ram and it does everything I need it to do so I'll probably use it til it dies a death lol
Windows 8 touchscreen pain
Indeed, Apple's Steve Jobs – not usually one to dismiss a pretty gadget on the grounds of uselessness – once said he'd never launch a touchscreen laptop because of what he called "gorilla arm".
"We've done tons of user testing on this," he said back in 2010, "and it turns out it doesn't work. Touch surfaces don't want to be vertical. It gives great demo, but after a short period of time you start to fatigue, and after an extended period of time, your arm wants to fall off."
It is possible, of course, to position a laptop so that the screen is reachable without lifting the elbows from the desk; but this means bringing it much closer than most people find comfortable visually.
Microsoft's online advice on using a PC safely doesn't mention touchscreens at all – and, ironically, instructs users to avoid just those movements that a touchscreen notebook demands.
A company spokesperson said Microsoft had no advice for users about safe use of the Surface touchscreen, and no comment about possible health issues.”
“Although we reached out to Microsoft for this story, the company did not respond to our request to comment.
In order to touch the display on a notebook with that capability, users either have to fully extend their arm (bad and uncomfortable), lean forward (bad and awkward) or move the display closer (bad for your vision).”
In order to interact with a touch UI for longer periods of time, I think that you would need something like an eye tracker built into the tablet or notebook.
There are consumer-level eye trackers that are available now, and were demoed at CES.
Look at any interface widget to highlight it, and then touch the keyboard to activate and select it. It can basically turn a non-touch screen into a touchscreen.
The Asus Transformer and Microsoft Surface are the perfect example of how you can have touch screens and conventional pointing devices on the same unit.
Personally, I would use the heck out of a touchscreen device that has the CPU and GPU power of my current laptop; if it was built like the Asus Transformer, that's all the laptop/tablet I'd ever need.
Regardless, my point was that while tablets can replace laptops, there's no way they could ever replace desktops. Desktops will continue to be more advanced than portables for the very reason that they have access to more power and physical space.
I believe that in the future tablets are going to be used by the majority of people while PCs will only be used by companies and geeks. Tablets are so easy to use that people do not need help from geeks anymore. PCs still do.
I think this article forgot one thing: virtual machines.
Nearly everyone with a technical job in development needs multiple systems. However, in the last 5 years or so they've gone away from multiple physical computers to VMs. Now almost all of them have VMs. This is especially true for QA teams, which is a field that's expanding like crazy and we love VMs because you can replace a whole lab full of systems with a single server. Getting VMWare (or similar) on your desktop/laptop is also just a given now.
From my point of view, businesses need more systems than ever before, but they need fewer physical systems. That has to be causing at least some of the slowdown. As we move more toward SAS in the cloud, I'd expect this even more (no need to buy systems for in-house servers), although I don't know how many of those servers will simply be bought by the cloud service providers.
Does anyone know that PC means "personal computer".
As in a smartphone. An iphone is a PC
What everyone is looking to say here is "Desktop Computer" or "tower"
They're designed to be two different experiences...tablets/touchscreens are for quick, relatively simple tasks like checking email, calendar browsing so on. For the long, sit down jobs, keyboard and larger monitor are going to be more desirable. It's going to be hard for tablets to completely kill the desktops on this.
But what is a PC, anyway? “PC” really just stands for “personal computer,” but it’s become synonymous with Windows, Linux, and even Mac OS X desktops and laptops. Really, smartphones are tablets are just as much personal computers as laptops and desktops are. They run software and are much faster than the PCs many of us grew up with.
This right there, hits the nail on the head. It isn't that PCs are dying, its more like the lines that define a PC in the traditional sense is blurring.
Maybe the desktop form factor PC is dying as more and more people are buying laptops and tablets, but its a net effect of zero.
Considering that I've helped about twenty different people with their tablets in the past two weeks and that Amazon had to roll out some of their newer tablets with near instant support built in, people will always need help from tech savy people when it comes to their new tech. Hell, most people just get to a point where how they use tech "works" so they don't change or improve their methods at all and sometimes not even attempting to understand why the how works.
This exactly. I can run three different light linux distros in VMs on my main Linux Mint system at the same time. Personally, I will always prefer on-site server hosting just because it is more secure as well as easier to maintain since any company needing said server should be big enough to support that server completely.
Gaming and again Gaming! We, gamer's, especially fps gamer's would never leave our beloved PC for its power and two main things- a keyboard and a mouse!
So the conclusion? PCs will never die.Even if microsoft and all other big companies ever think to kill them.
Thanks. Good. Needed. I and many others knew this instinctively, but I did worry that producers might actually believe the nonsense and begin to wind down. I've just got my 1st smartphone, and it's fun, but I do proper stuff on my desktop. My laptop is old with XP, and is used in bed when it's too cold to sit at the desktop, and is really a readily modifiable backup drive. The desktop is the pilot seat.
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