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Are PCs going extinct? Some say not yet!

4 years 2 weeks ago

Walking down the street or during the daily commute in the subway, you probably notice that everyone is either using their smartphone or tablet. Listening to music, browsing social network sites, checking their mail or passing that tricky level in their favorite game. Such devices became so popular for users, we don't let go of them even in bed.

Is it true tablets and smartphones are replacing the good old PC?

Not that long ago, laptops were the queen bee of portable computing and were gradually replacing desktops. But times have changed. Fun and fancy touchscreens (tablets and smartphones) started to loudly knock down the doors of the PC castle.

According to IDC (The premier global market intelligence firm), by 2014 smartphones had grown to represent 73.4% of total smart connected devices shipments, while PCs had slipped to 16.8% and tablets had increased to 12.5%.  "For more people in more places, the smartphone is the clear choice in terms of owning one connected device," Tom Mainelli of IDC said in a statement.

You can do pretty much anything with your smartphone or tablet. You can take pictures, send e-mails, and book your annual vacation tickets, all using a compact device that fits the palm of your hand and rests comfortably in your pocket. Why would you bother at all with a bulky PC?

However, PCs are still fighting the good fight and are actually quite far from dying.

Statistics of the web tracker StatCounter's showed that between September 2014 to September  2015; People accessed the web more through PCs more than they did using smartphones and tablets. Tablets being actually the least.

5 reasons why laptops and desktops aren't dying soon

Before you go prepare the PC section in the museum of technological history, you may need to consider these things first:

1- PCs have more computing power that tablets and smartphones can't provide. Some of the sophisticated software and computer-aided design applications used by architects and designers need extensive CPU power. Similarly, a hardcore gamer will tell you they still prefer to run many games on a PC.

2- Touchscreens aren't made to write a book or a computer code. Of course, you can add a keyboard to the mix, but then again, how is that different from a laptop?  With PCs you also enjoy having a larger screen — maybe even multiple displays — and the ability to have more than one thing on screen at a time.

3- Cloud storage is becoming much of a trend, but there are still cases where you need solid-state storage. Computer hard drives are already over one TB and continuing to increase in size. PCs have the added plus of removable storage such as DVDs.

4- Smartphones and tablets have a short life span. With continuous software updates and irreplaceable batteries, you don’t get to willow in the happiness of your new gadget for long. Soon you’re struggling with the lag and thinking you should upgrade to a newer device, whereas, some of us have had the same PC for 5 years now and upgraded its individual components over the years to cope with changing needs and emerging capabilities.

5- PCs give you the freedom to install the operating system you want. With a tablet or a smartphone, you're pretty much stuck with the operating system that is installed at the factory. PCs offer the fully featured OS not the slimmed down version.

Moreover, Windows 8 was a “touch-first” operating system, where the desktop was “just an app". Microsoft was working towards removing the desktop from future versions of Windows. But that didn't happen.  Windows 10 came as a “mouse-and-keyboard-first” operating system. Microsoft has apparently realized that touch-based tablets alone aren’t the future. People will still be using PCs and Windows should be a good operating system for desktop usage.

Why then are PCs sales retreating?

People aren’t buying more PCs because they don't really need to. When windows vista came out, the XP-running PC needed an upgrade to accommodate to the new operating system. But today newer versions of Windows run just fine on the same hardware. Even gaming PCs built years ago can likely still run the latest PC games at high settings. Conversely, people are buying tablets and smartphones because those are getting better features every day.

There is still some hope for PCs

Mini-PCs are showing much promise, with new radically tiny computers that can fit into the palm of your hand. There are also convertibles that are (mostly) Windows PCs where you can detach the screen and use it as a standalone tablet, or rotate the screen to form a thick “tablet” with the keyboard underneath. This gives you a bit of the best of both worlds.

IDC predicts that until 2019, smartphones will probably continue to cannibalize the share of PCs and tablets. But PCs are not dying yet since people are likely to have more than one device in their possession. The type of tasks you'll be performing will make all the difference.

So What type of device do you predominantly use? Do you think you'll be throwing away your PC soon?

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