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Half a Billion PCs To Ship In 2013, As Desktops and Laptops Dip But Tablets Grow

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the should-keep-the-lights-on-for-another-year dept.

Portables 223

An anonymous reader writes "The PC market (desktops, notebooks, and tablets) is expected to see almost half a billion units ship this year, 493.1 million to be exact, representing 7 percent year-on-year growth. Unsurprisingly, the key driver behind this growth will be tablets, accounting for 37 percent of the overall market and seeing 59 percent growth to 182.5 million units. The latest estimates come from Canalys, an independent analyst firm. Nevertheless, it's worth emphasizing that these are estimates, though they do line up with what the broader industry is seeing: desktops are down, laptops are down, but tablets are up."

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Hooray for the PC market! (4, Insightful)

telchine (719345) | about a year ago | (#43983669)

And who said PCs are dying? Easy to solve that problem...

All we need to do is redefine what a PC is (desktops, notebooks, and tablets)!

Problem Solved!

Simples!

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43983743)

If you were in the PC market and weren't making a tablet, you would fall to your knees and thank whatever supernatural forces you believe in that analysts have chosen to use this metric now.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43983817)

Why? You won't ship any more units just because the term gets redefined.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43984133)

You'll be in a better position to adapt to that reality without a whole lot of panic in the boardroom.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43985247)

Uhm.. I can just imagine that board meeting..

"VP of sales: our sales have been dropping the last decade, it's because we make "PCs" and nobody wants them - they want something called a "tablet"

[panic and stuff - general mayhem]

"Analyst: hey wait, what if we count tablets as PCs? - That way our market is on the climb and we have lots of new potential costumers!"
"President: yes... yes let's do that... then have cake"
"Engineer: ..."

We need better corporate board supervision. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984555)

BING = Ballmer Is No Guru.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (4, Interesting)

Spottywot (1910658) | about a year ago | (#43983799)

Exactly, tablets are replacing casual users devices and in some cases portable devices for professionals. As for desktops, even enthusiasts have no compelling reason to upgrade from sandy/ivy bridge or their AMD platform of choice(I'm not so up on the latest AMD stuff, Phenom x4 was my last one.) PCs in what ever firm they take are not dying. Some PC companies with outdated business models maybe, PCs themselves, no.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983831)

It's simply another step on the road of the evolution of the tricorder.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984805)

I intend to buy a new PC next year, so you are wrong.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43984955)

There are lots of reasons to upgrade to sandy bridge. That processor is a marvel of engineering.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985229)

There are lots of reasons to upgrade to sandy bridge. That processor is a marvel of engineering.

Read what Spottywot said again.

no compelling reason to upgrade from sandy/ivy bridge

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (4, Insightful)

InvalidError (771317) | about a year ago | (#43983849)

Every time they say "the PC is dying", they conveniently neglect to specify form factors.

Few people need the encumberment and expansion potential of traditional 'tower' form factor so an increasingly large chunk of the market will be looking at non-traditional form factors for their next PC. Also, since there hasn't been much performance improvements on CPUs over the past four years, most people who already own a tower or laptop have little to no reason to upgrade those and choose to get tablets instead for convenience.

Based on the proliferation of touch-enabled LCDs with embedded PCs, it seems like the old Tablet-PC concept that miserably failed about 10 years ago is coming back to life with a vengeance... if it gets priced right on this round.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

polar red (215081) | about a year ago | (#43983941)

Also, since there hasn't been much performance improvements on CPUs over the past four years, most people who already own a tower or laptop have little to no reason to upgrade those

indeed. the only reason I bought a new desktop, is to have usb3 and to have a ssd as boot device. the change in graphics card 5770 --> 7770 and processor amd x64->i5. didn't change much. the older desktop still stands in the corner to provide guests the ability to join in on a LAN game. (ut3, l4d2, b2)

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (4, Funny)

jez9999 (618189) | about a year ago | (#43984701)

I like my tower PC. I can put my feet up on it while I'm browsing and the PSU keeps my feet warm. Can't do that with a tablet.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (1, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about a year ago | (#43984013)

About a 2.4X improvement actually (http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7+860+%40+2.80GHz) at the same clock newer i7s are much faster. That said I think the thing is most people are disk I/O limited they feel the lag between clicking open to when the app pops up the rest of things (other than say transcoding and other niche users like developers) the delay in their thought/typing is more of the slow down than the speed of response of the app. The problem is SSDs are expensive so most people don't want to buy them. They'll turn you $500 walmart special into a $2000 beast by the time you get 1.5TB or so of SSD into it. Sadly most users are used to fairly powerful desktop computers costing the price of a decent tablet so getting them to cough up 4X in order to fix the IO issue and have the storage they are used to (and probably have filled already on their old box) is a hard sell.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (3, Informative)

polar red (215081) | about a year ago | (#43984037)

boot device : small ssd, second disk : traditional platters.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (3, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43984079)

traditional platters.

Mmm!

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (1)

Kunedog (1033226) | about a year ago | (#43983865)

Agreed. If you count tablets as "PCs" then you should include smartphones. So don't.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983975)

Why stop there? Video game consoles, PVRs, MP3 players, digital cameras, TVs, dumbphones, calculators, watches, etc. could all be classified as "personal" computers.

PC has a very specific meaning for form factors, input devices, expandability, processing power, etc. just like minicomputers, microcomputers and supercomputers do. If they want to change the meaning, then why not go all of the way?

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (1, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about a year ago | (#43984031)

Well I'd count Windows tablets. The whole point of the surface pro and the like is you can run real Windows apps and get real work done. iPads and androids I won't because they really are just large screen cellphones, useful but generally never going to see a real keyboard or get docked and used as the office work computer. Surface Pro definitely could.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (2)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#43984187)

Normally I'd let comments like this slide, but I'm getting really tired of all the Windows 8 garbage that's being spread around here. You can get docks for Android phones [androidcommunity.com] and there is a Ubuntu for Android [ubuntu.com] as someone pointed out to me yesterday. So I can use my Note II as an Ubuntu computer, which is what I use at home and get lots of work done on.

Most of /. posters are technically inclined people that have seen/used Windows 8 and from what I've read most agree Metro is garbage and the worst thing to happen to desktops ever. IMHO, you can take your toy interface and find some 5 year olds to use it that don't have real work to do.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about a year ago | (#43985461)

It isn't the metro I'm talking about though. I talking people with windows only apps that will buy a intel based tablet with win 8 to run their desktop apps. They might play in metro during their train ride to work but when they actually get there will likely dock it and use it just like a desktop user would. iPad and the like at least for the vast majority of people just wouldn't cut it even if it was full screen and keyboard because their would be some corporate stuff they just couldn't do on a mac and/or iOS.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#43984341)

iPads and androids I won't because they really are just large screen cellphones,

Then you'd be making a mistake.

The Asus Transformer range showed that Android was excellent as a convertible netbook/mini notebook. Now Acer is releasing a full-sized ( 21.5-inch) Android All-in-One pc, and there's rumours of many more in the pipeline. http://www.engadget.com/2013/02/24/acer-Smart%20Display-DA220HQL-hands-on/ [engadget.com]

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57581500-92/android-notebooks-yep-intel-says-and-theyll-only-cost-$200/ [cnet.com]
http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/14/motorola-mobility-launches-hmc3260-cloud-streamer/ [engadget.com]

There's still gaps in applications and perpiherals that'll keep some businesses on Wintel for a little longer. Unless MS can pull something a LOT better than W8 out of it's hat, though, I'd say the trickle will very quickly become a landslide.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985133)

iPads and androids I won't because they really are just large screen cellphones

I just bought an eight inch android tablet for my daughter. Guess what? Cell phones are actually telephones. You can make phone calls with them. The tablet I bought has no such capability; it is a keyboardless, mouseless, wi-fi equipped computer. Plug a USB hub into it, plug in a keyboard and a mouse, and it's a desktop computer with an alternate OS.

It isn't a phone if you can't make phone calls on it.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984673)

Pocket computer. Fuck you.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985537)

You must be really fat if you can fit a standard sized tablet into your pocket.

Maybe, but where do you draw the line? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | about a year ago | (#43985557)

Agreed. If you count tablets as "PCs" then you should include smartphones. So don't.

I have a BenQ S6 that I still use all the time. It was manufactured in 2008 (and discontinued soon thereafter), but honestly, it's not that much less powerful than some of the netbooks being sold today. It's an Atom 800MHz processor, I can easily attach a BT or USB keyboard, and runs a full Linux distribution. There was also a second iteration of the device that ran WinXP. I also have an equally old Nokia N800 that I still occasionally use (and it kind of pains me to say that 5 year old mobile tech is old - ancient, actually). It's not at all the same, because, while I can run many applications, I CAN'T run any desktop application I want.

The BenQ is a full computer in my book - albeit pocketable, able to run any desktop application. Smartphones, on the other hand, aren't able to do that, even though smartphone processors may be more powerful. At least not yet.

Happened to mainframes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983879)

What is called a mainframe these days hardly resembles what a mainframe was 20 years ago.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (5, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about a year ago | (#43983927)

True but I'll never give up my PC/Desktop. Laptops are still underpowered for what you pay and no where near as upgradable. Plus the keyboards are crap generally with most smaller than standard (and I could actually use larger than standard if it was readily available).I end up docking the thing, attaching an external monitor, and external keyboard and mouse. They have their uses but when I'm sitting at a desk, ie ~9hrs a day at work and another couple at home I'd rather have something that wasn't specifically designed for portability over functionality.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984097)

You're looking at the wrong laptops if they're still underpowered for you. SSD, i5, 6 hrs battery.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about a year ago | (#43984169)

I have quad i7 on my desktop and somethings think it is time to upgrade. Lots of stuff out there are just dual i7 you can get quad but then you are into the really decent desktop territory.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984659)

Wow, what arrogance.

Quad i7 is 'decent desktop territory'?

Excel doesn't need that much horsepower.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about a year ago | (#43985607)

I meant for the price of a quad i7 laptop you'd be in really decent (ie maybe not a hardcore gamers rig but close) desktop. Quad i7 on a laptop would still be pretty good if it wasn't for generally screen resolution, lower powered HDD, RAM frequency at least in the past everything seems stuck at 16000 for the moment, and video card performance vs a desktop for say 1/2 the price. In short you'd pay the price for a top of the line CPU but be very restricted in everything else.

Anyways I meant more of trying to get a quad cpu on a laptop will put it in such I high price point that you'd get probably a dual monitor setup, very best of the quad i7s and either multiple disks/video cards are a serious amount of SSD on the desktop. You always pay a premium for portability I guess but I don't really need to pay that penalty for 10hrs a day so that the 2hrs a day I commute I have a slight nicer reader/movie player on the train. It is the data I need to be portable which higher speed wireless and a tablet smartphone does better for the mobile part of my day vs the work part of my day (though I realize some peoples jobs require them to move around regularly the vast majority of people are cube/store dwellers not traveling sales people).

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (2)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#43984835)

I Agree. At home, I have a Desktop PC. 3700k i7 Processor, 30" IPS monitor, SSD boot drive. I have no desire to use a laptop and especially not a tablet at home. At work, I have to use a laptop because they want us to take it home every day so they can get 24 hours of work out of us. At work I never use the laptop just as it is. I have it hooked up to an external monitor, external keyboard, external mouse. I do most of my viewing on the external screen. The laptop is essentially just a CPU, memory and disk drive holder.
At home, I hate using the laptop because I have to use it without all of the external devices which make it actually usable. It is extremely limiting to have to type on the included keyboard, use the touchpad, and try to view everything I need to see on the puny 17" display (which is still bigger than most other laptops).
It takes me 2 to 3 times as long to do something on the laptop itself as compared to the laptop with the external devices. From what I have seen of tablets, it would probably be about 10 times as long to get something done as compared to a desktop setup.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (2)

c (8461) | about a year ago | (#43983967)

All we need to do is redefine what a PC is (desktops, notebooks, and tablets)!

Exactly. I was under the impression that tablets were being counted under "mobile devices", mostly because of the Android/iOS platforms, with the tablet PC's being called "slates" for some reason. Admittedly, if you have someone starting to sell Android PC's the distinctions get a bit weird. And 10" Android tablets with attachable keyboard docks versus 10" Win8 tablets with attachable keyboard docks.

Er...

Actually, I think I'm starting to understand why Microsoft seems to be so utterly confused these days.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (0)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43984505)

well the ubuntu idiot already defined smartphones as pc's too so he could do some shitty pr.

Re:Hooray for the PC market! (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about a year ago | (#43984629)

I don't think the PC is dying, I do however think that you can't expect sustained increase in sales on an electronics item that is expected to last 3-5 years you will eventually reach a saturation point and your sells will level out.

but the pc market is dead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985561)

NO the pc market isn't dead people are waking up to fact of all the wonderful things they can do with a pc and it aint using windows8 or a locked down mac....

that's right folks 2.6 billion people on the net now
WE need a UN convention on user rights world wide
WE need to end the copyright censorship and patent trolling costing the world all this time effort and money to fight

trillions have been wasted in this effort.

world debt : 40 trillion
FOUND IN ONE TAX EVASION BANK; 32.3 trillion
can you imagine Europe if you have half your debts?
USA if you had 3/4 of your current debt
and Canadians if you had half the debt we had now?

we need Nuremberg style trials setup to go after these economic terrorists

what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983709)

You want to have sex with a tablet?!?!

You sick sick little moo cow!

"Microsoft will continue to innovate" (-1, Flamebait)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year ago | (#43983725)

When did they start?

Re:"Microsoft will continue to innovate" (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43983787)

The Metro interface in Windows 8 which they released last year is faily innovative.

Re:"Microsoft will continue to innovate" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983829)

faily innovative

Sounds about right.

Re:"Microsoft will continue to innovate" (1)

telchine (719345) | about a year ago | (#43983851)

When did they start?

Altair BASIC

Re:"Microsoft will continue to innovate" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983921)

When did they start?

Altair BASIC

Since when is porting a language interpreter innovative?

Re:"Microsoft will continue to innovate" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984607)

When did they start?

Altair BASIC

Since when is porting a language interpreter innovative?

1975

Re:"Microsoft will continue to innovate" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983859)

When they collaborated with the NSA to install backdoors in every product they sold. They even innovated SecureBoot onto all new computers so the NSA could have a hardware backdoor into every PC.

Enjoy your half a billion new surveillance devices guys...

Re:"Microsoft will continue to innovate" (0)

codeButcher (223668) | about a year ago | (#43983957)

sorry, posting to undo a mod glitch

strange definitions (1)

Therad (2493316) | about a year ago | (#43983747)

if i understand correctly they count tablets (i.e ipad) but only if they are big, smaller (i.e ipod touch) is not counted. tablets should probably be counted in a mobile category along with smartphones.

Re:strange definitions (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43983797)

Sounds reasonable to count big tablets if people buy them instead of traditional computers.

Re:strange definitions (0)

yacc143 (975862) | about a year ago | (#43985471)

In other news, horse buggy this year are still strong (although nearly all these sales comes from the subcategory "motor vehicle").

Sorry, but tablets are clearly distinct from PCs, they are manufactured mostly by other companies, run different software and so on.

So if you want to have relevant and comparable numbers, either drop the tablets from the count, OR count only Windows 8 tablets.

Re:strange definitions (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43983811)

You can count them as PCs for two reasons: because people are buying them for ordinary household computer tasks like email and web-browsing, or because omitting them makes it obvious that the wintel market is imploding.

Re:strange definitions (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43983901)

tablets should probably be counted in a mobile category along with smartphones.

That would not make much sense. The tablets are picking up because the casual user had no other choice before - it was PC or nothing. Tablets and other light weight (not weight in the physical sense, but computing power) devices should be counted in a category of their own - "casual computing". Smart phones are devices in their own category entirely, a bloated phone or a crippled computer - take your pick, but they serve an altogether different purpose, which is the basis of the categorization.

This story however is complete horseshit, redefine the term PC and then declare PC sales rising. Uh, sure whatever, as long as you pass whatever you're smoking on - always left though, 'cause the right way is wrong.

Less Desktops and Laptops/Notebooks/Ultrabooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983757)

Blame Microsoft Windows 8... for having a Tablet interface on a non-interface hardware.

However thanks to XBOX ONE, PC market might increase in gaming.

Re:Less Desktops and Laptops/Notebooks/Ultrabooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983781)

non-tablet that is

Re:Less Desktops and Laptops/Notebooks/Ultrabooks (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43983813)

You're obviously using legacy hardware. You should use a touch display like the Surface or Surface Pro.

Re:Less Desktops and Laptops/Notebooks/Ultrabooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983853)

Nice try Balmer but that chair was obvious :)

Geek Savior (5, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#43983803)

Millions of geeks saddled with supporting family and friends who have no business getting near a general purpose computer, celebrate the advent of tablets for browsing/email/casual gaming.

Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (5, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43984131)

Yes, but I'm also saddened for a generation of kids who grow up interacting w/ computers to only consume media, not to create.

Steve Jobs put forth that computers were ``bicycles for the mind'' [1] --- but this switch to tablets is taking general purpose computers out of the hands of our kids and replacing it w/ an interactive TV. While there have been some web mentionings of it [2] I can't find a copy of the ad, or a full set of the quotes. [3]

Where are the brilliant creativity and programming tools for Tablets? (and I say this as a person who uses Autodesk Sketchbook, Creaturehouse Expression, Futurewave SmartSketch, Macromedia FreeHand, Runtime Revolution and Lotus Improv on his Tablet PC)

I'd love to have a list of great creativity tools for tablets (though I wonder how much good it'll do --- I've been unsuccessful in getting my son to d/l and install Petit Computer [4] )

1 - http://folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=Bicycle.txt [folklore.org]
2 - http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/12/21/steve-jobs-bicycle-for-the-mind-1990/ [brainpickings.org]
3 - http://creativityandinnovation.blogspot.com/2011/10/steve-jobs-amazing-quotes.html [blogspot.com]
4 - http://www.petitcomputer.com/ [petitcomputer.com]

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984269)

Blaming tablets for your failure to inspire your kid to be a 'creator'. Typical American Parent(tm)

There are plenty of ways for kids to tinker on an iPad, first hit Googling http://twolivesleft.com/Codea/

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985275)

Why up vote a bigot?

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43985299)

Actually, the link which the AC provided was the sort of thing I was curious for --- I've spent a fair bit of time looking for creativity and programming apps for tablets and that's not one which I'd encountered, so I'm willing to accept the abuse to get the information.

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#43984423)

Yes, but I'm also saddened for a generation of kids who grow up interacting w/ computers to only consume media, not to create.

That would be... pretty much every generation that's grown up with computers. Seriously, creators are a tiny, tiny minority. Always have been, always will be.

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43984587)

Yes, but we're not going to better the human race if people continue to do nothing w/ their machines but watch Youtube videos and use them as glorified memory typewriters.

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984801)

Actually, given what most people are doing on a regular basis (procreating, wasting an entire planet's resources in three generations), having them sit in a comfy chair wacking off to YouTubes is at least mostly harmless.

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#43984547)

I remember Jobs saying general purpose computers are like trucks. Some people will always need trucks to haul things but most people really need a car or other forms of transportation. Now originally the only choice offered to consumers were general purpose computers. These days they have choices.

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43984991)

That was what he said when he started selling 'cars' rather than 'trucks'.

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43984993)

Surely you can run GCC and vim on your tablet.
That's all the tools you need.

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985029)

Steve Jobs put forth that computers were ``bicycles for the mind'' [1] --- but this switch to tablets is taking general purpose computers out of the hands of our kids and replacing it w/ an interactive TV.

So, tablets and phones are "mobility scooters for the mind".

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43985349)

Maybe not every kind of creation is the creation of computer software? Maybe computers can be good for things other than computer-oriented tasks?

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43985433)

That's why I listed all the creativity tools which I use on my Tablet PC --- I keep looking for creativity apps on Tablets and mostly I just find fingerpainting or the equivalent.

I'm currently running up against limitations of using openSCAD and pyCAM to create G-Code for my hobby-level CNC-milling machine --- where's the fabulous, elegant, (opensource would be nice, but I'm to the point where I'd pay) 3D modelling program which will let me easily model files like:

http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/download/file.php?id=1735 [shapeoko.com] (from the discussion http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1756 [shapeoko.com] )

and then generate G-Code to cut such out?

Re:Sacrifice the kids (was Re:Geek Savior) (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#43985631)

Yes, but I'm also saddened for a generation of kids who grow up interacting w/ computers to only consume media, not to create.

Steve Jobs put forth that computers were ``bicycles for the mind'' [1] --- but this switch to tablets is taking general purpose computers out of the hands of our kids and replacing it w/ an interactive TV. While there have been some web mentionings of it [2] I can't find a copy of the ad, or a full set of the quotes. [3]

Except you're expecting EVERYONE who uses a PC to do so because they need to create. Newsflash - most people don't.

Everyone can write a book - and thousands are written every month. But most people prefer to read books. Everyone can make a movie, and hundreds (millions if you want to count youtube shorts of cats) are produced monthly .Yet the majority of visitors to Youtube go there to view, not create. There are thousands of radio stations online, yet not everyone wants to be their own DJ (most people just want to pick from a subset of songs to form a "custom station" but they don't generally arrange playlists and such).

The thing is, the computer is essential to modern society. You cannot do ANYTHING without it involving a computer in some way. Yet most people really don't have a need for a full general purpose PC - they just want to access the stuff they need on the computer and get on with their lives - which may or may not revolve around the computer.

Perhaps they want to look up movie showtimes so they can go out for dinner and a movie. Or a mechanic needs to diagnose your car using the diagnostic PC, then goes home and works on their computerless muscle car.

The Steve Jobs bicycle is just that - it's easy to use so people can use it, but that's it. Some people will use it as a means unto itself, others use it to do what they need and get on with their lives. Just like a vehicle like a bicycle can be used for entertainment, transportation, recreation or other activities, yet a good chunk of users probably don't have lives that revolve around the bicycle.

Or ditto a car - some people are car nuts and live breathe and probably drink gasoline. Others use it as way to get around, maybe in style, but beyond basic maintenance, they really don't give a damn as long as it starts, goes, and is where they left it.

It's why we have Android, IOS, Windows, OS X, Linux and more. Some tech people are enthusiasts and love tinkering with their computers. others just want to facebook and email and then go out with friends. Others want to get ideas, then create on paper.

Some like to tinker with electronics, others consider if their TV turns on, it's all good. (And not all electronics tinkerers like tinkering with computers - they too use the computer to aid them to get their project working, but don't care for it otherwise).

The computer is no longer a reason for being - it's a common tool. Like a car. A cellphone. Or a hammer. Some people go crazy over them. Others want nothing to do with them. And generally speaking, the "others" grossly outweigh the enthusiast. Always has.

Re:Geek Savior (3, Funny)

Teckla (630646) | about a year ago | (#43984495)

Millions of geeks saddled with supporting family and friends who have no business getting near a general purpose computer, celebrate the advent of tablets for browsing/email/casual gaming.

WTF, mods? This should be modded insightful, not funny.

I'm convinced one of the reasons tablets have gained so much popularity so quickly is not necessarily because of the touch screen and lack of a keyboard, but the OS and apps are so much easier for mere mortals. Windows, OS X, and Linux PCs are ridiculously complicated to maintain.

Re:Geek Savior (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43985041)

Do we know what the reason is?
I still personally have no idea why anyone would choose a tablet over a laptop.

Re:Geek Savior (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year ago | (#43985355)

Travel. Lugging a laptop is a pain in the arse. But having a pad that can browse maps, schedules, etc. is just all I need or want when traveling. And no I do not want to phone home when I'm traveling. I'm traveling, it can wait until I get back and I don't give a rat's ass until I get back.

Re:Geek Savior (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43985511)

That's why I switched to a pen computer back in the days of PenPoint (and professors in college would allow me to use my NCR-3125 in classes where laptops were banned) --- still bummed I can't find a replacement for my Fujitusu Stylistic ST-4121 and its transflective daylight-viewable display though.

Re:Geek Savior (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43985579)

I don't see the problem with putting a laptop in a bag. I put my laptop in my satchel along with my notebook and move around with it everyday, there is no problem.
If you need something small, just pick a small form factor. There are models at 13 or 11 inches, though the latter are sometimes called 'netbooks' (an ipad is 10 inches).

Re:Geek Savior (3, Interesting)

Teckla (630646) | about a year ago | (#43985573)

Do we know what the reason is?

You have to look at it from the perspective of a non-technical user. Traditional computers are hard. Tablets are comparatively easy. For example:

1. Downloading software is hard. Non-technical users are thinking: What web site do I use to download X? Where do I click to download X? What version do I want? 32-bit or 64-bit? I'm so confused!

2. Locating where software was downloaded is hard. Non-technical users are thinking: Okay, I think I downloaded it -- now what? Do I need to open this Windows Explorer / Finder thing? Where do I navigate?

3. Being confident you didn't make any mistakes is hard. Non-technical users are thinking: I sure hope I got this from a reputable source. My friend says it's reputable, but I'm not sure if it is -- and I don't know how to check myself. Did I answer all the installer questions correctly? What if I told it the wrong answer?

4. Keeping software up to date is hard. Non-technical users may constantly be at risk of running outdated versions that have security bugs. And they really, really don't want to go through the scary and painful steps 1 through 3 again. And even then, they wonder if they're doing it right.

5. Knowing what to run to keep yourself safe is hard. Non-technical users are thinking: Should I be running McAfee? My co-worker says so. But my friend says to use Norton. And the guy at the PC repair shop says I should run Microsoft Security Essentials plus some other strange utilities. How am I supposed to know what to do and who to trust? I don't want someone to steal my bank sign in when I do online banking! :-(

6. Traditional PCs are always pestering you about one thing or another. Updates are available for your computer. Updates are available for your anti-virus. You haven't run your anti-virus in a week. Flash needs an update. Java needs an update. Reboot. Reboot again. Where the fuck did this Ask Toolbar come from? Am I doing all of this right? Oh no, I think I clicked the wrong button, and now I can't get the update window back! Oh no, I forgot about this application I installed last year and now I see it's three versions out of date. Have I been at risk the whole time? I hate computers.

7. Traditional PCs suffer from bit rot. Non-technical users are thinking: Why is my computer so slow? Should I buy a new one? My friend said I should reinstall the OS but I have no idea how to do that. How do I save my data before I do that? How do I restore my data afterwards?

Or... they can just buy a tablet that makes everything much easier for them, and doesn't make them feel stupid, scared, and overwhelmed. The nice folks at the Apple Store will even help them pick a tablet, create an account, sign up for iCloud, etc. And then everything just works.

Okay, I know tablets aren't a usability panacea, but they're FAR easier than traditional PCs -- especially for the stuff "regular" people want to do.

Traditional computers (laptops, desktops) could become similarly easy, and companies like Microsoft and Apple are moving in that direction, but they are moving very slowly... thus the success of tablets.

Ah Statistics (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year ago | (#43983819)

Statistics making the irrelevant relevant since the 1850's

Problem with PC's (5, Interesting)

randomErr (172078) | about a year ago | (#43983871)

PC's are big, expensive, power hungry and noisy.

Tablets are small, cheap, portable, silent, generally have a camera, speakers, and microphone which gives them built in telephony features, and an easy UI. I can buy a decent tablet for less than $100 on eBay or the local discount store.

What are the redeeming qualities of a PC? Tactile IO: there is something to be said about a typing with a keyboard as opposed to a flat screen. Better audio and video quality: its just has a bigger screen and a better presentation system then a system with micro speaker and 7" screen. Deeper interfaces. For all the issues that Window's has its can do more then a tablet OS. Modularity, Upgrade-ability, and repair-ability: If I want a bigger screen I buy one for my PC. If want bigger screen in tablet I have to buy a whole new machine.

For these issue PC's will always be around. But they will get pushed in the development and special needs category in the next decade or so. Tablets will keep coming down in prices. Operation system like Ubuntu that give tablets more of the PC's feature. One off devices like the Roku and game systems like the XBox One will take up the home media center and entertainment.

Re:Problem with PC's (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43984529)

well if you can do your computing with a 100 bucks tablet.. you could do it for free with trashcan pc's.
why anyone bought an ibm pc when you could get a c64 for a fraction of the price??

personally what I think will change the landscape is when oculus type of display systems hit 3rd generation or so - at that point pc's will become boxes to run virtual data work environments - and cheapo pc's(tablets, whatever) will just run them less nicely but will be popular as the item that runs the show.

Re:Problem with PC's (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#43984625)

The trend I'm seeing is less modularity and upgradeability in PCs as well as less need for it. 3 of the last 4 PCs I built have never used the expansion slots. All the functionality is built into the MB or CPU. The only shortcoming is HD space but I have a file server that handles network storage. The last one was an Intel NUC which has no slot at all. I wonder if this is why Apple has made their new Mac Pro the way it is.

Re:Problem with PC's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984827)

"Special needs category"

You trying to tell us something here?

Re:Problem with PC's (0)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a year ago | (#43984957)

The way I see it, there are people who do some real work with their device and then there are people who primarily use their device for wasting time. The former need a PC, the latter will to some extent be happy with a tablet and a phone (and an additional console for gaming).

I have yet to meet anyone who can sincerely say that he gets some real work(TM) done with a tablet or phone. What kind of job would that be? Warehouse management assistant?

Re:Problem with PC's (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43985507)

Laptops are cheap, portable, silent, generally have a camera, speakers and microphones which gives them built in telephony features.
They also have keyboards, better screens, etc.

Basically a laptop has all the advantages of the PC and the tablet that you listed combined.

Analysts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983915)

From the people at Canalys: who predict Windows Phone will overtake iPhone in 2017. Gartner claims this will happen by 2015, and IDC claims this will happen in 2016.

Analysts: Telling their clients what they want to hear since 1950.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983925)

Sales of men's ties continued to grow this year, a category that now includes neckties, bow ties, and t-shirts.

Daft (0)

Smivs (1197859) | about a year ago | (#43983981)

These classifications are just plain daft!
A PC is a proper computer that sits on (or under) your desk and traditionally has a mouse and keyboard for input, and a seperate, large screen. It does all the web stuff (email, farcebook, twatter etc) and is also a creative/business tool and workstation.
Tablets are NOT PCs, any more than posh phones are.
There is a strong case for having three broad classifications :- (1) PCs. (2) Tablets and similar (i.e. handheld and mobile devices with touchscreen interface) and (3) smartphones.

Re:Daft (1)

Smivs (1197859) | about a year ago | (#43984039)

...and in case anybody wondered, I *do* consider laptops to be PCs (proper keyboard etc and the ability to do 'work' on them).

Re:Daft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984367)

Nobody wondered.

Nobody asked what your opinion was at all.

Because saying a computer has a 'proper' keyboard and mouse to do 'work' on them is a stupid definition of a 'real' computer.

A "proper computer"? (4, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#43984275)

A PC is a proper computer

A "proper computer"? A tablet or a smartphone or even a pocket calculator are proper computers. They are all general purpose computers with a CPU, RAM and storage. I agree with your premise that the market segmentation matters between tablets and PCs but they are both "proper computers" by any reasonable definition. The only real difference between them is the software that determines the interface. You could easily take the tablet and put a mouse and keyboard on it just like you could take a PC and put a touchscreen on it. The segments matter because they are optimized for particular uses right now but the segments are going to converge over time. The line between a tablet and a PC is going to blur and Google, Apple and Microsoft have already started the process.

Re:Daft (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#43984471)

So how would you classify phones like N900 that make shitty smartphones but wonderful mini-netbooks?

After beating some brain-dead decisions of Nokia, like a pull-down on-screen keyboard for a lot of important keys instead of using shift [angband.pl] , you get a full-blown Unix system that's more convenient to use that quite a lot of laptops.

Re:Daft (1)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | about a year ago | (#43984487)

Why do you make a distinction between tablets 'and similar' and smartphones? Where do devices like the Galaxy Note go on your scale?

Re:Daft (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43984545)

don't worry they have another analysis to suit your tastes.

the analysis they sell is like ala carte. buy what you want to justify what you want.

Re:Daft (1)

Smivs (1197859) | about a year ago | (#43984709)

Well, I seem to have stirred up a bit of a hornet's nest here :D
I accept and understand that all the device types under discussion here are computers. When I said a 'PC is a proper computer' I simply meant it is the most versatile and functional in that it does everything a computer should very well (except be mobile of course and the 'proper-computer' laptops do that anyway).
Clever as they may be, tablets etc are never going to be as universally useful as a full desktop PC - that's why when you go into any office or workspace you will find PCs sitting on the desks. Yes of course you might also find a tablet acting as a medium for porting some of the work elsewhere, but the PC is generally the main work machine.
The distinction between big smartphones and small tablets is shrinking - maybe one day somebody will produce a hybrid that really can do everything, but I doubt it. The 'phone' by its nature has to be small (to fit in a pocket), wheras the tablet has to be big enough to have a screen that anybody over the age of 30 can actually see :)

First, a tablet is not a PC (0)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#43984373)

yes, if you claim that tablets are "personal computers", you can lump them together, but I am tired of the rhetoric, especially from companies like Apple, that boast how it's the post PC era and claim how wildly successful their iPad's are in defining the post-PC era, but then lump iPads with Macs when they want to boast about how they are the #1 PC seller over Dell and HP.

Also why a tablet is not a PC is you still can't, for the most part, develop on it. While tablets like Surface Pro allow you to develop apps directly only it, tablets like the iPad are still woefully incapable of developing "true" apps for it. Sure it has a slew of Fisher Price paint-by-numbers like App dev kits you can get for the iPad. Developing an App these days still requires an "application" and "applications" run on PC's, not Tablets. It's why Apple has seen wild success in the Mac since the iPhone and iPad were released, Apple wants devs to buy "PCs" to support their "Post-PC" era.

I will put tablets into the PC category when they have all the features of a PC, including the ability to develop on it. But as long as there is a lack of some features on a tablet claiming it is a PC is like claiming your camera or Nest themostat is a PC just because it has a screen and a processor in it.

"PCs" are now "workstations" (again) (4, Insightful)

emblemparade (774653) | about a year ago | (#43984439)

PCs are, as many of us agree, not dying, but they are changing and becoming a niche product -- again.

The term "personal computer" was in a way a misnomer, because personal computers existed before: we called them "workstations", and at the time they were quite a revolution, because we could do whatever we wanted with them instead of sharing computing time on Unix boxen, VAX, or mainframes. They were also super expensive, enough that they were not worth the money except for specific tasks where computing independence was absolutely required,

The "personal computer" revolution should really have been called the "small office computer" or "home computer" revolution: these were new kinds of "workstations" that were cheap enough that we could buy them for ... small offices and homes.

I predict that we're moving back in time, in a way. Most consumers would prefer tablets and similar devices. For those of us that need serious computing power, we will still have our computers to buy. But they will likely be targeted and priced accordingly for the "prosumer" market. It would be easy to buy a cheap tablet, but forget about cheap laptops: manufacturers won't make them because they won't sell well. Instead, they'll focus on premium desktop computers for premium users.

So let's call them "workstations" again. Meanwhile the term "personal computer" may finally make perfect sense for phones and tablets: truly "on-person" computers.

Re:"PCs" are now "workstations" (again) (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43985273)

The problem w/ that is Apple bought the premier ``Personal Workstation'' OS and candy-coated it for the masses.

My NeXT Cube, running Altsys Virtuoso and TeXview.app is dead, and the closest thing to a replacement I've got for it is a Fujitsu Stylistic ST-4121 w/ Macromedia FreeHand and TeXworks (or my Mac at work running FreeHand and TeXshop). I have to give up:

  - Display PostScript
  - PANTONE colour library at the system level
  - pervasive Services in all apps (they don't work in some Carbon apps on Mac OS X, Windows doesn't have an equivalent)
  - no pop-up main menu --- ``Punch'' is a gesture for me in Altsys Virtuoso --- right-click, down, over to the right, release
  - no re-positionable sub-menus (combined w/ Services this allowed one to configure a machine to support a given task w/ just a couple of easy clicks)

I can't believe that I'm actually considering putting OPENSTEP in an emulator and running Altsys Virtuoso on that --- but I can't find a better drawing program:

  - the interface on InkScape leaves a lot to be desired (and it doesn't support PostScript directly as Virtuoso did)
  - while Cenon is a GNUstep / Cocoa app, there's no DPS anymore, and its interface reflects its CAM roots

I'll go back to doing woodworking or carpentry before I'll break down to using Corel Draw (used it since v1.21) or Adobe Illustrator (since v3.2) as my main tool.

www.myonlygames.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984497)

Great :)
______________________
http://myonlygames.com/cat-22.html
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wait a minute (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43984893)

"The PC market (desktops, notebooks, and tablets)"
One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong. Can you tell which one of these things it is by the time some dumbass writes an article about it?
Tablets are not PCs! They can't run x86 or x64 software! They're impossible to type on! They're not PCs! If they're PCs then so is my phone and my PSP.

The real computing market is saturated... but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985303)

The real computing market is saturated... but not the market for idiot-viewer devices. My old homebrew OC Intel E8400 desktop (with recent SSD upgrade) does just fine on my Matlab, C++, ..., and Office tasks. As a mathematician, I feel no need to build a new machine. OTOH, if all I did was watch movies and posture on Facebook, then the new fondleslabs would be calling.

My wife is a consulting engineer and requires portability. For many times the cost of my desktop her recent high-end laptop gets barely acceptable performance and requires a second (large) monitor when in the office. After trying my old, but faster desktop, she's now considering a desktop even with the synch issues that presents when she is on the road. The fondleslabs would be great for travel, but can't do the job.

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