The drama of increasing tablet and smartphone sales has lead many to claim a falling demand for PCs and their eventual fade from popular use. But despite claims from tablet advertising campaigns, the tablet is simply not a replacement for a PC. Both smartphones and tablets provide connectivity as well as entertainment in ways that extend the use of devices overall. But the combination between practicalities and innovations in the PC world will ensure that people are not yet ready to give up the functionality of a full computer.
A Different Experience
PCs, simply by being a bit bigger, can be more robust and powerful than tablets or smartphones. Manufacturers are always trying to improve the capacity of smaller devices, but no matter what, bigger is better in a lot of ways. Yes, fewer PCs were sold last year than the previous year or even the year before that, but there are still over 3 million units sold each year. Even hybrid style tablets with keyboards are no replacement for a full computer. While tablets are the new hot thing, it’s unlikely they’ll last as a consistent replacement.
Laptops are evolving towards tablets, getting thinner and lighter while still maintaining their flexibility in terms of performance and control. As newer Intel processors don’t need cooling fans, the need for space in a laptop is diminished. Screens are edging towards the outer border of laptops, just like tablet screens.
Fancy improvements to desktop computers are also being developed. The new iMac have ultra-high resolution and HP’s Sprout comes with a touch-sensitive mat rather than a keyboard. The Sprout is designed to integrate with 3D printers by using a special camera which can scan 3 dimensional objects.
A lot of the newer features will not appeal to mass audiences, but they don’t have to in order to make money for the companies with the high price tags attached. As features become more common and more widely desirable, the prices will come down and sales will increase. Meanwhile, in order to make themselves more desirable to consumers, a lot of PC makers are trying to go their own way in order to get the attention of consumers. PCs are running Google’s Chrome instead of Windows and some desktop monitors will be curved and huge, making video games and movies feel more dramatic.
PCs may be changing to suit the market, but they’re not going to be replaced.