With the increasing popularity of tablets, e-readers, Smartphones, and other portable devices, many in the computer industry are predicting that the desktop-bound personal computer will slowly slip into obsolescence. Of course, the PC’s demise has been predicted since at least 1999, and they’re still common in both businesses and home offices. Yet there’s no denying that desktop computers and, to a lesser extent, laptop sales are slumping while tablet and Smartphone sales soar.
The Mobility Issue
The main force driving this trend is mobility. If you’re shopping for Ford Mustang parts, you can’t lug your desktop PC down to the store to compare local prices with online stores. Even a laptop is too cumbersome to carry everywhere.
Ah, but portable devices. Stick your Smartphone in your pocket or a tablet in a bag and you’re ready to go. Connectivity through Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G has become so ubiquitous that most people assume they can access the Internet from anywhere. In most cases, they’re right to make that assumption. Certainly younger users want devices that go wherever they do.
Will PCs Survive?
Proponents of the PC argue that desktop computers have greater processing power, larger monitors, and greater storage options than portable devices, but with every year these arguments lose ground. Cloud storage and anywhere-you-want-it Internet connectivity has made a device’s internal storage less important, and advances in storage technology mean even a mid-line Smartphone can store several gigabytes of information.
As for processing power, yes, in this area the PC still reigns supreme. But again, how important is processing power going to be in the future? Cloud-powered devices could make a device’s processing power unimportant. By the time you get to the larger monitor argument you detect an air of desperation to the pro-PC argument. Any portable device worth its salt can connect to a HDTV or computer monitor.
Steve Jobs on the PC
Steve Jobs, who had a pretty good track record when it came to predicting how people use technology, didn’t think that the PC would go extinct. Instead, he speculated that the PCs of the future would be “like trucks.” While necessary for large scale transportation, few people need to own their own truck. Jobs felt the same would be true for the desktop computer: while important for specific tasks, most people will be better served by smaller, more portable, and versatile devices. These are strong thoughts coming from the man who helped to popularize the notion of the personal computer in the first place.
So no, the desktop PC is not yet dead, nor is it likely to fade away anytime soon. But just as candles gave way to gas lighting, and gas to the light bulb, so too are PCs slowly giving way to portable devices. Eventually those new devices will be replaced by something else. There may come a time when carrying a Smartphone to check the price of Mustang accessories sounds as ludicrous and unwieldy as carrying a PC does today.
Author Byline: I am an internet marketer, and blogging fanatic, who loves to write about business, the current economy, anything marketing, and SEO. I also am an avid outdoors-man, who loves hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking. You can also follow my opinions on soccer and sports at http://www.localsoccernews.com. Tweet me @shanejones15 about anything! I’d be happy to talk!