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PC Era Forecasted To End In 18 Months

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-have-crystal-balls dept.

Hardware 449

dcblogs writes "In a historic shift, shipments of smartphones, tablets and other app-enabled devices will overtake PC shipments in the next 18 months, an event that may signify the end of the PC-centric era, market research firm IDC said. IDC said worldwide shipments this year of app-enabled devices, which include smartphones and media tablets such as the iPad, will reach 284 million. In 2011, makers will ship 377 million of these devices, and in 2012, the number will reach 462 million shipments, exceeding PC shipments. In 2012, there will be 448 million PC shipments. One shipment equals one device. PC sales will continue to climb, but will no longer rule."

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Oh happy day (4, Funny)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476792)

This will probably mean the end of Microsoft as well.
Likely the beginning of the Year of Linux on the desktop as well.

Hype (2)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476832)

First, the report talks about devices sold, not the installed base, in which PCs will have a very big lead for the foreseeable future. Phones have long sold better than PCs. Also, do you know anyone that just uses smartphones and tablets but never PCs or laptops? Didn't think so.

Re:Hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34476904)

Phones have long sold better than PCs.

As this article quite clearly states, no they haven't. Unless you mean phones in general and not smartphones, in which case you might as well mention that toilet paper has also long sold better than PCs.

Re:Hype (1)

rhathar (1247530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477314)

Although, toilet paper is probably more ubiquitous than PCs. Just not necessarily among the geek crowd.

Re:Hype (5, Insightful)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476914)

I for one have three bikes at home and only two cars, does that mean that the era of the car is over at my house? I really tire of these slanted news articles that crumble with the slightest application of common sense.

Re:Hype (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477032)

And no consideration of how many of those devices are new users compared to existing users just upgrading to the next version. Maybe the typical lifetime of these devices is shorter than a PC. PC's are typically upgradeable where these devices are usually just the package deal, so not every PC user looking to expand their capabilities need buy a new PC.

Besides, there's not even netcraft confirmation! Clear proof the PC is not dying.

Re:Hype (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477220)

Yeah, yeah.

Laptops have been selling better than desktops for about 3 years now, but it hasn't killed the desktop usefulness. Likewise I doubt phones or tablets can replace the need for desktops.

Re:Hype (2)

Sancho (17056) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477288)

Also, do you know anyone that just uses smartphones and tablets but never PCs or laptops? Didn't think so.

I come damned close, though, in my personal life. At work, I have to use a keyboard to get anything done (though conceivably, I could use an iPad connected to a bluetooth keyboard.) Most of my computer use at home is fairly light and based on consuming content, and as such, an iPad is perfect except for two little problems:

1) The iPad currently requires the use of a computer at least once (to activate) and any time you want to back it up. I think this will eventually be addressed, but it hasn't been high on Apple's priority list.

2) Flash (which is becoming less and less of a problem.)

My Android phone has neither of these problems, and in fact the only time it connects to a PC is to charge. It has practically replaced my laptop for day-to-day, out-of-the-house/office usage.

Re:Hype (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477322)

Looks like CmdrTaco has gone full retard today. The OMG KDE IS DIEING story, and this?

Re:Hype (5, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477402)

Slashdot makes this same mistake every single time a story like this goes on the front page. Every time.

The report is from a marketing firm. Their audience is other marketing types who make reports to business types. That lot is concerned about growth because growth is where they can make money. Selling things in markets that are growing faster than competition can enter, which means profit margins can stay comfortably high.

Once growth falls off and capacity catches up, things get competitive. Margins dwindle and the kinds of companies that pay people to read marketing reports can no longer survive.

Re:Oh happy day (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476848)

Just because something changes from #1 to #2 doesn't mean that the era is at an end.

Compare to radio stations - they are around and kicking even though TV, video and the internet has come.

And someone that buys a phone/pad or whatever probably already has a PC.

Re:Oh happy day (2)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477038)

I suppose that when they say "The era of X is over" they mean the era when X *is dominant* is over. They're not saying X will be no more. Yes, we still have radio, but it is no longer our primary means of receiving entertainment and news. (and hasn't been for quite a while). ...Or they're just finding a way to spin some numbers to make it dramatic.

Re:Oh happy day (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477244)

Radio stations are certainly still around, but it's pretty clear it is no longer the "era of radio"

Re:Oh happy day (3, Insightful)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476864)

Right.. I feel like complaining about the fact that smart phones and ipads etc. ARE personal computers.. but then someone will punch me in the face.

Re:Oh happy day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477298)

Well, I'll punch them back for you. Double if they claim that Apple doesn't sell personal computers.

Re:Oh happy day (1)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477374)

Right.. I feel like complaining about the fact that smart phones and ipads etc. ARE personal computers.. but then someone will punch me in the face.

I'm not sure if this is the earliest example, but I had one of these babies and I might be biased...

http://www.playretro.co.uk/hardware/sinclair_zx_spectrum_box.jpg [playretro.co.uk]

Re:Oh happy day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34476932)

Good grief, we do see comedy quite a bit here. Year of Linux.......
Let's get rid of the geeky fanboyisms right now shall we?
M$ is evil.
Apple is for dumb people
Google steals your identity
Ubuntu will cure cancer and bring world peace to the desktop

There, that should do it surely?

Re:Oh happy day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477344)

Holy...you're RIGHT! Apple IS for dumb people....it all makes sense now!

Re:Oh happy day (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476972)

Yes, with PC sales continuing to clime MS will be very sad.

Considering PC lifespan is 2-5 years, and smartphone 1-3, it would be about even when taking into account replacement rate i think.

Re:Oh happy day (5, Insightful)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476974)

Don't get your hopes up. They're talking about shipments, not installed base.

People pretty much stopped buying new PCs once they had a Core 2 Duo or faster. It isn't that no one is using PCs anymore, it's that no one is buying a new one because the old one is still plenty fast.

Incidentally, you can expect the same thing to happen in phones in a couple of years. Once you have a phone which is fast enough to play video and has a battery that lasts all day, the biggest improvements are going to come as software update and you won't care about the hardware any more than you currently care whether you have a 2.6GHz CPU vs. a 3GHz CPU -- both are fast enough to do whatever so nobody cares anymore.

Re:Oh happy day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477348)

Phones are multifunction, but quite lacking in certain areas. Until they have decent cameras comparable to todays $200 quick-shot dedicated digital cameras, and proper 4G bandwidth, we'll be upgrading them every year or so.

Apple know this, and this is why they hold back on each of their product releases. Their fans are guaranteed to update to the latest model. Heck, there's even women in this office with the iphone4 saying as soon as the white model is out, they're replacing their current one, just for the color! Nintendo have had quite some success with the DS range too. It's still a pile of antiquated crap, but the regular cosmetic changes has all the children wanting the latest model.

Re:Oh happy day (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477372)

Yeah but a desktop stays pretty still all day. Only the keyboard and mouse get wear and tear and are easily replaced. I beat the shit out of my mobile phone so I'll probably need a new one every two years regardless of the upgrade cycle.

Re:Oh happy day (2)

Sancho (17056) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477396)

Once you have a phone which is fast enough to play video and has a battery that lasts all day, the biggest improvements are going to come as software update and you won't care about the hardware any more than you currently care whether you have a 2.6GHz CPU vs. a 3GHz CPU -- both are fast enough to do whatever so nobody cares anymore.

Except that wireless providers are historically terrible at providing software updates. Apple bucked this trend a bit, and some Android phones have gotten one or two updates. Carriers are still the gatekeepers for the vast majority of phones, though. They want to sell new hardware, not provide new software.

Re:Oh happy day (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477088)

And World Community Grid.

Just sayin...
-l

/IF, it happens at all. My PC makes a great space heater that saves humanity, even if nothing else.

Re:Oh happy day (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477198)

This will probably mean the end of Microsoft as well. Likely the beginning of the Year of Linux on the desktop as well.

I'm feeling pretty optimistic about IPv6 too!

Re:Oh happy day (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477342)

The year of Linux on the desktop is the same year the the Desktop becomes irrelevant.

This isn't about the death of the Desktop, just as the Mainframe hasn't died yet either. It is a shift in usage.
The Mainframe was widely used across orgs including many smaller companies then the PC (and PC based servers) had slowly replaced them leaving the mainframe reserved to large companies who need the big horse power. A lot of mainframe companies have died or been merged and became less relevant Prime, Digital, leaving IBM and HP to control that market.

The PC will have a similar fate. It will loose the home market. and its job will be for more for jobs that take medium level number crunching (think excel sheets and basic DB stuff), and software development jobs.
Probably Dell and Lenovo or HP.

Are we going to loose something as home users... Yes. just as the small business lost out when they in essence downgraded from mainframes to Desktops... However they will gain features too, such as improved mobility, power savings, and better price.

Is Microsoft going to be dead in a new Linux world order.
Probably not. Right now Android is looking like it will become king. However the game for mobile is still rather early. Apple is still strong, Microsoft does have a reputation of coming in late in the game. And the GNU community does have a tendency step on its own feet and change its rules to fight off profitable use of GNU software that has any sort of lock-down.

I dunno, man (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476820)

Even if smartphones and such sell more than their larger counterparts, I still don't see it happening that quickly. There's still a lot to be said of the experience of using a "PC" rather than an "app device", regardless of the equal or disparate capabilities between them.

An example is writing...I'm not going to write on a bluetooh-keyboard-connected iPad for the same reason I wouldn't write on a netbook or a laptop; I need to feel centered, to feel like "OK body and mind, we're sitting down, and we're writing." I don't see being able to duplicate that feeling with an "app" device.

Re:I dunno, man (1)

sgage (109086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476858)

Well said, Pojut.

Re:I dunno, man (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477020)

Yeah, but Pojut is doing it wrong. He's writing. He's not consuming. Content creation by anyone other that the Media (big M) is so last century and more to the point

- potential terrorist activity -

Grab those iPads, comrades!

Re:I dunno, man (1)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477046)

I'm sure some writers probably said (and probably still do) the same thing about switching from typewriters to word processors... Or pens to typewriters... Things'll change...

Re:I dunno, man (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477190)

Or clay tablets to papyrus.

Speaking of which (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477286)

You can have my pencil and paper when you pry them from my cold dead hands.

Re:I dunno, man (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477204)

I'm refering more to my surroundings.

Example: The desk you see in this picture [livingwithanerd.com] is where I write, typically while my wife is either watching or playing something on the TV. Pay attention to what is immedeatly within my vicinity when sitting there:

-Two walls
-Two monitors
-A large trackball (a Kensington Expert, to be precise)
-My PC Tower
-Posters, pictures, etc.
-A desk

Seeing these things displayed in front of me, filling my field of vision, really help to put me where I need to be. Having the actual monitors (as opposed to a tablet's or notebook's screen), the big trackball, the full-size keyboard...I'm not really sure how to describe it exactly, but for some reason having all that around me makes writing MUCH easier. I find I get distracted if I'm trying to write on a netbook or a laptop.

I can't really explain it, it's just the way it feels to use a "PC" rather than an "app device" or a laptop. ::shrug:: Wish I could give it more justice than that, but there it is.

Re:I dunno, man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477082)

Even if smartphones and such sell more than their larger counterparts, I still don't see it happening that quickly. There's still a lot to be said of the experience of using a "PC" rather than an "app device", regardless of the equal or disparate capabilities between them.

An example is writing...I'm not going to write on a bluetooh-keyboard-connected iPad for the same reason I wouldn't write on a netbook or a laptop; I need to feel centered, to feel like "OK body and mind, we're sitting down, and we're writing." I don't see being able to duplicate that feeling with an "app" device.

Another example is... writing... I'm not going to write on a rectangular pad with buttons containing alphabetic characters connected to a box and television screen via wires. I need to feel centered, to feel like, "OK body and mind, we're sitting down, and we're putting pen to paper." I don't see being able to duplicate that feeling with a "computer" device.

Consuming vs. Creating (4, Interesting)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477086)

More broadly: anything creative is better done on a computer than a tablet.

A tablet (etc.) is for consumption of content. They rock for accessibility and convenience: just what you need when you are passively consuming content, such as reading or watching. Even gaming counts, as you are not putting anything in to the device: just getting entertainment out of it.

But if you are trying to create something (prose, music, code, graphics, databases, and so on and so on), then a full-fledged computer is vastly superior.

Maybe this will change someday, as the interfaces for devices improve and the apps develop. But in the short-term, I defy someone to create billboard-quality graphics, commercial-grade websites, or a publication-level novel on a tablet. I suppose it can be done, but it would be a heck of a lot easier with a full computer.

Re:I dunno, man (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477114)

It kind of ignores the fact that people generally replace their phones every two years at most. A decent PC can last 5, even 10 years these days if the user isn't interested in games. So, by default phone sales are going to be at least 2x higher than PC sales, even if people spend more time and money on their PCs.

Re:I dunno, man (1)

baxissimo (135512) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477142)

Nobody's saying PCs will go away any time soon (well, except maybe that sensationalist headline). But you have to ask yourself how many people have that same need you do, versus the number that, say, need to play Angry Birds? And even people who do need to write a lot, what is the balance of time spent in that activity vs more casual comsumption activities? If the aggregate demand for casual experiences outstrips that for serious productivity experiences, then it stands to reason devices that cater to the former will eventually outnumber those that target the latter.

Re:I dunno, man (1)

nlawalker (804108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477178)

I agree. Pen and paper, tablets, smartphones, etc. are all portable, but civilization still has desks, offices and workplaces for a reason.

App-enabled device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477280)

What in the hell does "app-enabled device" mean anyway? Sounds like somebody was just born yesterday.

Re:I dunno, man (1)

lilo_booter (649045) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477428)

There's nothing stopping anyone manufacturing a docking device which holds a portable device and extends it with keyboard, mouse and displaying on a decent sized monitor. The difference is that you're free to use it in other ways too.

Developer soup (4, Insightful)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476850)

While I'm all for new technology, we're also entering an era I like to call developer soup. Maybe I just coined that. In any case, there's no good way to target all the platforms anymore. You might argue HTML5, but really only Chrome is useful for that (right now), and many do not run Chrome. Many in fact, still use IE6/7/8 at corps.

It kind of stinks, because before you could make an app for one platform and hit a lot of targets, but not anymore.. Android, iOS, BBOS, Windows, Linux, Mac, MeeGo, the diversity is difficult, at best, if you want an all encompassing app. Ah well, I guess HTML4 for now, HTML5 in 18 months.

Re:Developer soup (1)

TelavianX (1888030) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477186)

HTML5 will never be for anything useful. It will always be behind the times because it changes so slowly, while silverlight and flash will leap ahead. The true answer is a unifed common app framework or at the very least a seamless way to convert an app from one system to another.

there's no good way to target all the platforms (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477230)

There hasn't been that since, well, ever. Unix vs VMS in the 70's and 80's, Mac vs PC vs Sparc (aaah. The fun of endianness...)...

Not necessarily (1)

Midnight Ryder (116189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477242)

You might be thinking too 'inside the box' - for instance, PhoneGap handles pretty much every smartphone OS out there, plus Mac and PC. SO HTML 5 + CSS + JavaScript + (insert JS datahandling concept of choice) has become a VERY viable way of handling a write once then compile for platfom(s) of choice. It's not a solution for every problem, of course - I somehow doubt writing RageHD in HTML 5 is going to be a choice anytime soon. But for 75% of apps out there, it's a good, solid solution. And PhoneGap is by no means the only one out there providing such a solution.

Re:Developer soup (0)

lehphyro (1465921) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477362)

Java! Write once run anywhere. With a different GUI for each platform obviously.

DOORKNOB ERA FORECASTED TO END IN 24 MONTHS (3, Funny)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476852)

Read all about it in this arbitrarily nonsensical review guaranteed to increase page clicks here!

Re:DOORKNOB ERA FORECASTED TO END IN 24 MONTHS (1)

NetServices (1479949) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476876)

Mmmmmm.... doorknobs.

Re:DOORKNOB ERA FORECASTED TO END IN 24 MONTHS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34476948)

Modern era forcasted to end in 24 years.

Read all about the reality of not having enough oil to live like spoiled brats forever!

Re:DOORKNOB ERA FORECASTED TO END IN 24 MONTHS (3, Interesting)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477010)

Most awesome! May I also subscribe, multiple times, to your newsletter?

I look forward to orphaning all the perfectly good hardware I own in favor of a paperless, flying-car world of handheld delights and not very good copy or pasting or printing... what's scanning? Well, that's something we used to do with a thing called a USB serial port that our plamtop vendors forgot to equip us with. Now we "scan" by taking a picture of the page you want copied, then upload it thru email to your facetwit account, then convert it into a textless PDF, and we're done... almost. Now, download it again on a real computer and print via an actual USB port connected to a printer(not over wireless where we lose many features), and we're done. Hooray, we are teh suck!

Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off to purchase every doorknob at OSH...

Where the Work Is Being Done (4, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476870)

Until smartphones and tablets displace the PC in being the platform where most of the work is done, I don't consider the PC Era to be over.

Re:Where the Work Is Being Done (3, Insightful)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477042)

Please mod up!!! If I need a full size monitor and keyboard in order to work 8 hours, I'd rather have a 'desktop' to begin with. My setup has two monitors, and a REAL keyboard and mouse, not the toy ones on most laptops, and I can't even begin to imagine the carpel tunnel and thumb pain that would skyrocket if iPads and such became work devices for people who type and use a mouse all day long, like developers and admins.

The era of the PC can't be over anyway, the mainframe era hasn't ended yet.....

Re:Where the Work Is Being Done (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477394)

But who's to say a phone can't do all that? All it needs is a dock.

Re:Where the Work Is Being Done (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477048)

If I didn't need to do coding, I could handle pretty much all the business work I need to do on my iPad with iWork. It handles spreadsheets and word processing just fine with a docking station. And the amount of coding work I'm doing is decreasing every year as I focus more on the business side of the house.

No kidding (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477290)

Doesn't surprise me that there will be more smartphones. After all, phones are heading the way of all phones being smart phones and we are also heading the way of everyone having a personal phone. Wonderful, however that doesn't mean computers are going away. Thus far I've seen no indication that these devices are going to replace computers for work. Phones particularly but the iPad as well are devices well designed for consumption, not production. That's fine for play, not for work. I'm not just talking development, I mean simple things like say e-mail or a spread sheet. I've seen people do e-mail on an iPad, works fine but is much MUCH slower than on a computer.

I'm sure they'll be plenty of these other devices, but that doesn't mean computers are going anywhere.

Re:Where the Work Is Being Done (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477410)

Define "work" in such a way that it is not PC centric and we may already be there.

Are Linux Servers "PCs"?

Are MySQL, Apache servers "PCs" ?

Are Email, Messaging and chat "PC" ?

Linux (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476872)

So can we declare 2012 the "Year of the Linux Smartphone"?

it only means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34476884)

That there is more High level people in companies doing mostly nothing (e-mails and such) than regular workforce and having an Ipad/iphone/blackberry does not mean that you have forfeited your pc ownership.

People cant stop complaining about slow pc and want bigger display or worst two or three display (my company) to enhanced their work experience so an IPAD? I dont think so

Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34476892)

It could also mean that smartphones will stay as individual devices and computers will shift or stay as shared devices (depending on the family).

I know many families where they have one or two computers for 4 people, but each person has an iPhone or smartphone.

For some families that had one computer per person, come the regular renewal or upgrade time for those machines, they may downsize, getting rid of one machine or both and replacing it with one faster one, since many of the trivial tasks people do on computers can be done with a smartphone or tablet...but really, most financial, graphics, school work still need a real computer. As as fancy as any touch device gets, they will likely never be as fast as a keyboard typing a book report for the average user.

Quick Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34476894)

Does this mean we'll write the smartphone apps ON smartphones?

Oh... no it doesn't... guess that means it's not the end of the PC. Oops.

OK OK will you get off my back now? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476928)

Steve Ballmer was seen pleading plaintively at the merciless slashdot crowd.

Probably true (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476946)

At work I still need a desktop machine for coding. But as an example, currently my dad has an iMac that I bought him a couple years ago. I bought him an iPad 3G for fathers day because he does travel a lot. Talking with him over thanksgiving, he rarely turns on his iMac any more. Only time he does is to update investments or work on his taxes. The rest of the time he uses the iPad with docking station.

I still have my older Mac Mini hooked up to my TV. I have since 2005, but in the last year or so my XBox360 has taken over as it had HD output. I know the newer MacMini's have HDMI, but my HDTV is 10 years old and still uses HD component. When the MacMini kicks the bucket I'm not sure if I'll replace it. My iPad does pretty much all I need at home.

I highly doubt this (4, Insightful)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476950)

Tell that to the 10mil+ subscribers of WoW. With the new expansion getting released, WoW players are going nowhere. Tell the pro Starcraft players that as well. The average consumer doesn't use their pc much anyway, and most of that can be handled through their ps3 or phone now, so they might stop using it alot less.

What about college students? So, how are they going to type up their exams now. On a smartphone? I think it would be absolutely horrid to write a thesus using a phone. Ouch.

18-months? Really?

Now, I consider myself an avid pc gamer, and I have no plans to move away from that anytime soon, plus the 6 cores are starting to roll out in larger numbers. 3-D technology is getting implemented more and more into PC's (I believe it is NVidia who is doing a bunch of stuff with it).

The thing is that PC's can do so much more than a smartphone, and PC's are upgradable (not just software, but hardware) and it won't void your warranty (well I guess if you buy a PC from Dell or something it might since I don't know the rules with pre-made machines). The point is that as pc's evolve, you can easily evolve and adapt with the times by upgrading your PC. To do this with a smartphone means that you need to buy a new phone. Not all that smart if you ask me

Re:I highly doubt this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477070)

Tell that to the 10mil+ subscribers of WoW. With the new expansion getting released, WoW players are going nowhere. Tell the pro Starcraft players that as well. The average consumer doesn't use their pc much anyway, and most of that can be handled through their ps3 or phone now, so they might stop using it alot less.

What about college students? So, how are they going to type up their exams now. On a smartphone? I think it would be absolutely horrid to write a thesus using a phone. Ouch.

18-months? Really?

Now, I consider myself an avid pc gamer, and I have no plans to move away from that anytime soon, plus the 6 cores are starting to roll out in larger numbers. 3-D technology is getting implemented more and more into PC's (I believe it is NVidia who is doing a bunch of stuff with it).

The thing is that PC's can do so much more than a smartphone, and PC's are upgradable (not just software, but hardware) and it won't void your warranty (well I guess if you buy a PC from Dell or something it might since I don't know the rules with pre-made machines). The point is that as pc's evolve, you can easily evolve and adapt with the times by upgrading your PC. To do this with a smartphone means that you need to buy a new phone. Not all that smart if you ask me

I think you didn't read the article.

Oh wait, this is /., carry on.

Re:I highly doubt this (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477172)

I frankly don't see myself buying another desktop for home use unless I get back into video editing or 3D as hobby again. If I'm not working around code anymore in another 18 months, I may not be buying a new laptop either. I found two years ago my iPhone did about 90% of what I needed. The iPad seems to fill the other 10%.

Re:I highly doubt this (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477282)

> What about college students? So, how are they going to type up their exams now. On a smartphone?

I think you're missing the point here. The smart phone will *become* their PC. For typing up papers, yes, they'll have a wireless bluetooth keyboard and monitor. The smart phone stays in your pocket, and when you need those peripherals, you'll just sit down next to them. The computing device itself will be mobile, always with you.

And mobile devices are getting increasingly powerful, and will soon be able to run advanced 3D games. The point is, people don't want to be tied down to one physical location any more, and that's what's going to change.

Having said that, I agree that it won't be over in 18 months. I think for at least 5 more years, PCs will be a big market force. But their era *will* come to an end, just like so many before it.

End of desktops? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476970)

Kind of hard for the year of Linux on the desktop to come around when there are no more desktops

Computerworld forecasted to grow brain: never (5, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476988)

This is such an idiotic statement. There are already far more cell phones sold, smart or not, per year than PCs, and this has been true for nearly a decade. These phones are being replaced with "app-enabled devices" because it's getting nearly impossible to get a plain old phone - they just don't make them anymore. Even the $0 freebie has some sort of smartphone-like functionality. Hell, my old MotoRazr from 2004 had apps! Shiit Java apps, but still...

The day you can sit down at an "app-enabled device" and professionally write software, code a business-class web site, edit video, design a mechanical blueprint, and play WoW, well that might be the end of the PC era. For now, and the next 10 years at least, we just have a lot of fussy gadgets.

Re:Computerworld forecasted to grow brain: never (1)

xded (1046894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477416)

sit down at an "app-enabled device" and professionally write software, code a business-class web site, edit video, design a mechanical blueprint, and play WoW, well that might be the end of the PC era.

To do that, I suppose you will need some kind of hand-sized keyboard for typing comfortably, some kind of sufficiently accurate/high-dynamic-range pointing device (mouse or some well sized touch thing), a good screen not to squint at details and some upgradeability to be able to play new games (real time radiosity, subsurface scattering, or whatever is bleeding edge these days) without thrashing the whole thing every 6 months.

To me that's still called a PC, whether it runs on battery or not.

Hyperbole (2)

joeflies (529536) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476998)

"an event that may signify the end of the PC-centric era"

I think they overlook a few of factors:

1) smart phones are undergoing a upgrade/replacement phase that isn't seen in the pc world. Outside of the gaming community, many people are fine with the core 2 duo they bought 3 years ago, but in the same period of time they would have replaced a smart phone at least once.

2) many people have more than one smart phone - I have a work phone and a home phone, yet I only have one pc

3) many people are smart phone buyers but not pc buyers. For instance, a family may have 1 home computer and 4 phones (one for each parent, one for each kid)

End of the PC-specific era? Better get some more statistics than just shipments.

Re:Hyperbole (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477354)

I would have said the same thing a year ago, but today I find myself using mostly devices at home. I have a Mac Mini at home, but I've been using it hooked up to my TV for several years. Even then, I mostly use my XBox for streaming movies now from Netflix. I gave up my laptop at work to a new hire and have been using my iPad & iPhone since May for most of my work. I still have an iMac at the office. I use it for code reviews and I still step in to help fix things with a couple of our products that I developed early on, but increasingly I find devices do exactly what I need.

The Apple Effect (1)

Huckabees (1929306) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477030)

I was going to post a cynical comment about how PCs and smart devices are different tools for different purposes but then I realized that this really does speak volumes about how far the usability of such portable devices has come since 2000 when the only people with "smart" devices were those with blackberries to check work email.

Funny the shift seemed to start when Apple made them "cool" to wave around as a status symbol.

These devices are for consumers (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477034)

If you create any content (even large blocks of text, much less cad, drawings, etc.), all the other devices suck terribly.

But if you want to play games, listen to songs, watch videos, read what other people write, I agree.

Awesome (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477050)

I'm sick of being politically correct.

unlikely (1)

choko (44196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477056)

Your average PC user doesn't upgrade nearly as much as your average cell phone user. Most people buy a PC and it serves them for 3 to 5 years. Those same people upgrade their phones as soon as their contract is up. This isn't really a good comparison. More likely, it's just another opportunity for "journalists" to tout the end of something. They really seem to love doing that whenever a new toy comes out. I've lost count of how many times I've been told that PC gaming era is at an end.

Re:unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477238)

And more people actually "building"/upgrading their own computer instead of buying a whole ones, which this article seems to be about.

Continuee prediction of the End of the PC Era era (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477060)

Predicted to last longer than 18 Month

In related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477062)

In related news, landfills around the world are expected to grow exponentially, as individuals and businesses discard old, still-working computers.

Again? (1)

Evildonald (983517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477080)

Breaking Story! Slashdot posts a story about the death of PCs! For the millionth time...

In other news... (1)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477108)

In other news...Linux will be huge on the desktop within the next 18 months.

Doubt it (1)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477112)

1.5 yrs until people will not be using Blender, Flash Pro, Visual Studio, or want to engage in some high-end 3D FPSers? Sorry, no. Where am I suppose to edit my AVCHD video files? What about the 720p files I shoot on my phone? Store my digitized photo albums, or keep a backup of all the individual songs I bought in case my iPod battery dies?

One factor they probably didn't count: cost. If smart devices are a threat to any market, it is the netbook. Sorry, the iPad doesn't even come close to touching a venerable Toshiba M400 tablet PC, and an ancient M200 is probably just as good. However, an iPad might compete with my original EEE PC 4G - which I have to nLite XP to get it to fit on (+eeectl = x2 screen brightness for operation in full daylight = awesome).

Don't get me wrong. I just got an android phone, and its nice - but it is no where near a PC replacement. Heck, a 4" screen for reading emails is iffy, and the web experience is less then great. However, it has a lot of convenience - especially setting it up as a hotspot to use with my laptop when no free wi-fi is around.

My apologies for being a bit random in my comments... I'm trying to learn to be brief.

Supplement not replace (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477124)

Two years ago they said no one would use a PC, because netbook sales were through the roof. PCs were entirely dead. But people buy netbooks to supplement their PCs. Same with smartphones and tablets.

I for one... (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477160)

I for one welcome our new Chumby overlords.

http://www.chumby.com/ [chumby.com]

Television example (5, Interesting)

droidsURlooking4 (1543007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477164)

Considering buying a new HDTV right now. Many are 'Internet Ready" which means it runs "apps". For a smartphone I suppose "apps" make sense but when I can just a good monitor and put a small Eee pc [newegg.com] behind it with hdmi, gigabit ethernet, basically the whole Internet and any "app" I want, those Internet Ready devices fall flat. Why would I limit myself to today's hyped snapshot of the Internet experience? I'll keep them in mind for my fridge though.

Checking my units.... (1)

Georules (655379) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477168)

I'm not sure that 1PC = 1Phone.

No, there are still more PCs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477188)

I think there are more computers in use than portable devices (phones, tablets, pda's, etc.) The difference is, they become dated and/or break much faster and need to be replaced more frequently.

The PC is dead. Long live the PC! (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477246)

Wasn't the PC supposed to die like 15 years ago?

Apples and oranges... (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477272)

While they are computing devices I don't see why the comparison is being made. None of those devices are really true PC replacements in most senses of the word. Those are devices you use to get some work, or play, done when you don't have the luxury of a full-speed, full-size machine. In this sense they may as well include touch screen MP3 players and eReaders too.

No surprise (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477294)

That's because PCs last longer than smartphones, tablets and the like, and people own more of those devices than PCs. The people I know keep PCs for 5-6 years, yet they're replacing their smartphone every 18 months when their carrier offers an upgrade and may replace it more often if it gets broken. And if they have a tablet it's in addition to their smartphone, not in place of it. And then there's their company-issued phone, which is usually in addition to their personal one. Work PCs follow a similar 5-year replacement cycle, but company-issued cel phones tend to follow the 18-month replacement cycle of the carrier's upgrade offers (assuming they aren't broken and require replacement sooner). And tablets will undoubtedly be in addition to cel phones, or used on the job by people who wouldn't normally be issued a cel phone or have their own work PC (think inventory clerk or delivery driver, they may get a tablet in place of the dedicated hand-held terminal device they use now).

So yeah, given the above, I can see how one PC can equal 2-4 mobile devices. But no mobile device will be able to replace the always-on tower system with the 125W quad-core CPU, 2-terabyte RAID array, 26" or larger high-definition flat-screen monitor and full-sized ergonomic keyboard and mouse. I'll use the smartphone or tablet in situations I can't or don't want to mess with the desktop, but I can't see them ever making the desktop unnecessary.

Start of the true Computing era? Power to the PC! (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477296)

The headline seems a bit melodramatic...

Why? Because I know several tablet owners and smartphone owners, and not a single one of them would "exchange" their PC with these new gadgets. The mobile devices are more like supplementing their PC's, making private streaming and multimedia editing (among many other things) all the more relevant on a true PC.

I really can't see this as the end of the PC era in any capacity. All these new devices do is make people more used to having the power of computing accessible at all time. If anything PC usage will increase because users want more power to fill data and content onto their mobile devices.

Example: When my dad god a smartphone with 24/7 access to picasa, youtube and facebook, he also started using his PC for photo and video editing.

Another example: When my girlfriend got an iPad she started cataloging our personal photo and video collection and adding quite advanced metadata to the content.

A third example: When I got a tablet I started structuring much of our personal information in real word documents, scanned PDF files and spreadsheets so it was all easier to take with me on-the-go. And obviously the scanning and document processing capabilities of the PC is lightyears ahead of any mobile device.

So it's really quite simple: More power in more devices means more needs for the true powerhouse of the bunch: the PC!

- Jesper

I thought it was 2 years (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477304)

I thought the end of everything was in 2 years time (21-Dec-2012)

End of PC era or Beginning of Home Server PC era? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477306)

Think about it. Everyone wants easy access and control over their own info. What easier way to achieve this than a centralized home server?

Want all of your music & movies & data in the "cloud"? Why not just have your own stable cloud at home that can sync & stream your data to all of your fragmented year-long-lifespan (disposable) mobile devices?

If only someone made a cheap and reliable OS that could work as both a desktop and/or a server... Too bad MS has artificial remote connection limits in their OS, and Apple OS can't be used except on their pricey hardware.

If only the free and open source Linux OS I use for desktop computing could be also be used as server... ::sigh:: I guess my dreams of owning my own cloud and r-synching encrypted backups between family and friends will never be a reality.

Re:End of PC era or Beginning of Home Server PC er (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477446)

All that works just fine except for the cloud part. If you look in most ISP's contracts they don't allow you to run servers without buying a "business class" service.

the PC is dead, long live the PC (1)

buback (144189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477330)

PC's won't die. Terminology might change, but the PC will be around for a very long time.

here's an example: PDA's "died" about 5 years ago. Smartphones were the future. and today we have iphones and android phones. the OS is different, and the hardware is a generation removed, the the key difference is that PDA's didn't have a cell phone transmitter/receiver.

I was making skype calls over wifi on my iPAQ ~8 years ago. but, hey, PDA's are dead, right?

Yeah? (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477336)

Supposing this is true, how is it significant? Development and research will still be done on PC, workstation, cluster, or supercomputer, etc. None of which interface with a 4" screen and crap keyboard. And somehow I find it incredibly unimportant that someone who uses such methods has a smartphone for MS Outlook. Something tells me they collaborate with peers in a more... effective manner.

Maybe the only way this is important is if you're into the stock market and you time it right. Go short some Dell stock or something. That is, of course, if you don't think Dell is agile enough to join the new 'era'.

Size matters (1)

bromoseltzer (23292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477338)

What's a iPhone? A tiny PC, that's what. And a PC is a giant iPhone. The story here is that lots of people want to carry a small smart screen around with them, like we didn't know that. It's a good place for little apps, messaging, and small emails -- and making phone calls.

But sometimes you want a 20 inch screen - or two of them. How much coding is done on the iPhone? How much graphics editing? Where would you want to write your thesis or read Wikipedia? Reading War and Peace on my smartphone is a real chore, but it fits nicely on the Kindle.

The story is that all the computer ecological niches are being filled: desktop, laptop, small laptop (iPad), and hand-held. Not to mention "real" computers in datacenters. An investor wants to know who's going to make the big profits, but I want one of each, please.

Let 1,000 flowers bloom, said Mr. Mao.

Upgradability... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477370)

What these "forecasters" don't seem to understand is that the PC market moves much more slowly. For all practical intents, I can use an upgraded desktop that I purchased in 2005 and have a decent computer that can run most needed applications. Sure, I might not be able to run Super Fancy Game 2011 on it, but for typical computer tasks like e-mail, word processing, browsing the internet, YouTube, etc. it works just fine. But lets consider the smartphone market in 2005. There were no widely used captive touch screens, the iPhone wouldn't be released for another 2 years, and the first Android phone wouldn't be released for another 3 years. A person using a HTC Dream wouldn't be able to run the same basic programs that someone with, say, a Droid 2 could. Yet that is only a 2 year gap in hardware! People are buying more smartphones, tablets, etc. because they don't have a practical life longer than a year or two. You can't get software to run on them, annoying bugs in the OS won't be fixed, etc. On the other hand, if you spend a bit of money and upgrade a mid-range system from 2005, you can run just about any normal program on it.

And bags of M&Ms overtake Mobile Devices (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477400)

It's true. More bags of M&Ms will ship in the next 18 months than all mobile devices combined. This certainly means the end of mobile computing!

Seriously. I am not sure if these devices are all "replacing" PCs. Sure it may dent PC usage, but it's not exactly a cataclysm. I have 2 mobile devices and three PCs, and will likely buy another PC next year.

Nothing beats... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477412)

Playing Halo on a 4 inch screen!

Mayan calendar (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477414)

The ancient Mayans predicted this as well as Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce and that Uri spoon bendy guy. This is (for sure) the end of times!

Bicycles far outsell autmobiles, yet ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477426)

I still drive a car to work, to just about everywhere. While I may hop on the bike often enough, in actual use, I drive a lot more than I could ever ride. Same with my phone. And frankly, there have always been more phopnes than PCs. Only now, you can look for porn on one. Sort of. It's hard to exercise the hand option when squinting at a 3-inch view screen.

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