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The Desktop -- Time to Start Saying Goodbye?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the still-looking-for-a-headware-implant dept.

Portables 547

Lucas123 writes "Robert Scheier at Computerworld writes that while worldwide PC shipments are expected to grow 12.2% this year, portable PC volumes are expected to grow 28% and will make up more than half of all PC shipments in the U.S. this quarter. Notebooks will dominate the worldwide PC marketplace by 2010. 'One researcher predicts it will be five to seven years before only the "die-hard" desktop users are left.'"

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547 comments

You can have my desktop (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930437)

when you pry it from my fat, cheetos encrusted dead fingers.

Re:You can have my desktop (5, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930871)

The prediction overlooks far too many inconveniences that technology hasn't yet resolved.

The need to regularly plug in the laptop. Poor battery lifetime and recharge cycle performance (but see ultracapacitors [ideaspike.com] for the impending doom of the battery industry.) The need to plug in various I/O devices (hard drives, scanners, various others for various needs.) The wearing out of laptop clamshell hinges. The low quality of laptop keyboards as compared to the awesome stand-alone keyboards available. The need for mice and drawing pads. The limited screen size of a laptop (you can of course make an ultra-large screen laptop, but then it doesn't fit in your lap very well.) The room inside a desktop for various hardware add-ons, such as PCI bus hardware, or highly accelerated graphics engines. Room for multiple drives.

A few of these things - such as connectivity, which will probably go entirely wireless - will resolve themselves as technology advances. Most will not. So as an IMHO, but one with a lot of data behind it, I call nonsense on the entire proposition.

Re:You can have my desktop (4, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930969)

Not only that, but the advent of the smart phone, coupled with things like paper-thin displays, roll-up (or even holographic) keyboards means that we're going to see the demise of the laptop soon IMO.

Re:You can have my desktop (4, Funny)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930893)

Rah!
I can barely see the print on most laptop screens (even the biggest ones) and I've looked!
My laptop is 11 years old and has been used rarely if at all.
I have three desktops, all built by me from parts obtained from Fry's, Ebay and pulls.

I don't like laptops (grimace)!
I HATE laptops (cough)
Piss on laptops!
Stomp on laptops!
Chew on laptops?
It's almost time for my afernoon pills.

2 words for the desktop (5, Insightful)

Romwell (873455) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930449)

1. Cost 2. Upgrades

THIS article is NOT news and is PURE FLAMEBAIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930601)

Such is the way of slashdot these days. Try to get something that you FORCE to be controversial, and you get 400 stupid replies...

Thanks, Zonk!

Re:2 words for the desktop (5, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930729)

1. Cost
In TFA, they point out that fewer and fewer consumers mind the $100-$200 premium for a laptop with comparable specs.

2. Upgrades
People who upgrade critical components like motherboards, cpus, and graphics cards are already very much in the "die-hard" category. Normal consumers never upgrade those things except by replacing the machine. For almost everything else, USB and Firewire suffice. (The exception being, of course, RAM. But most laptops produced in the past 10 years have had upgradeable RAM).

It seems to me that the only people who will stay firmly in the "desktop" category are people who by definition don't need the mobility. They are the people running computer labs, servers, and office computing systems. I expect even the high-end professional users to migrate to laptops except when laptops don't offer enough raw performance at any cost.

The interesting thing to note is that, from a technological perspective, desktop vs. laptop doesn't matter anyways. So much of the desktop market it migrating to iMac-like all-in-ones and other small enclosures that they will pretty much all be using laptop chips, too.

Re:2 words for the desktop (1)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930811)

indeed, the premium for a notebook with comparable specs is probably not considered such when portability is taken into account.

Re:2 words for the desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930899)

> 1. Cost

My laptop cost me 25% the price of my desktop and monitor. Why would I spend a lot on something that was fragile, expensive to repair, and difficult to upgrade?

Re:2 words for the desktop (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930753)

Indeed. I'm sure that if you look at the shipment and sales of individual components such as motherboards, memory, video cards, and CPUs the sales figures have changed little. The "Die hard" desktop users will be anyone who knows how to upgrade and maintain a desktop because they cost a significant portion less. Who really needs a new Chassis, Power supply, sound card, (CD/DVD) (rom/burner) or network card every time they upgrade if the one they had before is more than sufficient.

Re:2 words for the desktop (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930771)

One example for the laptop:

1. Asus C90

Yes, cost will be an issue until laptops are solar powered :)

Re:2 words for the desktop (1)

jbrader (697703) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930857)

Who is to say that as laptops become more and more popular the market won't standardize on different form factors thereby making upgrades more feasible? As to cost, as sales of nearly anything increase cost tends to decrease.

Re:2 words for the desktop (2, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930887)

Most people don't do after-market upgrades. For businesses, it's often quicker/cheaper to replace the machines every 3 years, and for home customers, they often use it until it breaks, especially since most of them would have to pay Geek Squad $200 to add the extra RAM or HDD. At that price, the new $600 machine from $OEM looks tempting. I'm not saying upgrading is bad or that no-one does it, I'm saying that the percentage of people who do it is relatively low (less than 1/3 of all PC owners)

Price-wise, there are $500-800 laptops. They fit pretty well into the home-consumer and corporate price brackets. Granted, they suck relative to $800 desktops, but we're reaching the point at which GHz of CPU and GB of HDD don't sell machines as easily. While there are certainly ways to make use of larger HDDs and faster CPUs, most consumers don't make use of them yet. Features like in-home wireless will make laptops more attractive than slightly-faster desktops.

Re:2 words for the desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930941)

How about the ability to repair and put back online? Or strip for parts and use in other machines? We do both of that where I work (a ~75-employee manufacturing facility with a ~35-computer network). A lot of money can be saved this way.

Laptops are generally not repairable in-house, unless you're talking about 2 or 3 particular scenarios like replacing memory, hard drive, or battery.

I agree on cost as well, but upgrades aren't really as important, at least where I work. Different workstations require different levels of computing power, and there's always somewhere I can make use of that 200Mhz Pentium II.

Ah, I see. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930451)

So does that mean that this time it's PC gaming that will die out and not console gaming?

Different kind of monster (4, Insightful)

chipotlehero (982154) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930455)

I don't think its really a black and white comparison. Obviously desktops have advantages and laptops have advantages. You dont want to lug around a 22 inch screen on your laptop but for your desktop, you want that. You're not going to get the latest and greatest hardware on a laptop, but you can on a desktop. Laptops are portable and good enough for most people, but a bit pricier than desktops.

It's a different tool for a different job kind of thing, the summary makes it seem simpler than that.

Re:Different kind of monster (1)

Bin Naden (910327) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930551)

I feel that the biggest disadvantage of a desktop is the number of wires as well as the size of the box. If desktops are to compete with laptops, perhaps reducing the component sizes and decreasing power so that they can fit in slick thin boxes is what the desktop market needs to be revitalized. A lot of people choose desktop replacement laptops instead of desktops for this precise reason.
In any case, the PC will always remain in existence if only to be a server.

Re:Different kind of monster (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930615)

Number of wires? WiFi + Bluetooth/whatever results in the only cords remaining being thepower cord and whatever usb/firewire cables you use for external drives, printers, etc (and many printers can hook up to wifi ap's). As for "box size", it's entirely variable and selectable on the part of the purchaser at this point (both the retail purchaser and the homebrew builder). No longer is the old AT-style mega-desktop or bigass tower the norm for home machines. So... wires and box size?

Re:Different kind of monster (1)

Bin Naden (910327) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930865)

Number of wires? WiFi + Bluetooth/whatever results in the only cords remaining being thepower cord and whatever usb/firewire cables you use for external drives, printers, etc (and many printers can hook up to wifi ap's). As for "box size", it's entirely variable and selectable on the part of the purchaser at this point (both the retail purchaser and the homebrew builder). No longer is the old AT-style mega-desktop or bigass tower the norm for home machines. So... wires and box size?

You are right that it is possible to have a small high end computer with no wires, however, when joe public goes to the store, he sees the small sexy compact laptops and the low-end to medium-range desktops that, although not as big as in the past, take up a big portion of your desk. There's also that joe public does not see the advantage in upgrading their system: not that you can usually upgrade much in say a compaq system anyways. I mean, the CPU is usually glued there. As for bluetooth, it is still only a costly technology.

Re:Different kind of monster (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930959)

Wires:
Laptop
1) power

Desktop
1) monitor power
2) monitor
3) speaker power
4) speaker

I count 4 times the wires for a desktop as laptop at a minimum.

There is also a low chance of bluetooth being used, and the networking is usually wired too, but I won't count them.

I personally like my desktop because if I spill water on the keyboard it is a $15.00 repair, on a laptop that could easily run to a full replacement.

Desktops also last longer (because of the lack of portability).

I have a reject old laptop I use for internet in the living room, but all my work is done on a desktop, and I can't imagine doing it otherwise, ergonomically or economically.

Re:Different kind of monster (0, Flamebait)

sakonofie (979872) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930909)

Then do I have a brand new product for you [apple.com] . Its really new [apple.com] so I thought I'd tell you about it. Wave of the future man.

Re:Different kind of monster (1)

rhartness (993048) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930597)

I didn't RTFA, but I think I can some what agree with the statements in the summary. Most user's user their computers for word processing and internet use. Most notebooks that you can buy today can do all that most of those users will ever need including watching the occasional video (web, DVD and soon HD-DVD/BluRay based). That means desktops will mostly be for office work and the hardcore gamer types. The desktop will never die, though. My personal reason-- I'm a developer with two 19 inch monitors and a desktop with as much power as my company will let me purchase. More power = more space. It always has been that way and it always will. My 2 cents.

Re:Different kind of monster (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930709)

I don't think its really a black and white comparison. Obviously desktops have advantages and laptops have advantages. You dont want to lug around a 22 inch screen on your laptop but for your desktop, you want that. You're not going to get the latest and greatest hardware on a laptop, but you can on a desktop. Laptops are portable and good enough for most people, but a bit pricier than desktops.

You are, of course, correct. Another way of looking at is that there are many different segments of computer purchasers. Many (most?) of those segments would benefit from the mobility of laptops and don't need the high-end features of laptops. Historically, they were stuck buying desktops because of one or more limiting factors (generally price). Now that the price/performance hurdle has been passed, those segments are now buying laptops. It's not really that peoples' needs have changes a much as it is that laptops are finally viable.

That said, my next computer will be an iMac, mainly because I already have an XP work laptop. This gives the best of both worlds, but most consumers won't have that luxury.

Re:Different kind of monster (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930965)

I do think part of it is space.
Computers have never really fit into home decor. Laptops allow "normal people" to get out there computer and do work then put it away.

So by then (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930465)

So by then I won't be such a pain to upgrade the hardware on a laptop right? I'll be able to pick my hardware in the same way that I can pick my hardware for a PC.

True--but... (3, Insightful)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930605)

What percentage of PC users EVER upgrade their hardware? I prefer a desktop for the ability to upgrade parts, and (currently) for the price. But the majority of people? Never gonna worry about it.

I'd say desktops are likely to be more limited to high-end users in the future. (As laptop prices continue to fall.)

okay, goodbye desktop. (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930479)

I guess we can bury the desktop along with the mainframes which have "disappeared".

Ain't going to happen. Laptops have charged into the fray because they've finally become price and performance competitive. They're not desktops, and they're not the same things.

Ten years ago I owned 2 desktops, and 1 laptop. Today I own 4 laptops and 3 desktops. They're all heavily used, but for home use doing heavy duty, big screen, heads down coding and computer work, it's always going to be the desktop that makes the most sense.

The percentages may change as laptops finally "emerge", but desktops, IMO, will stay.

Re:okay, goodbye desktop. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930627)

Personally, I like to use a laptop with a dock. If I want to do some big screen coding and computer work, I can use it with my big monitor and my good keyboard/mouse. When I want to watch tv, I can bring it to the couch. When I want to go to a boring friend's house, I can bring it there, too.

Of course, I only have a single computer (two, if you count my work laptop). If you are in the position to have several of each (me, I just don't have room), I can see the wisdom in your way. But if I had to make the choice, I would go with laptop.

4 laptops? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930813)

Why the hell would you ever need 4 laptops? You'd need Popeye arms to carry more than two.

More than one or maybe two laptops makes no sense to me. They have a much higher failure rate than PCs, they cost more for less performance, and they're far more likely to be stolen or misplaced.

Re:4 laptops? (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930869)

Depending on his line of work, they may not be all his laptops. I know I only own one of the three laptops I use.

Games are about it (2, Insightful)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930483)

The only thing I can think of needing a desktop for is to play games. Video cards for laptops are usually under powered, mostly because of heat, space, and power issues of "real" cards.

For most everything else, my two year-old $400 Dell laptop works fine. It plays movies, browses the web, and runs productivity applications without a problem.

I don't know... (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930751)

It'd be a bitch to try and install two or three PCI tuner cards in one for a mythtv setup, and pretty few laptops come with digital audio out, much less HDMI ports.

Games + Laptops = BAD (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930795)

When your LANparty opponents frags you for the 7th time in a row, you'll THROW your laptop at him/her/it.

Re:Games are about it (2, Informative)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930851)

Does it have a 22" (or even larger) wide screen and a full size keyboard? Can you upgrade/repair it yourself?

Desktops always just feel a lot faster to me. Maybe it has changed lately, but the harddrives used to always be painfully slow in laptops. I had a laptop that I thought was fine, but once I started using a new desktop with 22" widescreen and 10,000rpm hardrives, the laptop is a painful experience.

Guess I'll be one of them "die hard" desktop users (4, Insightful)

sgant (178166) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930487)

If and when a laptop can get a nice big 24" screen or larger, can have ultra fast, high capacity hard drives with kick-ass 3D graphics and components I can upgrade...then I'll get one. I don't see that happening in the next 5 to 7 years.

How about now? (-1, Troll)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930783)

If and when a laptop can get a nice big 24" screen or larger, can have ultra fast, high capacity hard drives with kick-ass 3D graphics and components I can upgrade...then I'll get one. I don't see that happening in the next 5 to 7 years.,

Dell XSP M 2010 [dell.com]

Nuff said. I assume you'll pick it up tomorrow?

Re:Guess I'll be one of them "die hard" desktop us (1)

LEgregius (550408) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930849)

A lot of us laptop users have a large, 24" external screen we use while sitting at a desk. The 3D graphics cards aren't that bad, and they aren't a generation behind any longer. The biggest problem with laptops is the IO speed. However, the ability to take the computer home or on trips and still be able to work or play games is totally worth the performance loss.

Inevitable, but sad (4, Insightful)

McFly777 (23881) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930489)

The big problem I see with this will be if lack of demand means that it will become more difficult to "build your own" to get a box with the specs you really want.

But even in my own experience, I find myself looking more at the ads for the latest laptop, rather than reading the specs on the motherboards.

I do have fond memories of browsing computer shopper (back when it was large format and over 1 inch thick).

Re:Inevitable, but sad (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930901)

Shouldn't be a problem. I think it is true that the desktop parts market will start to restrict itself to the stuff you *can't* do with laptops -- that is, the high end, especially big monitors, gamer video, and big and/or fast storage. Fortunately, yesterday's high end is today's low end for most computer components, so cheaper components should always be available.

I do expect the number of suppliers of desktop components to go down.

At least for me, storage is the only area in which desktop components are still necessary. CPU performance, video performance, and peripheral connectivity have all gotten good enough on high-end laptops for any use I have. But just two (or one, on my MacBook Pro) 2.5" 7200rpm disks won't cut it, at least until each disk grows to about 500GB.

Re:Inevitable, but sad (0, Offtopic)

eclectro (227083) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930935)

I do have fond memories of browsing computer shopper (back when it was large format and over 1 inch thick).
That was the best magazine evar! But people like you went on to the internet and *killed* that magazine! How could you do that??

Desktops still have their place (4, Insightful)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930493)

People predicted that offices would go paperless, and that cars would fly too. But the reality is, if you don't need the portability, why spend the extra money to get a laptop? Plus desktops will always have greater power, easier upgrades, standard hardware, and more perhiperals.

Not until the keyboards improve (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930505)

Laptops don't have a monitor at eye height, or a decent keyboard. They're limited by their geometry.

We may see the desktop computer disappear into the monitor, though.

Re:Not until the keyboards improve (2, Interesting)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930791)

Agreed on the monitor... but scissor-action, laptop-style keys should have taken over the desktop a long time ago. Both faster and ergonomically more effective, because you don't have to move your fingers nearly as far for each keystroke.

There are a few scissor-action desktop keyboards out there but I'm constantly surprised they're not mainstream. Maybe the next iMac keyboard -- rumored to be based on the current MacBook keyboard -- will finally change the situation.

Well (1)

katterjohn (726348) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930509)

'One researcher predicts it will be five to seven years before only the "die-hard" desktop users are left'

Then I'll be one of them. Unless one of you Slashdotters makes me look like an idiot for saying that I like to upgrade my computer myself, and if I'm having a problem I like to look in the box of the computer myself, and you can't do that with a laptop.

Of course, I'm hoping somebody does make me look like an idiot for that, because I'd be very interested in the laptop brand they come up with.

Re:Well (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930777)

"Of course, I'm hoping somebody does make me look like an idiot for that, because I'd be very interested in the laptop brand they come up with."

I have significantly upgraded (replaced) the CPU, hard drive, CD/DVD, BIOS and added Linux as a 2nd operating system on a 7 year old Sony FXA-33 laptop.

That shouldn't make you feel like an idiot though because most laptops aren't as easy to mod or have the a cult following that mods them. It also cost about the same as buying a bottom of the line new laptop that would outperform it. It was more fun though.

The real show stopper is making a laptop as comfortable to use, with as big and good a display as a well set up desktop. I don't see that happening.

Re:Well (1)

witte (681163) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930799)

> One researcher predicts
Well, I predict 20 years of non-stop rain; but then again, I sell umbrellas.
What's that researcher selling anyway ? Opinions ?

Not me (1)

Pinkfud (781828) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930511)

I have a notebook, and I do use it. But for the "real" stuff, I prefer a full sized keyboard and monitor.

Re:Not me (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930919)

I agree that I like a full size keyboard and monitor. That's why I have port replicator/docks for all my notebooks. My work notebook (Lenovo T60p) has a port rep at my desk in the office and at home in my home office. My personal Dell Lattitude D830 has a port rep in my home office. I certainly use the machines in other places, but the majority of the time they are on a port rep with a 20 inch 1600x1200 monitor and an ergo keyboard. When using it on the couch or something, the smaller screen and keyboard is "sufficient", but having the portability combined with the function of an external kb and screen is very very nice.

Computer Labs (and ilk)? (4, Interesting)

Gertlex (722812) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930519)

What about university (and other similar instituitions) provided computers with a plethora of licensed software on them... Especially for CAD and graphics, the desktop wins hands down in cost, and probably will continue to have such an advantage.

Though it would be neat to see a system of renting out laptops with that sort of software. The logistics of such an approach aren't something I'd want to manage, personally though. :)

Another thought is the extent to which external monitors (and keyboards) will be used. Dell does have that rather new "laptop" model with the 19" screen that can act like a separate monitor. The keyboard detaches and uses bluetooth.

Re:Computer Labs (and ilk)? (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930695)

What about university (and other similar instituitions) provided computers with a plethora of licensed software on them...

That's easy: You get a big beefy server, let's call it a main frame, on the back end. In the lab is a cheap little thin client which has no data of it's own and is easily replaceable.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?

Re:Computer Labs (and ilk)? (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930903)

My university library already loans out laptops for use in the library only. They have access to all the site-licensed software, which is distributed and installed on-the-fly by the Novell network software they use for all windows machines. If it weren't for the current ubiquity of computer labs on campus, we would probably have expanded the system to be campus-wide. It isn't hard to keep track of who has what laptop, and to lock them down to only connect through the university's wifi.

That said, I'm glad we're keeping our computer labs stocked with fast desktops and 30" Cinema displays. (Have you ever worked on a coding project with four files open side-by-side? :)

Here at 3rd world (1)

tsbiscaro (888711) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930525)

Here in Brazil, due to some tax cuts for Notebooks and dollar fluctuations, prices dropped from 1400 USD to 1000 USD (basic configuration). As a result, sells increased 67% during from Jul/2005 to Mar/2007.

They call us PC Enthusiasts! (1)

phildawg (1104325) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930529)

I prefer to be called a PC Enthusiast, not a die-hard desktop user. Besides, this is moot, because the PC enthusiast is what drives the mobile and PC innovation. You don't get a Pentium M, without a Pentium, you won't get a Mobile Core 2 Duo Extreme processor without a Core 2 Duo cpu.

This is like saying handheld gaming devices like the Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, or MS Zune maybe? haha, will trivialize a Wii, PS3, or Xbox360.

Believe me, desktop users will also have the best hardware =) We don't have to be die-hard, we just have to be willing to accept nothing less than the best!

Gamers? (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930531)

I just got a laptop for the first time ever, and I'm surprised how much I can do with it. The only thing it doesn't quite shine at is games, since the GPU, although pretty good, is not able to compete with high-end models. The TFT also isn't that great, to be honest, compared to my 21" dual trinitron CRTs. Bearing these points in mind, it's premature to predict the demise of the desktop in the near future, although office workers and even a lot of designer types will be able to make do with a good laptop just fine. The cost of a high-end laptop compared to a high-end desktop is pretty high, though.

I have to agree with so many others here... (0, Redundant)

VoxMagis (1036530) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930535)

Until you can upgrade a laptop the same way you can upgrade a desktop, for at least somewhat the same price, the desktop will be around.

It's all about the I/O (1)

jmatthew3 (100802) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930537)

I like my notebook keyboard, but i like my desktop keyboard a lot better.

I don't like my notebook screen. I like my dual widescreens.

I think notebook shipments are going up not because people are choosing notebooks over desktops, but rather because people / families / business types who already have desktops are adding notebooks for on the go / around the house use.

Re:It's all about the I/O (1)

phildawg (1104325) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930667)

Exactly, these researchers can be so fooled, haha. They see people buying more laptops and are like OMG! People only want laptops now, and fail to realize most people are not replacing their desktop every year, so their next PC purchase will probably be a laptop.

And the next question is how the hell do you track custom built PCs? I realize that you could track such a thing, but the problem is they most likely are tracking retail and manufactured PC/notebook channels... And while yes, people are buying more laptops now, how do they account for the so many of us who refused to get pre-packaged machines from compaq and gateway, haha. I could build my own laptop, but I'd prefer to just buy it. But no way in hell am I buying a pre-built desktop.

Their data is inherently flawed for the real world. But it's great for the manufacturer and retail world of pre-built PCs. Who wants that crap?

No time soon, I think (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930541)

Desktops are usually more powerful, have more storage capacity, have bigger screens, and cost less than notebooks. Sure, being portable is nice, but methinks as long as there's a demand for the best, most cutting edge machine (and as long as developers produce games like Half Life 2 have massive hardware requirements to run), there will still be a desktop market. Besides, just because people are currently buying notebooks doesn't mean that they won't buy a new desktop as time passes. It probably just means that more people are getting both.

Re:No time soon, I think (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930797)

Desktops may cost less now, but if 90% of people are buying laptops, the laptops will become just as cheap due to economies of scale.

And you can always plug laptops into monitors and keyboards. But I'd argue that the advantages of being able to then take your computer anywhere (without having to have a second computer...that is just wasteful) will tend to far outweigh any advantages of desktop machines.

2010? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930559)

I think that's a bit premature. I see lots of nice new laptops coming through where I work, and I've never once felt the need to replace my desktop with one...It's a performance hit, it's a usability hit, it's a hit in screen size...The work I do doesn't benefit from working in a coffeeshop.

I have a laptop. I use it every few months. I'll get a new one when it dies, and I happen to notice because I need to use it. One of my desktops on the other hand, I'd notice if it died within hours, and I'd either fix it or replace it within a few days.

When laptop technology moves to the point where you only need to recharge 'em once a day, and they're the performance equal of a desktop with the same stats, I'll start thinking about scaling back my desktops.

I'm sure this will happen (1)

noewun (591275) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930573)

Just as I'm sure that by 2008 there will be no desktop applications or OSes left, as we will all be using distributed apps from teh interweb. Well, that's what some Very Smart People said in 2001.

Another day, another ridiculous prediction.

Almost there... (5, Interesting)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930575)

Even though I'm a Linux guy, the closest I've seen to a possible laptop that could replace my desktop and be feasible is the latest Macbook Pro. DX10 graphics card, plenty of RAM, solid speed, LED LCD, good battery life, Superdrive, and big hard drive.

Once I see and read the reviews of the next OS X it may be time to make that jump to all laptop.

Most people just want an appliance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930583)

People want something that 'just works'. Laptops aren't that much more expensive than desktops and they're way more convenient. The downside of laptops is that they are more expensive to repair. They are also more attractive to thieves.

My guess is that desktops will persist in organizations. The ability to fix a desktop cheaply will keep them there. The bosses will all have the latest laptop and the workers will all have desktops.

Goodbye Now a Procedure?! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930585)

Time to Start Saying Goodbye
I didn't realize it was a multi step process. Oh well, here we go:

Preparing to say goodbye ...
Saying goodbye commencing ...
Saying goodbye complete.

Re:Goodbye Now a Procedure?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930905)

Step 4: ....
Step 5: profit!

This article is late (0)

Mycroft_514 (701676) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930595)

Bought my last desktop in 1996. The desktop at work is being replaced by a laptop.

My personal laptop has much more performance than the desktop on my desk. And that laptop is already 2.5 years old. And we have a hierarchy for laptops in my household. Every time I upgrade, the old ones bounce down the chain.

Re:This article is late (2, Funny)

Nicolay77 (258497) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930793)

Bought my last desktop in 1986.

My cell phone has much more performance than the desktop on my desk.

Therefore, desktops suck.

yea, die hard, ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930621)

Desktop will never go way for 3 reasons (2 related).
1)its much easier to steal a laptop. how many companies, and personal users are gonna want to have to deal with that security problem?
2)Desktops give your more flexibility. Parts can be changed, like monitors, number of vid cards, and other accessories. Try running 3 graphics cards with 2 outputs off a laptop and see where it goes you.
3)Processing power. Desktop have more space and more power(AC Line). This means you can build hardware with bigger power requirements and get better performance. While this may not matter to your local office clerk, graphics and processing intense applications like CAD, and video work will always run better off a desktop. which leads me to one of the driving factors in the PC world...Games, laptops will always be behind Desktops in either cost or power (desktop lvls of performance are gonna cost you.)

So while i do agree we will see many more laptops in the future, it wont just be "Die Hard" desktop users keeping their boxes on, or under, their desk.

Oh Really? (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930661)

One researcher predicts it will be five to seven years before only the "die-hard" desktop users are left.


I don't know about everyone else, but I'm not too keen on using a microscope and optical tweezers every time I want to upgrade my PC. Everything is too small and packed in too tightly in Notebooks. Another issue is that with a PC you can easily upgrade your monitor and perhaps sell the old one. With a Notebook you are stuck with the one it came with. A lot of the time we have so much paraphernalia around our PCs, like graphics tablets, USB hard drives etc that portable PCs aren't so portable anyway.

No effing way. (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930663)

Hmm... maybe people will have *gasp* a desktop and a notebook?!? Desktops still have many big advantages over notebooks; mainly, you aren't tied to a particular screen or keyboard. There are two good reasons why notebook sales (especially in terms of % of computers sold) are growing--the PCs people bought in the last few years are still "good enough" and don't need to be replaced just yet, and notebook prices continue to drop, becoming more and more attractive with each passing month--but that doesn't necessarily mean that they'll eventually be >90% of the market.

Yes, you can use external keyboards and displays with laptops, but that isn't an ideal solution. And leaving a notebook plugged in all the time kills the battery. I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple do something really cool that would let you easily sync your notebook with your desktop. All they've got to do is expand what they've done with the iPhone. (And, while they're at it, they should introduce a 10" subnotebook with no optical or hard drive--just ~10GB of solid-state storage. Think of the boot times! *drool*)

Die-Hard (2, Informative)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930679)

"One researcher predicts it will be five to seven years before only the "die-hard" desktop users are left."

I'm not sure I agree. I have two desktops at home as well as my laptop. I am a gamer, and when I play I use my workstation. It has better graphics, more memory, better sound, and bigger hard drives. Also, because I build my own systems, I do not have to pay what I do for a laptop. I also do not have to pay it all at once. I am in a constant upgrade cycle using towers that I originally purchased around 2002. Because I do not have to replace everything at once, it is less of a financial burden to keep the machine up to near cutting edge.

OK, maybe I am just one of those "die-hard" desktop users.

Durability (1)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930685)

Well, for me - I still have a desktop at home that was essentially bought in 1998 (1,2 GHz Celeron). It works for me for everything (including World of Warcraft). At work I have a dual-processor Athlon (1 GHz), bought at 2001. It still works for me - does everything I need it to do at work (ie. Wireshark, SSH, browsing, e-mail, office and some custom network analyzing applications).

Why I haven't upgraded is 1) these computers still do everything for me. In 2001 I purposefully specced my work-desktop to have two processors so that I could run lots of computing power-requiring non-interactive processes in the background without bogging the system down.

The second reason, and the point that I'm getting here, is that 2) Apart from a broken fan, those desktop machines STILL work just fine.

In the same time, I have went through 5 laptops (currently using Lenovo Z60m) that my company has issued me. Usually not anything "destructive", but batteries dying, keyboards getting sticky, plastic parts (display, PCMCIA ports) breaking...so basically, when I have asked IT to fix it, they have just given me a new one.

Meanwhile, my desktops just keeps on going.

So, I wonder - is the "growth" in laptop sales a result of the fact that they force you into upgrade cycle since they don't have easily replaceable parts that you can fix if things break, so you're essentially getting a new comp everytime something breaks (even if you have insurance footing the bill).

Re:Durability (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930747)

Laptops are just as durable as PCs...More durable, actually. If you set your laptop on a desk and never moved it, it'd last quite a long time, whereas if you lugged your pc with you everywhere, used it to hold elevator doors open, beat down muggers, etc, it would have a 15% per year failure rate too.

Going unmentioned... (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930691)

Is the unreliability of the laptop. They remain the only thing (in my experience) that it is probably worth spending the extra money to purchase the extended warranty. I have yet to see one perform reliably over a 3-5 year period without need of repair.

The one question that the article needed to ask was how many people who buy a laptop don't already have a desktop in use? I suspect that number is minimal as well.

Businesses? (1)

DTemp (1086779) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930701)

So you're telling me that the hundreds/thousands of desktops for the Worker Bees in every medium/large sized company in America are being replaced with laptops? Laptops cost twice as much as equivalent desktops. Good luck! I might believe it if this article limited the conversion to home computers, but businesses will continue to use desktops as long as they are cheaper. Note: Laptops do use less power than desktops. If a laptop uses 100W less power than a desktop, and the computers are left on 10h a day, thats 1kWh of saved energy per day per computer. At $0.10 per kWh, if the computers run 300 days a year, thats $30 a year saved. It would take approximately 10 years worth of life for a laptop to be cheaper than a desktop when to factor in energy usage. Clearly, computers don't last this long.

Quite doubtful (5, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930705)

1. Cost. Laptops cost almost twice what comparable desktop systems cost. This gap could close when flat displays become cheaper and production numbers increase considerably.

2. Upgrades. Upgrading a laptop means currently that you have to throw out the old one and buy a new one. This, too, could be seen as a minor problem, with the Joe Average User buying a new computer every few years rather than doing midlife upgrades and laptops that come across as "barebones" with interchangeable parts.

3. Vendor lock-in. Even if upgrading is possible, you often need very specific Dell/IBM/Toshiba-only parts that fit only in this brand of laptop, often also only in this series (anyone who ever wanted to up their ram in the IBM notebooks knows what I'm talking about). This is unlikely to change, since companies DO want you to be locked in. I highly doubt they'll agree to a standard.

4. Heat. The most advanced and fastest CPUs and even more GPUs produce an incredible amount of waste heat that a notebook cannot sensibly get rid of. Usually you do get a "notebook" version of those chips, but they are usually either slower or a generation behind, when more advanced production processes allow the same speed with less heat.

5. Displays. Notebooks are supposed to be small, displays can't be large enough. Unless we find a way to "fold" displays, people who want more than a 17" display will not enjoy the notebook experience. Either that or they'll grumble when they get to haul around a notebook that can house a 20" display...

5. Space. Notebooks only have so much space, unless you increase their size to inane proportions. This is most noticable for HDDs, which are hard if not impossible to upgrade, and even current notebooks hardly come with more than 200GB of storage space, something that is allright for travels, but I doubt it would make them popular with people who have a need for a lot of storage.

6. Defects. When a part of the notebook fails, you have to send it in for repairs. No user serviceable parts inside (with most models at least). When the graphics card in the desktop fails, rip it out and replace it.

The list goes on. While notebook use will certainly increase over the next years (points 1 and 2 can pretty easily be taken care of, and will), I do not see them as the all powerful replacement of desktops. They might have their place in work environments, especially when mobility is an issue, but in the private sector (and especially amongst hardcore gamers, video/audio junkies and graphics artists) the desktop will most likely survive.

Not when cost are still much higher and space..... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930707)

Not when cost are still much higher and space is limited. The heat and smaller space in a laptop keeps high video cards, and fast hard disks out of them also when $1000+ $1500 even some $2000 ones have on board video that too is a trun off as well even more so with windows vista and laptop ram costs much more then desktop ram and most systems only have 2 slots.

Its Interesting how sitution changes perspective (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930715)

At Home its all about the Desktop since I maintain the hardware and I have to pay the costs of the machine (Desktop hardware is comparitively cheaper and more powerful). This is mostly to support my gaming habit I upgrade the machine every few years in a major over haul it might get one small componet add or swap a year in between overhauls.

At Work My primary machine is a laptop, I have a desktop as well but its only used for very specialized tasks. The Company pays for all the hardware and except for hardware issues for which we have a vendor, I do most of the other machine manintance. I much perfer the laptop for work since I can move it around with me during the day, take it on trips, and bring it home to access the company over VPN.

I doubt desktops will go away (4, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930789)

These same "researchers" predicted that computers would make paper disappear from the office. Today offices deal with more paper than ever because electronic documents just don't do the job.

Laptops are popular with businesses because they can do double duty: plug into a docking station with a fixed monitor and keyboard for desktop use, but allow employees to take it home to do work after hours or on weekends. At the same time, though, those laptops are no end of hassle when dealing with the corporate network. Desktops, being nailed down to just one network, can just be configured and you're set. The laptops have to be able to deal with being on insecure outside networks, and the extra software to handle that is just a nightmare when they're attached to the corporate network. Not to mention that almost all of them currently are infected with several viruses and they're spreading them to the company net. The desktops aren't nearly as much of a problem in this regard. Business likes the cost savings, but a lot of people where I work are opting to keep their desktop boxes and use their own laptops instead of having the company give them a laptop (and take away their nice reliable desktop machine).

Then of course there's gaming. Very few laptops compare well to a desktop box when it comes to gaming performance. Gaming hardware eats too much power and throws off too much heat, and gamers don't like sacrificing performance.

My sense is that desktop PC shipments are dropping not because of any lack of demand for desktops. It's more that most people are satisfied with the box they've got now and are just upgrading components for a couple hundred dollars rather than buying a whole new system, and that people are going to white-box builders locally rather than buying from the big-name vendors. I know I can find higher-spec systems locally for better prices than I can find at Dell or the like. I mean, I built one for my niece earlier this year with hardware the equal of Dell's best gaming box but a cost around that of their mid-range non-gaming boxes. I've had to decline 4 requests to build systems since then, and pointed all 4 to local shops. I'm not surprised to see the big names seeing a drop-off in shipments.

But think of the games! (1)

beau_west (1114973) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930805)

Sure, as laptops get more powerful, they'll be able to handle even the most intense games. (by todays standards) However, as we get more power in our laptops, won't the games get even more hardware intensive? There will still be desktops around to handle those, and handle them well. Of course... I run a Mac, so it doesn't matter to me. =D

Overlooking the obvious (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930819)

They're overlooking one very simple and obvious point. Ownership of a laptop does not prevent you from using a desktop and vice versa. It's only recently the laptops have become cheap enough that you can buy one before you need that money to drop on a desktop upgrade. Laptops are only catching up to desktops. I think what's more likely to happen is that people will start having two computers, a desktop and a laptop, and will use both.

business laptops for all? (3, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930837)

I call bullshit.

Receptionists, shipping clerks, call center reps, cashiers, nurses, and most day-to-day office workers don't need the portability and form factor of a laptop. Furthermore, it's a lot more likely that a company will let a new hire or someone who has dealing with the public at the system use a desktop that's cumbersome to unhook and carry out the door than a machine designed for that purpose. People might not be any more likely to steal a laptop than a desktop in principle, but making it easier for, say, the guys who visit the Public Aid office to get in and out with them isn't necessarily a good idea.

Desktops are a lot cheaper to design and build for the budget role, and are more easily customizable for all the myriad business machines out there that require computer control. USB and Firewire are great, but they're still not as flexible as PCI and PCI Express. Extra drive bays make it much easier for IT to add storage or unusual hardware (ZIP, HD-DVD, some new memory card reader) that would have to be a separately inventoried if it was an external add-on for a laptop.

A desktop can easily be expanded into a cheap, low-end server. Most laptops don't meet this criterion very well. Memory limits asre often lower, the memory is more expensive, and you only get one hard drive in 99.8% of models out there. Lots of small businesses or working groups in larger ones tend to turn an old PC into an impromptu server for a while until the budget allows a proper server.

There might be some split into laptops for the masses, workstations for high-end work, and servers for rack-mount applications, but you can be sure lots of businesses will the just buy workstation or server machines as desktops. As long as the business world demands the mini tower, it'll be available for you to buy from Dell and HP. The enthusiast sites will probably still offer them long after that.

Besides, when has "lower growth" ever meant "decline in number"? Last I checked, growth meant more units sold, period. Less of an increase than last year, maybe, but still an increase. What if one day the market saturates and everyone only buys replacement systems? Will all the suppliers of hardware close and not bother?

Turnover rate of laptops (1)

ptaff (165113) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930855)

Well, more laptops might be sold, but more are discarded:
  • Easier to steal;
  • Easier to lose;
  • Easier to break;
  • Quickly obsolete (high-end laptops are too expensive, thus people buy less powerful machines);
  • Not-so-easy to upgrade, sometimes it's better to just buy another one instead of trying to add peripherals/memory.

That more and more portable music players are sold does not mean that home stereos are on the way out!

I could get a laptop... (1)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930861)

...but I'd have to plug a full-travel keyboard into it. And a proper mouse. And a set of loudspeakers. At which point, it pretty much becomes a desktop.

-Stephen

location location location (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930877)

Most laptops sit on a desk!

Market will shrink, never go away (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930881)

The evolution of the computing industry has been fascinating to watch. I got into it as a kid in the late 80's. The first computers I lusted after were Atari ST's but I ended up with an XT when the family had enough money to buy one. Portables at the time were compromises in misery. Remember the old IBM luggable? I think their marketing slogan was "You WILL pray for death!"

For the longest time, the truism was that computing did not get any better than the desktop. You could get a laptop for roughly two to three times the cost of the equivalent desktop and you'll still prefer the desktop. Laptops were one of those strange and exotic luxury items like Italian sports cars, beyond the ken of mortals. And even at that, you had home docking stations so you could at least get a proper goddamn CRT before you went blind from looking at those dual-scan screens.

Laptops kept improving, though. The bang for the buck kept increasing up until the point where a proper laptop was at least as cheap as a good PC. Hell, remember the 80's and 90's where the starting point for talking about a good system was $2000? I'm not talking a balls out system, I mean anything in general! And now you can get nice laptops for $600.

Like most of us, I do tech support for the family. My mom's last computer was from 1998 and was getting a little long in the tooth for her. I got her a new laptop and she's fallen completely in love with it. With the wireless card, she can use it anywhere in the house. It can go on the TV stand and do video output for downloaded movies. It can be with her at the desk when she's working on serious stuff. She can lay in bed with it on a breakfast tray when she's reading and answering emails. It completely frees her from the "sit at a desk until you die from deep vein thrombosis" syndrome you get from a desktop.

For the average user, a desktop is a pretty dead concept. Unless someone is looking to go really lowball and get something cheaper than a laptop, they'd be better served with the laptop. The exceptions will be those people who need to do more than the laptop can offer, more than casual stuff. Musicians, videographers, programmers, gamers, photographers, those are the people who will need a pimped out system. Latest graphics card, multiple monitors, super-fast internal drives, various input devices, boatloads of ram, etc.

I think the whole "upgradability" thing is a bit of a non-issue when discussing laptops because really, how upgradable are PC's anyway? My desktop is usually running a fixed configuration for years. By the time I'm ready to upgrade, the motherboard will need replaced to account for the latest RAM and CPU. Of course, I'll also need a new graphics card. Sound and network are onboard. A faster OS drive is a given. AT best I'm reusing the old DVD-ROM, several internal hard drives, and maybe the case. But those old parts aren't bad, I'd want to keep them in functional form so that means they need a case and a CD drive so why not just leave them in the old machine, strip the extra hard drives and throw them in the new beastie?

Alarmist article, but true for me (1)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930913)

I personally thought and assumed that I would always have a desktop.

However, last week I sold my G4 PowerMac MDD, my Mac Mini Intel and my iBook G4. Took the money and got a brand new Macbook Pro. It's faster than all of the others, and does everything that my desktops did and more. For me, it worked as a desktop replacement. I've probably owned 15+ personal desktops of mine, and 100+ ones that I've bought and rebuilt for others (family and friends) that I used for a week or two while tweaking them.

I suppose I do still have one desktop, my C64, which I use for Music applications.

This isn't the early 90's anymore... (1)

Fedorpheux (912926) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930943)

My point being that the stats used by this company to make their bold statement about 2010 only went back to 2005. Sure, computers are a new and exciting technology, but at this point, we have around 15-20 years of history in which computers have been sold to consumer-level society on a mass scale. Of course if you compare the actual technology to that of 15 or 20 years ago, there are drastic differences and I'm not saying they should be overlooked. But completely ignoring this wealth of relevant statistical information in order to make a wild proclamation that does little more than sell advertising space on the webpage doesn't score high in my book. Even though it may successfully shock some uninformed viewers, those kinds of people are rarely the ones making the big decisions that actually matter anyways (although I'm sure some people would gladly call their high-powered boss "uninformed").

More homes run servers now (1)

eck011219 (851729) | more than 6 years ago | (#19930961)

There are now so many more people using desktops for cheap servers -- music, video, other files. I know fewer and fewer people who don't have something like this going on, even among those who are less technically inclined. So I don't see desktops going away unless manufacturers really start bringing down the price of actual servers or those networkable storage things (which are only good for storage, though I guess that's mostly what homes would be doing with a server on the network anyway).

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19930977)

Did somebody say paperless office?
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