It has been established that the PC market is under threat from the new crop of smart mobile computing devices. It is down to a struggle for desktop PC’s basic existence, as predicted, and the results have just begun to emerge. The first quarter sales report of desktop and laptop is no secret, and the sharp 14 percent decline in sales is demonstrative, to say the least. That’s the figure that International Data Corp has suggested, though Gartner has come up with the gentler figure of an 11 percent decline. Not surprisingly, with Microsoft having a vice like grip on the segment, it is considered to have contributed to the slide more than anyone else. The recently released Windows 8 is being held as the number one villain that analysts believe may have actually led to the slide rather than help prevent it. Blaming the shaky world economic scenario won’t help either, as the desktop is sliding faster into obscurity even when the economy is showing signs of bouncing back.
The reason behind the shift in consumer preference towards portable computing devices such as tablet PCs is understandable considering the tablet’s immense convenience. Tablet devices are handy, offer excellent computing power, and respond to touch based inputs, negating the need for external pointing devices such as a mouse. They offer extreme convenience for almost all general purpose computing needs. Compare these to the desktops that are bulky and immense compared to tablets. Tablets are even handier than laptop or notebook devices.
However, with this being the state of affairs in the traditional computing scene, putting the entire blame on Windows 8 alone would be a bit harsh. If the new gen platform from Microsoft alone is to be blamed for the poor show, consumers could still have bought the Windows 7 based PCs on the market. Besides, the trend isn’t just limited to the Windows based PCs. Apple is also having to cope with reduced demand for its PCs, while its iPad is scaling new heights in sales almost every quarter.
It’s the gradual but seemingly firm shift in consumer preference that should be held responsible for the decline in PC sales. Consumers have had enough with the desktops and laptops and nothing is more exciting now than the new sleek tablet devices. It’s something they can carry everywhere, does not need to be tethered to a single place, and can perform most computing jobs as well. Of course, there is also the cost factor associated with it as tablets typically cost just a fraction of what desktops and laptops cost (around $1500). A tablet can cost anywhere between $200 to $700, depending on the display size and other configurations.
Also, while still on Windows 8 and the decline in sales of PCs, what should also be taken into consideration is that the former has opened up an entirely new segment of computing, that of hybrid tablet devices. While demand for these is still in the early states, these are expected to be the future of personal computing. These offer the best of both worlds, a tablet when the display is used in isolation or a netbook offering 10+ hours of runtime when attached with the keypad unit. The way the computing segment might shape up in the future is that the tablet devices will be used for those who need it for entertainment or general purpose computing while the hybrid tablet could be the ideal solution for those who need some serious computing.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is working on an update to its Windows 8 OS in the form of Windows 8.1 Blue. Slated to be released this summer, Blue can do what Windows 7 did to Vista. While it would be interesting to see if it can arrest the decline in PC sales, it remains to be seen if Microsoft can turn things around. In short, we have reached a crossroads and there plenty of changes are happening very fast. We will let things settle down a bit before we jump to any firm conclusions.
Sovan Mandal is the senior tablet and tech corespondent for goodereader.com. He brings a international approach to news that is not just applicable to the North American market, but also Asia, India, Europe and others. Sovy brings his own writing flavor to the website and is interested in Science Fiction, Technology and Writing. Any questions, send an email