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The Passing of the Personal Computer Era

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the turn-the-page dept.

Businesses 329

An anonymous reader writes "AllThingsD columnist Arik Hesseldahl noticed another milestone marking the passing of the personal computer era: for the first time since the early '80s, the share of worldwide sales of DRAM chips consumed by PCs (desktop and laptop computers, but not tablets) has dropped below fifty percent. Perhaps a more important milestone was reached last year, when more smartphones were shipped (not sold) worldwide than the combined total of PCs and tablets (also noticed by Microsoft watcher Joe Wilcox). While this is certainly of tremendous marketing and business importance to the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Adobe, and PC OEMs, others may reflect on the impending closing of the history books on the era that started in Silicon Valley a little over 35 years ago."

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More smartphones than pc's ? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41352895)

You buy a phone once a year vs a PC once every 3 years. I would expect 3x more smartphone shipments than PCs.

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (5, Insightful)

QuincyDurant (943157) | about 2 years ago | (#41353137)

Right. I haven't bought a refrigerator in a while either, but it's not because I don't like refrigeration.

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (3, Interesting)

Stormthirst (66538) | about 2 years ago | (#41353153)

But refrigerators don't double in power every 18 months.

Those upgrades don't matter so much any more (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#41353201)

Power isn't what matters. Useful power is.

Desktop and laptop PCs have simply passed the point where even an entry-level model is sufficient for everyday home and business tasks like reading e-mail, web browsing, working on office documents and database applications, and playing audio/video files.

As soon as that happened, the upgrade treadmill was doomed. That sucks for the businesses who were happily coasting along knowing that every 2–3 years someone was going to pay them more money just to get a faster PC and all the preinstalled software that would come with it. It's good news for everyone who actually uses these devices, though, at least until the industry responds by doing shady things that build in obsolescence and try to keep the treadmill running artificially.

Re:Those upgrades don't matter so much any more (3, Insightful)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about 2 years ago | (#41353271)

its time to buy the hardcore processing power pcs now! the prices are going to go up. I am going to do everything i can to buy two more desktops and a laptop this christmas. On top of a new car..

Re:Those upgrades don't matter so much any more (3, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#41353671)

The American Economy thanks you for your efforts.

Would you mind convincing all the people on your block to buy multiple big-ticket items for Christmas as well? Interest rates are low, so it's cheap to borrow!

Re:Those upgrades don't matter so much any more (5, Interesting)

Golden_Rider (137548) | about 2 years ago | (#41353359)

Power isn't what matters. Useful power is.

Desktop and laptop PCs have simply passed the point where even an entry-level model is sufficient for everyday home and business tasks like reading e-mail, web browsing, working on office documents and database applications, and playing audio/video files.

As soon as that happened, the upgrade treadmill was doomed. That sucks for the businesses who were happily coasting along knowing that every 2–3 years someone was going to pay them more money just to get a faster PC and all the preinstalled software that would come with it. It's good news for everyone who actually uses these devices, though, at least until the industry responds by doing shady things that build in obsolescence and try to keep the treadmill running artificially.

This. There is this weird opinion by many that "less PC are sold" automatically means "less people use a PC". That is not true - personal computers are still being used everywhere, it's just that a.) by now everybody who wants one has one, because they got cheaper and everybody can afford one now and b.) the hardcore upgraders (i.e. those who upgraded their board/CPU/graphics card every 6 months because of new games etc. which benefitted from those upgrades) do not NEED to upgrade as often anymore, because even the CPU/graphics card from 2 years ago can still run the latest games. I sure can still remember that around 2000-2005 or so I upgraded my main machine here every couple months because it actually provided a noticeable speed upgrade, that is not the case anymore. My core2 duo lasted 3 years in my main machine before I upgraded it - not out of necessity, but because I just felt like doing some hardware fiddling again.

Children are born (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41353525)

by now everybody who wants [a general-purpose personal computer] has one

Until the hardware physically breaks. After that point, the family PC might end up replaced with a locked-down iPad. Or until more children are born and eventually enter high school without a PC of their own to use, as betterunixthanunix mentioned [slashdot.org] .

Re:Children are born (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353753)

I think that students would need at least some kind of device with a keyboard for schoolwork.

The boom of people buying PCs to talk to their friends on the Internet has ended, because these conversations have moved back into (our now super-cool) handheld devices.

95% of real computer-based work continues to require a good keyboard and pointing device.

Re:Those upgrades don't matter so much any more (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41353763)

You're forgetting that PCs are now so cheap that you can dedicate them to different tasks. I think I have nine that are used at least intermittently, from my old Pentium-4 box that's booted up every few months to my laptop to my netbook to my HTPC to my home server to the Windows box we keep around so my girlfriend can run iTunes.

Re:Those upgrades don't matter so much any more (4, Informative)

postbigbang (761081) | about 2 years ago | (#41353811)

Dude. We have to educate you about virtual machines. Time to recycle and reclaim!

Re:Those upgrades don't matter so much any more (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | about 2 years ago | (#41353893)

Not only this, but the biggest improvement to overall responsiveness of a machine right now is an SSD. If you purchased or built your computer 1-2 years ago and are looking for a significant speed boost, all you need to do is buy an SSD, not an entirely new computer or even a new motherboard and cpu. I doubt their methods to track purchased PCs even include hardware sales that could indicate home-built computers, and are only tracking numbers from the larger pre-built companies like apple, dell, hp, toshiba, etc..

Re:Those upgrades don't matter so much any more (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#41353489)

At least they still have Microsoft to push for more powerful hardware. If the OS requirements climb above what you have it's off to buy a faster PC. Of course smartphones are fast enough for what most users need and want. The average PC has been overkill for the average user's needs for quite a while, it was the OS itself that drove upgraded hardware needs.

Windows hardware treadmill has slowed (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41353563)

If the OS requirements climb above what you have it's off to buy a faster PC.

That's true of Macs: Mac OS X 10.8 wouldn't run on a Mac mini sold brand-new four year before it was released [slashdot.org] . But Windows system requirements stopped creeping so fast when Microsoft realized that people were keeping old operating systems around to run on old PCs. The system requirements of Windows 7 are all but identical to those of Windows Vista. The system requirements of Windows 8 are also all but identical to those of Windows Vista, I've read.

Re:Windows hardware treadmill has slowed (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41353777)

The system requirements of Windows 7 are all but identical to those of Windows Vista.

That's because Windows 7 is just Vista with some of the suck removed.

Re:Those upgrades don't matter so much any more (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41353779)

Desktop and laptop PCs have simply passed the point where even an entry-level model is sufficient for everyday home and business tasks like reading e-mail, web browsing, working on office documents and database applications, and playing audio/video files.

Sort of. Software hasn't caught up to taking advantage of hardware, in large part because you get glued to compatibility with 7 year old hardware and you can't take advantage of new hardware.

Though I fully accept that some problems just can't get much 'better' by throwing CPU cycles at it. Windows XP was the first 'good enough for everything' operating system from microsoft, and by about 2003-2004 you could do the vast majority of generic tasks reasonably well on affordable hardware. Quadrupling the speed of the computer won't make me type faster.

The problem of course isn't 99% of the applications on my computer. It's the 1% of applications that actually use the most power (or whatever that happens to be, maybe it's really and 80/20 problem). My car doesn't need to drive 100 Km/h 80% of the time, since I usually just drive too and from work, but I wouldn't buy a car that can't do highway speeds at all (unless it was a second car) sort of thing. If you want to play games, or if HTML 6 or some other new application comes along that really takes advantage of a faster computer you'll see people upgrade. Making windows kinda transparent and applications open 25% faster is improvement, it just, as you say, isn't all that useful.

I suspect the next big 'killer' app is going to look at lot like small business for home, which is going to be things like backup and networking tools for multiple computers, a 'home server'. Stuff geeks do now, but non geeks need. Those problems are more storage related than performance however. Games naturally remain the driver of performance for home users.

Re:Those upgrades don't matter so much any more (2)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#41353941)

Games naturally remain the driver of performance for home users.

But since much of the serious PC gaming industry is dying under the weight of piracy, a lot of the big name PC games today are either console ports or MMOGs, neither of which is even close to pushing state-of-the-art PC hardware to its limits in most cases. It seems unlikely this will change until the next generation of consoles arrives.

Also, it seems like these days it's not so much the graphics limiting gaming performance as the rest of the code. A single core on a CPU today is a similar speed to those of several years ago and gaming software is notoriously bad at keeping up with the potential of multicore systems, so again, there's little in the gaming world that is really pushing the boundaries of today's current hardware, never mind driving further improvements.

Re:Those upgrades don't matter so much any more (1)

serialband (447336) | about 2 years ago | (#41353861)

The cpus are now stuck at 2007 speeds. The only upgrade is to multicore/multiproc and programmers aren't completely up to speed on parallel programming. A lot of the fun games are not multiproc/multicore, so everyone can still run them, even on most 5 year old single core systems.

You're also just getting older and have more responsibilties. When you have kids, you won't have as much time to waste gaming, assuming of course you want to raise them to your standards.

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (4, Insightful)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | about 2 years ago | (#41353165)

That may be your hardware replacement schedule, but I doubt that is true for the masses. With ATT, you are eligible for a phone upgrade after 2 years. I think many people keep them longer once they find one they like, if for no other reason than to avoid having to "learn" a new phone.

On the PC side, it has been my experience that most people have computers older than 3 years. The Slashdot demographic is probably not indicative of the general population in this case. I would put the average age of a home PC at closer to the 5-7 year range. Same with corporate. Where I work, the main DB servers are on a 3 year refresh, as are the customer facing computers. Everything else is 5-7 years.

So while I agree with you that people will probably buy more smartphones than computers in their lifetime, I would not put the ratio at 3:1 nor would I expect a 3 year refresh cycle. Although I am sure the manufacturers would love it if the consumers did follow your schedule.

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353319)

"With ATT, you have paid off the hire-purchase agreement on your old phone after two years"

I radically fixed your spelling.

Still paying on a loan that's already paid off (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41353591)

"With ATT, you have paid off the hire-purchase agreement on your old phone after two years"

I radically fixed your spelling.

The problem here is that as I understand it, a customer's monthly bill doesn't go down after the hire-purchase agreement is paid off. This is unlike T-Mobile's Value Plan (formerly Even More Plus), which itemizes the monthly service and the loan repayment and then drops the loan repayment from the bill entirely after two years.

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41353845)

Where I work, the main DB servers are on a 3 year refresh, as are the customer facing computers. Everything else is 5-7 years.

The rule of thumb I give people is that computers have about a 50% failure rate for hardware at 6 years. If you really care about uptime you end up wanting to replace every 3 or so, BEFORE stuff starts to die. For computers that can be replaced without data loss and where 2 hours of downtime doesn't cause mass panic 5 years is fairly reasonable.

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (-1, Redundant)

XaN-ASMoDi (894073) | about 2 years ago | (#41353219)

Add to this the meaningless statistic of 50%. Of what? 50% of the GDP of commistan? Please check the summaries, editors.

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353255)

It was that PCs used less than 50% of a particular component - DRAM.
there is no relation to the GDP of anything, or anyone,. Please check your reading comprehension, commenters.
(and you might also check into your punctuation).

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41353993)

Maybe this graph will be helpful. [businessinsider.com] It ends in 2011. We know that in 2012 the "apple" portion increased by 50%, and the "android" portion doubled while the "PC" portion stayed the same.

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 2 years ago | (#41353317)

You buy a phone once a year vs a PC once every 3 years. I would expect 3x more smartphone shipments than PCs.

Around here, a lot of phones come with two-year contracts. Terminating the contract early would be very expensive, so I doubt a lot of those people are buying new phone more than once every two years (unless they are replacing their existing phone because they broke/lost it)

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41353409)

"so I doubt a lot of those people are buying new phone more than once every two years (unless they are replacing their existing phone because they broke/lost it)"

... and since a lot more people take their phones to the bars than bring their laptops, this helps explain it quite a bit, thereby negating your point almost entirely.

a certain symmetry to this (0)

goombah99 (560566) | about 2 years ago | (#41353435)

Apple computer seeded this when they partnered with Acorn micro to create the ARM company (producing the modern ARM6). It went in to the newton. The newton we all know failed. But the iphone is the re-incarnation of the newton. And it is this that is really responsible for the rise of the RISC ARM processors. Even the Marvel processors derive from this same origin. Their partnership with IBM on the powerPC shows how they still believed in RISC even after they sold off ARM.

It's remarkable how apple is an early adopter. dynamic memory, integrated graphics, mouse, postscript,.... and Risc.

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#41353459)

Also, smartphones are a growing market while the number of PCs is mostly stagnant.

Re:More smartphones than pc's ? (2)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#41353569)

Phones are at a primtive stage of development compared to PCs, so they are now obsoleted very quickly and turnover is high.

Nonsense. (5, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#41352897)

The only sorts of people satisfied with a smart phone or an ipad rather then a proper computer never really used the computer properly in the first place. They do not do the same thing and you don't have the same control over it. That vital in business which is where much of the demand for computers started in the first place.

The cloud has it's uses and I think it will remain relevant for as long as our smart phones aren't powerful enough to do run desktop level applications entirely in their own processors/memory. That day will come though. And when that happens why trust the cloud and a likely unreliable internet connection when you can run the whole thing live?

The personal computer is as likely to go away as the pencil and paper... less likely actually. The iFad is enjoying it's day but in the end it can't deliver the same utility as a personal computer. And even if it could, there are matters of latency, security, customization, etc that are a systemic flaw of the cloud.

Re:Nonsense. (2)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#41353023)

"the impending closing of the history books on the era that started in Silicon Valley a little over 35 years ago."

What a load of bullshit.

Of course, mobile computing is getting more and more important.

But no one is giving up their PC on their desktop in their office to do their daily work on an iPhone. The number of PCs being sold is still increasing.

People will be sitting at desks, typing on keyboards, looking at monitors, for the foreseeable future. And using their mobile devices when they're away from the desk.

We still use pens and pencils to write, AS WELL AS keyboards. We still use CDs to play music AS WELL AS MP3s. We still go to cinemas, we don't all watch movies on out 4" smartphone screens. We do all that AS WELL AS using he newer technology. PCs aren't obsolete.

"Passing of the PC era"? Not in my lifetime.

Re:Nonsense. (4, Insightful)

afgam28 (48611) | about 2 years ago | (#41353033)

The flaw in your argument is that you assume that people have to choose between a pc and a mobile device. I'm perfectly satisfied with my phone and tablet, yet I still have a "proper computer". In fact I have many proper computers.

No one ever said that the post pc world would contain no pcs. The point was that a greater share of users would be doing a greater share of their computing from non pc devices.

This is exactly what happened, and the people who were insightful enough to see it coming were able to make a lot of money from their prediction.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 2 years ago | (#41353263)

That depends on your meaning of the word "computing."

People already HAVE long since done more "computing" on other devices than on the PC. They use microwave ovens.

As long as you use "computing" to mean the use of any device or appliance with a CPU, then watches, pocket calculators, MP# players, GPS units, your CAR, satellite radio, bread machine, digital wall thermostat and any other thing can be heralded as signalling the "end of the PC era."

Whereas if you define "computing" as doing productive work, the PC era is still in its infancy.

Re:Nonsense. (0)

kencurry (471519) | about 2 years ago | (#41353293)

Arg, posting to delete a mod screw-up. sorry bout that.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 years ago | (#41353333)

There will be... to a point. There is a point where the devices will end up with market saturation. PCs got to that point a number of years ago.

The reason why we have seen such a spike in mobile devices is because of convergence. Until smartphones became commonplace, people would have a camera, MP3 player, pager, Blackberry for messages, cell phone, PDA, and GPS unit. Since an average smartphone does more than all these things combined [1], it ends up being a device that appeals for an extremely wide range of users even with the concerns about privacy.

However, there will be a point where smartphones hit diminishing returns where the device made last year doesn't do that much less than the latest and greatest, similar to how a PC on the shelf at a big box store now has almost nothing better than a PC bought 2-3 years ago, other than a faster GPU, faster CPU, and perhaps a tad more RAM. The biggest shift recently was the move from conventional hard disks to SSDs.

The PC market is still viable. It just isn't expanding as other markets are. There are also untapped markets out there. For example, the server market [2].

10-20 years from now, PCs will still be around. Unless there is some new brainwave interface, the best way to enter in data or type is still a keyboard. Yes, one *can* write a term paper on a touch screen, but it is a lot easier for the hands to use a better device suited for that task with a monitor that has plenty of real estate to compare editions and other items.

[1]: Although it may not be as good as a dedicated device. I wouldn't expect to do pro photos with a smartphone's camera, but it is useful to have nonetheless.

[2]: The home server market is definitely untapped. I can see a niche for a mini SAN where all the machines can use FCoE to boot from (with antivirus utilities able to scan the virtual disks which goes a long way to find rootkits), deduplication, centralized backups, streaming game video similar to OnLive. That way, only the server needs the high end GPUs, and everything else on that LAN segment can use streaming video from that.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#41353341)

I completely agree.

That said, the argument being made by this article is that we'll abandon your personal computers in favor of iFads. It's a completely goofy argument that demonstrates an ignorance of what ipads/iphones can do and what they can't. It fails to grasp what desktop computers can do and what tablets can't.

As someone else said, a tablet could be a desktop in a different form factor. Completely agree. But the people preaching the glories of the cloud aren't talking about that. They're talking about everyone giving up personal computing entirely and going to a massive dumb terminal system where every one uses the cloud instead of their own personal processing power.

There are applications for the cloud. I am not anti cloud. But I think it's an "ADDITIONAL" computing environment instead of a replacement. Further, as to the tablets and smart phones, that's the same situation. I think they're great. I have a few and I enjoy them. but they can't replace my desktop. They don't have the same utility.

Re:Nonsense. (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41353429)

"No one ever said that the post pc world would contain no pcs. The point was that a greater share of users would be doing a greater share of their computing from non pc devices."

The flaw in your argument, and in the article, is assuming that because they call it a smartphone it is somehow not a personal computing device. The term smartphone is an artifact. They are personal computing devices that also have the ability to place and receive phone calls.

Re:Nonsense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353041)

I think what you are really seeing is that for many users a table or phone is sufficient. You don't need a computer to comment on facebook or even browse the web. Soon you will be using tablets for basic word processing and spreadsheets too, further removing the need for a full computer for many.

Ignorance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353075)

is no excuse. [angryflower.com]

Re:Ignorance (2)

Kwpolska (2026252) | about 2 years ago | (#41353189)

expect “it’s”can also mean “it has”.

Re:Ignorance (1)

Kwpolska (2026252) | about 2 years ago | (#41353193)

...except*, blame no unicode for the lack of ellipsis.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41353113)

All an iPad is, to me, is another form factor of personal computer or terminal, depending on the type of application (ie, locally-run or predominately tied to some server far away). The only differences are how it's tied to the computer network (wifi vs cabled) and the physical layout of the user interface (ie touchscreen vs keyboard).

Remember that there have been numerous form factors for computers. There have been all-in-one desktop units that were "L" shaped with integrated CRT on top, computer at the corner of the "L", and keyboard protruding, pizza-box desktop units with cabled keyboards and monitors like the 5150-cased IBM PC, square units with the monitor integrated above the motherboard like the IBM PS/2 Model 25 and the Apple Macintosh, computers integrated into the keyboard housing with plugs for external monitors like the Commodores, suitcase form factors like the first-generation Compaqs, and probably dozens of other form factors. There have even been flat computers that integrated the entire computer in the housing with the LCD monitor and had plugs for the keyboard and mouse, and some of those computers were touchscreen.

The iPad is not revolutionary in that it's just a tablet computer that doesn't fold to become a keyboard-equipped laptop like earlier tablet computers did. It's more like Star Trek's "PADD", is less versatile, and more geared as a consumer-level toy than a business machine. That doesn't mean it's a joke, but it also doesn't mean that it's going to dictate the direction of computing in the future either.

We're integrating computers or computer-like experiences into our televisions, into our telephones, into our notepads, into our music players, and into our cars. That doesn't mean that we're going to do research, read in-depth news articles, play video games, do work, or learn effectively on these platforms. When I want to actually work, my smartphone, my media center PC, even my netbook, are not really the most comfortable tools, my desktop computer, set into my workspace, is. I entertain myself on the netbook, or on the phone, or obviously with the media PC, but none of those are conducive to real work, and that's just at home. At work nothing is as practical as a real PC, and I know because we've tried other form factors and it flat-out sucks. That's why the PC is not dying.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#41353279)

If you jail break the ipad, then I'd agree. However, if not... then it's a much more restricted environment. A personal computer will run your own code. A default ipad will not.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41353393)

Running your own code isn't the definition of a personal computer or honestly of a computer in general, outside of a development environment. While I agree that it is important to be able to develop one's own software, I see nothing requiring it in the definition of computer.

Yes, obviously someone must write programs, but a personal computer could operate just fine with only those programs supplied by the hardware vendor. It's been done that way numerous times already.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about 2 years ago | (#41353257)

Agreed. I have a laptop that is also my desktop machine, and my field machine. I have to be able to connect to a wireless network, wired network, USB devices, PCMCIA cards, SD cards, serial devices, and burn CDs and DVDs. I have a phone that makes phone calls, sends texts, and takes really mediocre pictures. Others in my department that have smart phones still have to take a similar laptop to support their work. Another thing, there are times even a wide screen laptop does not give me all the space I could use. If there was a way to fold out side panels on a laptop screen for a triple head display, I would be all over that. The screen on a smart phone is simply not big enough for real work. If it was all I had, yes, I would use it, but then I have used pliers when I didn't have a set of wrenches, too. For right now, the cost of a smart phone is too high for it to be a "pair of pliers."

Re:Nonsense. (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 2 years ago | (#41353685)

Well, you could always hunt down a Thinkpad W700DS. That was a 17" laptop with a second 10" screen that popped out of the side, as a second display.

I bet it was awfully heavy, though.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | about 2 years ago | (#41353431)

You are under the mistaken impression that one must have to replace the other. This is not the case. There was an era where writing instruments developed over centuries or longer. The art of making the quill probably didn't take too long for somebody to figure out ideal ways of doing it. But the mass produced paper to write on was likely very disruptive because it coincided with the printing press. All of these things had their rise, and commoditization, and even falls. To get a quill you have to buy it online, or as I did go down to a water front area pick up many feathers and even reinvent how to do it. Printing presses are still around, but I see more print shops using laser printers these days. PCs will be around until something comes along to really replace its functions. If I were to speculate in the realm of science fiction: what if your phone had the ability to project a keyboard and a display from it, and had the power to run the applications of the desktop. This might qualify for both PCs and 'mobile computing', but who knows. With regards to the cloud, it is just a new term for an old thing. IBM was doing this thirty years ago and better in mainframes. If latency is low enough, availability can cover it. Customization is available to many. You have never been able to customize every thing on any product, unless you want to speak about Linux and then get back to me when you have finished programming your customization.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 years ago | (#41353709)

Hehe, my smartphone does everything a PC can do and more. I run Debian chroot on top of Android so I have access to the entire Android catalog and the entire Debian catalog (well, ok X doesn't work very well yet, so the CLI catalog but that will be fixed eventually). With a dual core 1.5Ghz processor and a gig of ram and a decent GPU I have more power than a laptop from just 5 years ago. All that and it fits in a shirt pocket. Now tell me why that doesn't seem like progress.

Re:Nonsense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353771)

As much as I would like to defend the name of the PC, I'm afraid I must point out a few flaws in your logic. You say that security and such is needed, but the field it is needed in, and you mention this, is business. This article is referring to personal computers, which if evaluated by its name, excludes computers used in business environments. The term PC is very odd though, because it can also refer to any type of windows machine (PC vs Mac). In this case, the release of a ARM 'PC' will mean that there are PCs not using those chips, and the creations of macs means that there are desktop environments that are not PCs.

If anything is reaching the end of an era, it is the term PC. It could mean a home desk/laptop or it could mean a windows machine, and both of those definitions need changing. Is not a tiny computer held in your pocket for your games and your data a personal computer? And isn't a business machine that could be resold for personal use not a PC while it is still used for business purposes?

Re:Nonsense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353803)

The only sorts of people satisfied with a smart phone or an ipad rather then a proper computer never really used the computer properly in the first place.

They are holding them wrong?

Take a closer look (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41352907)

Only 13% was "tablets and phones."
The real threat is 30% "Other" which includes Servers and embedded.

So servers are killing the pc. You know, the cloud thing. Big whoop.

In other news... (5, Insightful)

Pav (4298) | about 2 years ago | (#41352909)

...more bicycles were sold worldwide than family cars*. Pundits hail the passing of the family car era.

Pffft... hogwash.

* - I have no idea how many bicycles or family cars are sold, but it's at least plausible.

Re:In other news... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41353061)

This. [b]more[/b] things are using bigger processors and non-trivial amounts of RAM now. When they can show fewer rather than more people having computers at work, let me know.

And look for home tablets to have keyboards and mice as optional accessories more and more, as the novelty of a touchscreen wears off.

NEWS FLASH: (4, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | about 2 years ago | (#41352911)

Cheaper products that tend to have shorter lifespans because they have not reached the "good enough" level of performance and because teenagers tend to drop them requiring more replacements are sold in greater quantities than more expensive products that have reached OK performance levels and aren't trashed as frequently! Film at 11!

Lousy conclusion is lousy (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41352945)

Most people already have a computer. They also replace smartphones more often than computers, since laptops and desktops that are fast enough for their use have been around quite some time, while the wireless domain is still improving with transitions from 3G to 4G, faster mobile processors, better screens with more real estate, lighter weight, etc. A better question would be: How many people own a smartphone, but no laptop or desktop? My admitted SWAG [slashdot.org] is that most who own a smartphone also own a laptop and/or desktop or are children in a family with access to the family computer, while a larger percentage of those who own a laptop or desktop don't own a smartphone. So, no.

Re:Lousy conclusion is lousy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353919)

Allow me to add to this that real sales statistics clearly indicates that the PC market is constantly growing, so the original article is complete bullshit anyway.

Wake me up when the number of PCs sold per year actually starts to decline and keeps doing so. This won't happen, though.

Not Until They Pry It From My Cold, Dead Hands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41352955)

I can't imagine any day when I won't opt to build my own PC, versus buying some closed retail model.

I really enjoy the experience, it's fun to tinker and put things together yourself.

I also prefer mixing and matching hardware. Not only can I choose what parts to install for budget reasons, but I can decide what video card and motherboard manufacturers to support.

And not least is the ability to upgrade my own damn hardware; something that's nigh impossible with any retail models.

I will seriously turn my life toward the robotics industry if DIY computing actually disappears.

Passing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41352971)

I've had my desktop computer for close to 10 years. I've had my current laptop for 6 years. Every single person I know have a computer at home, either their own or shared with the rest of the household. The era is not passing just because real computers aren't selling as fast as hyper-marketed status symbols.

don't panic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353029)

From wikipedia : "A personal computer (PC) is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator.".
So, a personal computer is/(will be soon) the smartphone.

Re:don't panic! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41353415)

No, the smartphone (at least the typical one) is not general-purpose. That this is due to artificial restrictions rather than fundamental hardware restrictions is irrelevant. The processor in your microwave is also able to run arbitrary programs.

It's called "saturation and maturity" (4, Informative)

The Master Control P (655590) | about 2 years ago | (#41353037)

For the basic user, desktop and laptop hardware is now Good Enough and has been for a while. You do not, in actual fact, need dual quad-core processors, 24GB of DDR1600 memory, or the latest Radeon 7000 series or nVidia Kepler video card to check your email, surf Youtube, and edit your TPS reports. So a lot of people have no need to buy a new computer regularly now. Furthermore, computers have gotten cheap. So much so that almost everyone who has any want for a desktop or laptop, has one. Laptops and especially desktops don't have the faux "oh, your styling is out of date! You need to replace your car that will be perfectly good for another ten years!" thing going on that phones to some extent do.

So color me shocked: A mature and saturated market isn't growing 20% per annum, and is in fact shrinking relative to its size at the peak of growth! Meanwhile, servers always need MOAR POWAH so hardware there is more likely to keep churning. It's not like this isn't a predictable curve for every not-freshly-disrupted market (surprise: There's only 1 maker of gigantic utility-size power transformers anymore. I guess utility transformers are dying too), and yet it seems that every month this year there's been a breathless "Oh, let us lament the passing of the PC and the Laptop, for they are dying!" article posted. PCs are "dying" like file sharing is "dying": it's saturated at "everyone has one and does it."

Re:It's called "saturation and maturity" (3, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41353473)

"You do not, in actual fact, need dual quad-core processors, 24GB of DDR1600 memory, or the latest Radeon 7000 series or nVidia Kepler video card to check your email, surf Youtube, and edit your TPS reports"

True, but we don't need to worry, because Microsoft is working on solving that problem as we speak!

Consumption vs Production (4, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 years ago | (#41353059)

People who use small devices are primarily consumers of information with obvious exceptions like texting, voice, pictures, and video. But specifically these people are not manipulating the information. They might take the video but they aren't likely to turn it into a documentary on their device. As the screens and computing power gets larger the amount of creation and manipulation increases. Thus programmers, video editors, 3D artists, engineers, etc all need powerful systems with good keyboards, mice, and many screens.

A good example of how this trend is understood by the hardware makers would be the increase in video cards with more than one DVI port. Your average email/websurfer doesn't need dual screens. Even apple, which makes the vast bulk of its money from consumer devices, still makes the Mac Pro. I suspect that they don't make enough money from these to make it worth it. But if they were to loose that tiny core audience of hardcore users to another platform then those hardcore users might start recommending that other platform.

In a way this whole reduction of the lower end users might help us who would prefer some more powerful machines as the manufacturers will waste less time making machines that are one step up from toasters.

The one wildcard in this whole mix are the gamers. To a certain extent gamers may have driven the leading edge of hardware development for years with servers driving similar but different high end hardware. So I suspect that instead of the lower end causing problems for the average high end user like developers that the gamer and server market will keep things cooking along at the extreme end and things will trickle down to the rest of us.

So to say that the desktop is dead is wrong. I would say that the crappy desktop is dead.

Begs the question: what is a Personal Computer? (2)

Trekologer (86619) | about 2 years ago | (#41353069)

The article says that smartphones and tablets are not personal computers. If you consider the "PC" as only in the mold of a beige box with a display and keyboard/mouse tethered to it, then yes smartphones and tablets are not personal computers. However, I disagree. A personal computer is a general purpose computer intended for use by one person. How is a smartphone or tablet not a personal computer? In fact, a smartphone or tablet is, in some ways, more a personal computer than the beige box "PC" because it has more of a one-on-one interaction with the user. The bottom line is that the computing industry as a whole is always changing, perhaps now more than ever.

Re:Begs the question: what is a Personal Computer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353253)

How is a smartphone or tablet not a personal computer?

You can actually make things on a PC, rather than just watch whatever media they're renting you today.

Re:Begs the question: what is a Personal Computer? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41353487)

Just as early computers didn't allow you to make much of anything, so to is the handheld device in its infancy. As technology progresses, you will be able to develop using them as well.

Re:Begs the question: what is a Personal Computer? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#41353721)

I dont follow, early computers gave you everything you needed out of the box to make everything you wanted, as they didnt have software and hardware to do anything

Re:Begs the question: what is a Personal Computer? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353801)

no, and that's by design.

New Study Suggests... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353081)

Computers are more gravity resistant than phones and tablets. Scientist believe computer's natural advantage is due to the fact that computers being bigger, more useful and more expensive. The computer being natural more resistant to the shortfalls of gravity are purchased less often than phones/tablets and upgraded less frequently.

I wish! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#41353085)

I wish, desktop computers were not used by "mainstream", so I would be able to buy an expensive (really, I am perfectly ok with it being expensive) workstation that is something other than a cheap consumer product that contains only cheap consumer components, and is expected to run the greatest engineering failure of the 20th century -- Windows. I would be also overjoyed if people who use computers for business and engineering, did not have consumer crap and Windows shoved down their throats. And if it prompted CAD and EDA software vendors to drop Windows as a supported architecture, and purge their software of all Windows-isms, I would stop recommending to turn Redmond into an art installation that involves river of blood flowing between hills made of crushed bones of Microsoft employees, topped by skulls of Gates and Ballmer.

But the truth is, desktops and their twin brothers laptops, will be popular among consumers for ages and ages to come. So river of blood it is!

Re:I wish! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353309)

I wish, desktop computers were not used by "mainstream", so I would be able to buy an expensive (really, I am perfectly ok with it being expensive) workstation that is something other than a cheap consumer product that contains only cheap consumer components, and is expected to run the greatest engineering failure of the 20th century -- Windows.

Apple Pro should fit the bill if you want a an expensive workstation. Supports dual 6-core Xeons and 64GB of ram.

Re:I wish! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#41353457)

Can't be customized like a real workstation should, HDs/SSDs are still consumer crap, and it comes with OS that I don't care for. This is the result of "workstation" market combined with "consumer desktop". I want to pay for quality, not artistic layout of the case.

Saturation and life-cycle (4, Interesting)

stevez67 (2374822) | about 2 years ago | (#41353089)

We have 4 people in the household that use one PC, but we each have Smartphones. I build my own PC and update one individual part (mobo, cpu, RAM, video card, psu, etc.) every 6 months so I never really show up on the radar of the floggers who write such tripe based on HP and Dell stats, but we each get a new phone at a minimum every 2 years and frequently more often if there's an accident with one. The PC isn't dead it's just reached a saturation point like the tablets will someday. Phones I would expect to ALWAYS have higher numbers because they'll always have more frequent replacement, but they may suffer the same fate if they reach saturation once all the features have been fleshed out and hardware hits physical limits.

Seems like every time a new iDevice is released... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353091)

We get a story about how the 'PC era' is over, even though there is no evidence for it. The mobile device is a supplement to a PC, the fact that people are turning to the mobile device for entertainment (web browsing, etc) isn't indicative of a mass move away from the PC.

Everyone still needs their laptops for college classes, all companies still require work to be done on a laptop or PC, they aren't going away any time at least in the next decade. I can see the tablet possibly becoming the new laptop (once it runs a 'normal' OS and not a watered down one), you bring it to work where you have a bluetooth keyboard and mouse there... then you just bring the tablet home where you also have a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. At this point, is it really any different than a laptop? Is that really a post PC era, even though the computer is just a different form factor?

Margins and walled gardens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353237)

"At this point, is it really any different than a laptop?"
You bet it is. The majority of PCs are currently generic vendor-neutral platforms.
Manufacturers REALLY REALLY REALLY want to change that to drive up profit margins
and lock you into their hardware. Alibaba/Acer is the latest example. Lock your chiphone
into the Alibaba store ecosystem. Intel and AMD are telling you they are going to lock you
into Windows 8. BE AFRAID!

Obviously the people who comes up with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353101)

Obviously the people who come up with this type of article are not computer people, and consider a tablet/smartphone adequate for the minor computer related things they need to do, and don't understand the market. They see numbers, and then cry wolf.

It's a nerds paradise! (3, Interesting)

MindPrison (864299) | about 2 years ago | (#41353131)

I never really dreamed of the day when I could pick anything I wanted without being a millionaire.

Well, these days I can. The only thing I have to be concerned of now, is my personal health and well being (physically, that is!).

Who's complaining? I only pity the kids who's only gripe on technology is an xbox and a smartphone, but they're not complaining either, they have no clue what we "the old dinosaurs of personal computing" grew up with, I pity them because they'll never have the in depth knowledge that we (40+ something) have.

I grew up with a Philips Electric Engineer 2003 electronics kit where I learned to follow schematics and make modifications (eg my own police radio) with these kits, later on I got a Commodore 64 in 1981/82, and since there where literally no software for it back then, I had to code my own, and BOY was that frustrating...and ultimately VERY much fun later on. It was like going exploring in an incredibly interesting new world, unseen and uncharted. I just only WISH kids could experience what I experienced back then, I know David Braben is trying to do this with his Raspberry PI, but it just seem to fetch the interest of old timers like me...he he...no wonder, btw. one can dream and hope, and of course...inspire.

I look at the world in a different way than kids do. Me? I live in a wifeless super-electronics-complex, totally mad science with 1000000's of components from the 50's to today, so many gadgets and computers you'd break into my house if you knew where I lived (and of course suffer the consequences of my analog gadgets that awaits such a culprit, oh straying off the subject here...). I have microcontrollers, I don't think about getting the latest smartphone if I feel like programming an APP, I actually make the darn thing from scratch with libraries, a few MCU's and sensors...and voila...new thingy that no one can explain, but most ...enjoy.

The kids wonder if I am some kind of mad magician that can come up with stuff from gizmos (to them, totally unknown world...of components) laying around and just make it do cool stuff?

Thank god for the MAKER movement though, it IS slowly but steadily arising, and maybe once again, we'll get kids curious enough to dive into this basic, simple, from-scratch kind of DIY world that we once took for granted.

Re:It's a nerds paradise! (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#41353541)

I think the 3D printing environment has much of that same freshness that computing had in the late 70's and early 80's. What a rush that era was.

Toys dont replace tools (3, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 years ago | (#41353135)

I wonder how many tablets are nothing more than multimedia devices... I know that's the only appeal they have for me, and every time I think about it, I realize my old, $100 netBook does the job better than any tablet could in most cases. Would we be so excited about these sales figures if, when PC sales slowed down, it was portable DVD players sales that went through the roof, and started requiring a big fraction of chip production? Would we still have the same doomsday predictions for PCs?

From what I've seen, the only places where tablets replace laptops, is where folks just about only used them to launch Citrix, making it just a thin client, with some games, music, and movie watching built-in. And even there, you're buying a keyboard to go with it, and this is nothing a real laptop couldn't do, and better.

Re:Toys dont replace tools (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#41353331)

The point really is that most consumers use their computers for a few functions like facebook, web surfing etc. For that, a smartphone or tablet is enough. In the past, they needed a computer/laptop because it was the only option. Geeks here on slashdot don't always represent consumers. Geeks need much more than consumers and a tablet isn't going to be enough for them.

Re:Toys dont replace tools (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41353381)

every time I think about it, I realize my old, $100 netBook does the job better than any tablet could in most cases.

Boot time, battery life, and hot laps

I have a netbook with androidx86 installed on it so its basically a keyboard equipped tablet. Doesn't get too much use compared to the ipad because:

Pickup and go "boot" time of androidx86 netbook is about 180 seconds, "boot" time of ipad is about 2 seconds to hit button and unlock

Battery life of netbook is 2 hours, ipad is ... I donno but its apparently way longer than I'm willing to work on something in one sitting. Every time I use the netbook I have to plan, OK, now when the battery dies I'll either switch to ... or plug in to charge there... or ...

Netbook is too hot to handle, literally, after an hour or two. Fan is loud and completely ineffective. ipad never gets too warm to handle and no fan and no cooling vents to block.

I would assume an android tablet is equally useful, not ipad specific... basically my android phone with a bigger screen would be a really nice tablet.

I find I task switch with the ipad a lot. Not switch apps inside the ipad, but in real life. I would not be patient enough to boot up a desktop / laptop / netbook to check the weather. Would I pick up a ipad and "button" "swipe" "click" to check the weather, sure, it only takes 5 seconds. You don't talk about a geographic location in theory, you just google map it. I've got a, one, minute this morning to check my email. Do I spend three minutes booting the desktop or fifteen seconds on the ipad? Lots of little task switching like that.

Re:Toys dont replace tools (1, Troll)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 2 years ago | (#41353611)

every time I think about it, I realize my old, $100 netBook does the job better than any tablet could in most cases.

Boot time, battery life, and hot laps

I have a netbook with androidx86 installed on it so its basically a keyboard equipped tablet. Doesn't get too much use compared to the ipad because:

Pickup and go "boot" time of androidx86 netbook is about 180 seconds, "boot" time of ipad is about 2 seconds to hit button and unlock

Battery life of netbook is 2 hours, ipad is ... I donno but its apparently way longer than I'm willing to work on something in one sitting. Every time I use the netbook I have to plan, OK, now when the battery dies I'll either switch to ... or plug in to charge there... or ...

Netbook is too hot to handle, literally, after an hour or two. Fan is loud and completely ineffective. ipad never gets too warm to handle and no fan and no cooling vents to block.

I would assume an android tablet is equally useful, not ipad specific... basically my android phone with a bigger screen would be a really nice tablet.

I find I task switch with the ipad a lot. Not switch apps inside the ipad, but in real life. I would not be patient enough to boot up a desktop / laptop / netbook to check the weather. Would I pick up a ipad and "button" "swipe" "click" to check the weather, sure, it only takes 5 seconds. You don't talk about a geographic location in theory, you just google map it. I've got a, one, minute this morning to check my email. Do I spend three minutes booting the desktop or fifteen seconds on the ipad? Lots of little task switching like that.

If you have Windows 7 on your netbook, it would take 1-2 seconds to resume, matching the iPad. If you had a decent netbook, your real useable screen-on-and-doing-stuff battery life on the netbook would be 10 hours, comparable to the iPad. You'd also be able to do a hell of a lot more than you can on the iPad. Typical netbooks are also comparable in temperature to the iPad and have no fans whatsover. In fact, were netbooks ever made with fans? I never saw one so now I'm wondering whether you're just making this up. Everything you describe as slow on your netbook should actually be at least as fast on a netbook as on a tablet.

I don't think tablets suck. Tablets are awesome because of the form factor, the generally awesome displays, and the examples you didn't choose (like reading a book or using a variety of specialized apps to do things netbooks don't do as well). Your examples, however, just show that you're worse at computers than the average dude on the street.

Re:Toys dont replace tools (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 2 years ago | (#41353745)

They made netbooks without fans? All of the ones I've seen have fans. Small ones, and generally pretty quiet. Until the bearings start to wear out.

My Eee 701 had a fan, my Eee 901 has a fan (that's wearing out and moaning like the souls of the damned.)

The only time I got anywhere close to 10 hours of battery life out of my Eees was when I used a huge aftermarket battery that stuck way out.

Three or four hours out of the 701 when it was new, maybe five out of the 901.

Re:Toys dont replace tools (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#41353571)

I think almost all smartphones are used for facebook, twitter and other social media and little else. I did watch a guy editing a movie on his iPad. iMovie works much better on my mac mini however.

Parker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353149)

According to the data DRAMeXchange, in the second half of August contract prices of DRAM memory decreased even more. It reflects continuation of decline in demand for the PC. In August of OEM suppliers ordered much smaller volume of chips, than analysts expected.
Due to the low demand for the DRAM chips used in modules for desktop PCs, branch players switch the production capacities to mobile DRAM memory and server products. http://www.law-us.blogspot.com/

New PCs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353157)

Not everyone bought a new PC this year. Either the world is crashing and burning, or the previous PC's were more future-proof with regards to specs than anticipated.

More Oreo Cookies Sell Than Smarphones! (5, Insightful)

BrendaEM (871664) | about 2 years ago | (#41353159)

I am sick and tired of people trying to bury personal computers. Just because smarphones sell, and there is a lot of money to be pried from their users, does not mean that we should abandon computers that we can actually get work done on!

I own a tablet, but I use a laptop for word processing. I use a desktop for CAD and video editing. Because devices are small, they can be a marvel, but I remember when computers were much more useful with less hardware. Business did not want to spend the money for a 386DX 33MHZ, but if they did,they could run their whole business on it; smarphones are tablets are much more powerful and their are relegated to playing angry birds and small applets. People are amazed if they can write a single page of text on a smartphone, but were angry if they couldn't lay out a whole book on a 1GHZ desktop computer.

RISC processors might be the way of the future, but my laptop is still 10x faster than my tablet, for now, and there is no reason to make them faster if we don't expect better software. AMD's failure in the marketplace means that intel has gone dormant like a sleeping bear--stagnating the desktop market. Microsoft is trying to wall-in the open PC garden. Ubuntu screwed up by trying "Unity." Gnome screwed up by turning its back on desktop users, and for removing too much usefulness.

I like that people network more and can collaborate on projects more easily, but we have grown too dependent on single points of failure. To some, Google is the internet; that scares me. We are building too many card houses, and sooner or later, they will fall.

phones vs PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353213)

The PC market is already saturated, the smart phone isnt.... Not to mention Phones only last a couple of years where PC tend to last longer..

Have fun (2)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | about 2 years ago | (#41353227)

Have fun creating audio/visual content and software on your tablets... Buzzwords and marketing blah ("the passing of...", "a new era...", "groundbreaking, industry leading...") however might work well.

Not even about the Cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353233)

With the Cloud, people COULD argue that the PC is passing, but cellphones? Cellphones are a crutch you use until you get to a computer.

Aw geez... not this shit again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41353239)

n/t

The thing we have to understand ... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | about 2 years ago | (#41353267)

The thing we have to understand is that the vast majority of people bought personal computers because of what they could do. This means that the personal computer is very much replaceable in the lives of most people, especially if the replacements offer greater convenience.

That isn't to say that the computer is going to disappear entirely. Things like tablets are going to become more computer like, up until the point that they reflect the needs of most consumers. There will also be a market for personal computers, albeit a smaller one, for those of us who want something more than a digital appliance (e.g. higher performance or capacity, better options for I/O devices, more sophisticated tools). The market for business, education, and industrial applications won't die off either because they also place greater demands upon computers.

Personal computers aren't going to pass away any more than trains passed away due to the development of the airplane. But the personal computer era is passing because it will no longer be the most significant device that people use to communicate.

Misses the state of the industry entirely (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41353281)

The state of the industry is that even a 5-8 year old PC can still do everything most people need a PC for.

I'm writing this post on a Dual-core Athlon machine I built back in 2005. This machine does everything I need a PC to do, from standard office type stuff to running Cadence for schematic capture and layout.

New PCs stopped being necessary for anything other than games YEARS ago. Nothing the remaining 99% of the PC market does requires modern horsepower.

What a load of rubbish (4, Insightful)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41353391)

What a load of rubbish.

What has happened is that there is a singularity on "good enough" PCs.

Most of the people I know have PCs that are 4-5 years old because they are absolutely fine with what they have and it still works. They rarely go out and buy new stuff. The same is true of the company I work for. We bought decent quality dev workstations 4 years ago and they are still spot on now. Same for standard desktops.

People aren't buying stuff as much because what they have works fine.

I live in an expensive bit of London, UK and you'd expect it to be Apple everything. It's not. It's 5 year old ThinkPads everywhere.

Windows 7, Windows 8 will run perfectly fine on a machine designed for Windows Vista.

When you have an agenda ... (1)

Greymoon (834879) | about 2 years ago | (#41353583)

.... saying things to support your agenda doesn't make what you say true.

The PC is dead. Long live the PC! (4, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#41353605)

YASIFS (Yet another sky is falling story). The overall computer market is still growing.

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

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about 2 years ago | (#41353879)

Please mod parent up.

The number of PCs sold has been constantly growing from 1996 to 2011. No end of the PC era is in sight, just some slowing down of the total growth due to tablets and, probably more of an effect, the current economy.

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