With competition from more convenient, less costly mobile computing devices like smartphones and tablets taking its toll on PC sales, will Microsoft's latest Windows operating system help get the PC market on firmer footing?
Worldwide PC shipments are now projected to decline in 2012 for the first time in 11 years, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli. In its latest forecast, released Wednesday (Oct. 10), IHS said it expects PC shipments to decline 1.2 percent this year to 348.7 million units.
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To put this in perspective, the last time PC shipments contracted year-over-year was 2001, the year the dot com bubble burst.
PC shipments are widely expected to get a boost from the release of Windows 8, set for Oct. 26. But it appears unlikely that the release of the new Microsoft operating system will provide enough bounce for the market to avoid contraction this year.
IHS points to a number of culprits responsible for the projected decline, not the least of which is ongoing economic malaise throughout much of the world. But PC shipments appear to be suffering at least in part due to the tremendous growth in smartphones and tablets. In the past two weeks, IHS and others have blamed changing customer preferences brought on by the success of a new kind of mobile computing.
Simply put, tablets and high-end smartphones offer consumers and businesses much of the computing power they need for many tasks. And they are more convenient, lighter, less expensive and, well, more fun than a stodgy old PC.
I don't know if we are a unique household, but I doubt it. We have two PCs, A Kindle e-reader, and a Kindle Fire. The PCs are constantly in use, the Kindle might go unused for days at a time.
My wife does all manner of things on her PC, including paying bills, bank stuff, scrapbooking, playing "words with friends," all things that she finds much easier with the large, wide screen and keyboard/mouse. She also uses the Kindles, but that's exclusively for reading books or the news, weather reports, and that sort of info consuming.
I do the same, and also watch most of my TV now with the PC acting as the settop box, feeding the 42" HDTV, with remote keyboard/mouse.
And there's more. Whenever I receive e-mails with the little discalimer, you know, like "sent from experia," or other such, it always sounds like an apology. The way I read those disclaimers is, "please forgive the overly cryptic message and the typos, because honestly, I can't do this right on this little device."
Am I the only person who thinks this way?
I personally know a little old lady (she is retired, 60+) and she uses her ipad for all those activities, her computer is sitting idle.
I also have 2 teenagers and see what a teen can do with a phone and their thumbs.
You are quite ambitious, spreadsheets on a phone and writing documents on a tablet...most people I think prefer the PC interface for activities like that. It's not just the processer power, screen size and interface matters for many applications.
A friend tells me of the day in the past when microwave oven sales fell off. Seems most households had purchased one, and there was no need for 2 of them.
A pc is overkill for most homes - read emails and surf the web. We now have TVs that can do that and more (netflix, hulu, ..) as well as blueray players.
How many people really need a PC because they are writing software, which you can probably do on an ipad, but let's assume it has million's of lines of code, requires TB's of data, and huge screens with mutli-gpu's.
Seems like a kindle or $99 tablet can browse the web, read & write emails, write small documents (~100 pages), play music, purchase online, ... Why do so many people need a PC? A 10kb spreadsheet is fine on a phone. A 100MB spreadsheet might only work on a pc. ...
I don't see Windows-8 as a savior for PCs. (I also don't think PCs are not in need of being saved either.) In fact, quite the opposite might be true for PC sales.
All my machines in my household are dual-boot machines for Linux and Windows. I just bought a new one less than a month ago, because I found out that dual booting will become a real pain with Windows-8. (Linux vendors are scrambling hard to overcome the ridiculous hurdles Microsoft built into the OS.) If you use dual-boot machines, don't wait for Windows-8. I think all of these will be smoothed out again by the time Windows-9 comes out, but Windows-8 is no boon for PCs(only for tablets perhaps.)
Yes, I have been toying with Win 8 since Aug 2011 (stand alone and in Parallels on Mtn Loin.)
There is a point that I am not seeing discussed.
Redmond continued to re-tool the sub-systems across the board. It now runs the O/S IE and MS Speech in less than 1GB of RAM on the 32-bit version.
The 64-bit version has a number of security improvements over the 32-bit version.
Both are more responsive and have a greatly reduced attack surface.
I'll grant you the end user doesn't care about security (until they do), and having a more responsive machine for $40 seems like a fair trade.
If Win8 is as big a disaster as Vista, ME, etc., I'll wait for Win9. My experience w/ Microsoft is that their new releases follow a pattern of junk ... decent ... junk ... decent, almost as though they rush something to market, then take the time to fix it in the next revision. XP and Win7 (both 32 and 64-bit) have served me well, but I had a LOT of grief w/ Vista, which did not play well w/ many of my apps.
I've been playing with the Beta version of Windows 8 on my MacBook Pro using the Parallels virtualization software for a few months now. Yes, Windows 8 has some new eye candy with the tiles and Microsoft has managed to cobble together a single OS for both touch and mouse devices. Once you click the Desktop tile it looks and works like Windows 7. Apple has a two OS approach where desktop/laptop users have Mac OS X while iPhone/iPad users get iOS6. With iOS6 I do miss having multiple user accounts on the iPad because everyone in my family wants to use this device when I get home from work.
Tablets cannot do everything a PC can do. However, they can do some things a PC can do and some of those things they can do better. It just so happens that those things are the things that most people do most of the time with computers.
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