Is the Future of PCs and Laptops Really At Risk?

If you look at the statistics, people purchased a lot of tablets and smartphones this year. Even the advent of thin laptops—Ultrabooks, and netbooks—hasn’t done much in improving the sales of PC and laptops from last year’s. However, the sale of total number of PC units worldwide has remained almost the same over the last few years. This year also, there is no marked downfall in this. Speculations are afoot in the technology world about the future of PCs and notebooks. Several bloggers have expressed concern about their (PCs and laptops) future. Here’s an analysis on this.

Look at the image below:

pc & laptop sales

Data source: Statista

There are a lot of things to be learnt from this image. Firstly, the number of sales of PCs has remained a constant over the last few years; the number of laptops sold has increased gradually; and there is a regular, expected growth in sales in the handheld PC market dominated by Apple iPad, iPhone, and others. It shows low or no future for Ultrabooks and netbooks (those that have puny hardware).

As soon as tablets entered the market, regular PCs and laptops have been seeing a lot of changes. Their design is getting revamped, the thinness is a factor that is changing, and there is the hardware. Obviously, people demand better hardware and user engagement tools with the new devices. The time has come for mouse and track pad. Now, people are looking for touch and voice input devices. They will lead the changes in PCs and laptops of tomorrow.

Is the PC Business Dead?


The short answer: Hell, No! People need PCs and laptops still. In fact, gamers and people working from home are still going to need a hardware-rich, fast computer at home. There is a different need for each of the device listed above. A PC is for hardcore work—design, gaming, and animation stuff.

A laptop—almost equipped as a PC for hardcore work, with the tradeoff between hardware and mobility. It should obviously have similar hardware features as a PC, and it should perform really well. If you actually need to work in full fledge on the move, then it’s a laptop that you need.

A tablet is for web browsing and entertainment on the move. This is a replacement for netbooks and Ultrabooks, and hell of a good one at that! This is the reason why you see a horrible performance in the sales of netbooks and Ultrabooks.

Although thin notebooks like Apple MacBook Air and Toshiba Satellite are very popular, the reason behind it is different. MacBook Air can never be compared to a tablet. It’s a full-fledged, regular laptop but with a lot of mobility. MacBook Pro on the other hand can be compared to a full-fledged PC. This is the reason why they are still selling hot.

On the other hand, people who already have an iPad don’t really need a netbook with low features like 1.5 GHz processor speed and 1 GB RAM. Such a netbook will never be a replacement for iPad, and it will never be a hit in the laptop market either.

Each of these devices has its own intended use and hence another device cannot replace it. And by extension, it will not lose its market share. Another aspect to consider is the advancement of netbooks like the Google Chromebook. They are thin clients that work with the help of a cloud computing system. In such cases, the hardware needn’t be great for the PC to give great performance. However, in such cases also, the bottleneck is the network speed. And such a netbook will still not pose a threat to the tablet market as a tablet is great as a thin client.

However, the future of PC will see a lot of advancements inspired by tablets and smartphones. That’s what we need to look out for in the coming days. In short, PCs and thin laptops will stay on while Ultrabooks and netbooks with hardware similar to a tablet will not stay in the market.

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