Stop talking about this “post-PC” era

April 9, 2013
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Is desktop computing dead?

Is desktop computing dead? (Image credit: Shutterstock)

As a tech blogger as well as an Android user, mobile is a big part of my life. Smartphones and tablets have irremediably shaped the way we think of, and the way we use technology to serve our various purposes. But although mobile is here to stay, I feel like too many tech bloggers advertise the death of the PC. To me, nothing could be farther from the truth!

As mobile devices are being mostly used to do light stuff such as browsing the web or consuming content, there is no sign that the PC is now obsolete. Sure, the PC industry took a major blow and will have to adapt to the new circumstances and trends before it fully recovers, but it is my opinion that the PC will never become obsolete.

Consumption vs. Production

For starters, when you compare a PC against an equally priced tablet, the difference in computing power is huge, and more and more people now need this extra power: can you render graphics on your tablet? Can you edit videos? Can you edit/produce music at a decent level? Can you play graphically intensive games? How much data can your mobile device store? To illustrate, my desktop currently holds 2TB of data, and while the cloud may be an interesting solution, there are some files that are just too large to be instantly uploaded and downloaded from the Internet.

As tablets will undoubtedly continue to carry more and more processing horsepower, modern PCs will still continue to be much faster than their mobile competitors, mainly due to the cost of miniaturization. In addition, the PC supports true, real-time multi-tasking, which is a must for a lot of professionals.

Why am I putting so much emphasis on the professional side of the PC? Because more and more people do their job on a PC, that’s why! And as all companies struggle to keep costs down, most employed people will continue to have a PC in front of them at work for a couple of reasons: first of all, it is much more comfortable to type on a keyboard and follow data on a 24 inch display (as compared to a tablet + keyboard combo), and it is also cheaper.

Are hybrids good enough?

I am aware that keyboard accessories can turn your tablet into a netbook, but the price of an Apple iPad + keyboard dock is exactly the price of a much more powerful PC opponent. The keyboard dock only extends a tablet’s functionality, but it is a long way before I consider that combination as a nemesis for my amazing Lenovo Thinkpad L530.

Additionally, it is my opinion that desktop PCs will continue to remain the “go-to” solution when you need as much performance as you can get, because they can suck out all the energy they want from a power plug. This advantage will never go away and might lead to the adoption of static data-centers in tomorrow’s homes, where all the data is held and processed on the PC, and just streamed to other devices around the house, in a way that could be very similar to a router allowing access to the Internet.

And for as long as desktop PCs will have a place at home or at the office, the laptop PC market will always be there to provide a mobile version of the same experience. In addition, just look at how compact these new Ultrabooks are. In my eyes, the extra power and cross compatibility that they offer is worth the ever tinier price to pay for their extra volume.

Obsolescence might just be a trend

But if the PC is not becoming obsolete, what’s going on with the poor PC sales for the past couple of years? My guess is that the huge amount of tablets sales bitten from that of PCs is largely due to the fact that plenty customers are willing to get a new (and trendy) device rather than update their desktop / laptop. But that does not mean they have or will stop using it. In fact, some recent reports already claim that the PC industry will rebound during the second quarter of 2013.

As tech advancements in the PC universe reach unprecedented levels, expect a lot of people to consider getting a new, extremely powerful PC in the next three to four years.

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