Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Dying PC Market

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the netcraft-confirms-nothing dept.

Portables 307

An anonymous reader writes "The PC's role in Japanese homes is diminishing, as its once-awesome monopoly on processing power is encroached by gadgets such as smart phones that act like pocket-size computers, advanced Internet-connected game consoles, digital video recorders with terabytes of memory NEC's annual PC shipments in Japan shrank 6.2 percent to 2.72 million units in 2006, and the trend is continuing into the first quarter of fiscal 2007 with a 14 percent decline from a year earlier. Sony's PC shipments for Japan shrank 10 percent in 2006 from a year earlier. "The household PC market is losing momentum to other electronics like flat-panel TVs and mobile phones," said Masahiro Katayama, research group head at market survey firm IDC. "Consumers aren't impressed anymore with bigger hard drives or faster processors. That's not as exciting as a bigger TV," Katayama said. "And in Japan, kids now grow up using mobile phones, not PCs. The future of PCs isn't bright.""

cancel ×

307 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

cookin up a mug of (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230861)

frosty piss

One word TORA ! TORA ! TORA ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230967)

banzai !!

Re:cookin up a mug of (2, Funny)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230991)

How on earth did this particular meme come to be in the first place? Did someone horribly misspell 'First Post'?

Re:cookin up a mug of (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231237)

Your powers of deduction are teh pwnage young one.

Re:cookin up a mug of (1)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231285)

You must be new here. Welcome to Slashdot :-)

Yeah, well (5, Insightful)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230867)

they'll figure out how important PCs are once they want to start designing those video games, cell phones, PDAs, etc.

None of those could exist without the PC.

Re:Yeah, well (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230895)

Well you could do the work on a Server, or a Mainframe. Or even have a speciality device for development of products for these devices. They could exist now without the PC just as PC can exist without Mainframes.

Re:Yeah, well (5, Insightful)

ztransform (929641) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230905)

The article wasn't debating whether the PC would exist, but it pointed out that the PC won't have the dominance it has had. Which makes sense really; most people want to play games, and e-mail. Not too many people at home actually make use of spreadsheets, even when preparing tax returns.

So if we have a dedicated games device at home, and a mobile phone that can browse the web and access e-mail then that's most of the technology the average punter will want/need.

Of course I expect most slashdot readers to still want their PCs..

Re:Yeah, well (5, Funny)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231005)

Of course I expect most slashdot readers to still want their PCs..
Correction: we want our Linux-running Beowulf clusters.

Re:Yeah, well (2, Insightful)

Nossie (753694) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231025)

isnt a smartphone not just a small pc with a radio stack?

Personal computers will always exist and if this article proves anything it proves that PCs are consuming other markets than just surfing the net or downloading porn. Just because they are expanding into other markets that were analogue doesn't mean they are going to disappear.

A TV with a user interface is pretty much a PC.

Re:Yeah, well (4, Informative)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231173)

isnt a smartphone not just a small pc with a radio stack?
Yes, but with one very significant difference. You buy your PC, you can even build your own and you have complete control over it. Try doing that with a smart phone -- with even a cheapskate bottom of the range phone.

While I'd love a small pc that had true notebook capability with me at all times, the last thing I want to do is be further shafted by a phone service provider. And in 20 years of owning cellphones in a variety of countries, I can safely safe that there is not one occasion where I have not, to some degree, been shafted by a phone service provider. I have two university degrees, one in numerate sciences, but I struggle to understand how the numbers on any cellphone contract add up.

The only way I'm owning a smartphone is if someone else is paying -- or there is a revolution in global regulation that strips the asshole cartel-like phone companies of all their power.

I'm sure the only significant barrier to smartphone adoption is the criminals that operate the phone companies.

Re:Yeah, well (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231331)

I'd like a laptop with the same level and freedom of connectivity as a mobile phone. While there are mobile phone cards for laptops, they usually come with a minimum of 12-month contracts with tiered data transfer rates. Compare that to a mobile phone which can be pay-as-you-go with a top-up card that can be used at any bank machine.

Having a pay-as-you-go service for Internet service for laptops would be really useful, especially when working away from home or work.

Re:Yeah, well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231339)

Psst: this is not a phone. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Yeah, well (2, Interesting)

Jezz (267249) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231391)

Ooh, I've just been thinking the EXACT same thing. Considering buying an Apple iPhone (I'm a Mac owner - I do use other computers, mostly Linux - but I do have a Windows Laptop around here somewhere) I did the arithmetic: OUCH! I would have cost me about the same as a nice new iMac.

Personally I'm thinking about a Nokia phone with an Internet package that allows me to use it "as a broadband modem" [sic] and a Nokia N810 Internet Tablet, essentially because of the "freedom" to futz with the thing. I'm not sure I really want to futz with the phone (really not cool if you mess that up) but I don't want to only have the applications they say I can have. Here in the UK I think this will actually be cheaper than an iPhone (admittedly not that much cheaper).

Again I actually think there are real advantages to having the "smart" bits of this setup in a separate box (so you can hold the phone to your head AND still read the display on the N810). Of course, this is more nerdish than an iPhone... and perhaps I'll still want santa to bring me an iPod Touch. Of course, the Nokia doesn't look geeky so I can always leave the N810 in my pocket if I don't want to come off as a doofus (I'll need to remember to keep my mouth shut too [grin]) But I also think that an N810 will be more useful for what I do (YMMV).

Re:Yeah, well Radio Shack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231235)

not stack

Re:Yeah, well Radio Shack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231269)

You fail. Radio stack = tcp/ip stack equivalent for radio.

Re:Yeah, well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231271)

most people want to play games, and e-mail. Not too many people at home actually make use of spreadsheets, even when preparing tax returns.
Actually, most adults aren't very interested in games, and most of the people I know (even non-techies) do make use of spreadsheets for all kinds of things. Mobile phones haven't quite got to the stage yet where they're convenient for printing out envelopes for Christmas cards.

Re:Yeah, well (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231323)

Mobile phones haven't quite got to the stage yet where they're convenient for printing out envelopes for Christmas cards.

Have PCs? I don't know a lot of people who do this even if they have the equipment.

Re:Yeah, well (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230925)

they'll figure out how important PCs are once they want to start designing those video games, cell phones, PDAs, etc.

The article is about the home market, not work. If you'd read it, they specifically point out that Japanese don't bring work home and thus don't have that reason to have a PC around. Separately, the article states that the upgrade cycle for companies has lengthened, as there is little need to replace working machines when the newer models do not offer anything needed.

Re:Yeah, well (2, Informative)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231455)

Personally, I think the article is about the Japanese market. They live in smaller spaces and don't have the room for a 'workstation' sized computer on it's own desk. Further, I can remember that historically, the Japanese have always had a crippled PC market, going back to the days of the NEC hard drive cartel, when no self-respecting patriotic Japanese would have anything but a large, expensive, unreliable NEC hard drive; it was considered disloyal to have a small reliable inexpensive Seagate. The Japanese have always had fewer and more compromised PCs. Remember, game consoles also are more popular in Japan than PC Gaming.

Re:Yeah, well (5, Insightful)

tacocat (527354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231151)

In part I agree, but I think there's another facet of the issue that they are overlooking.

The PC market is effectively saturated.

The need to upgrade your PC every 2 years to keep up with the software is passed. The only exception today is Vista and it's poorer than expected market penetration to date bears witness to the fact that people don't see the features available in Vista as merit for a new machine. We've reached a phase of good enough where computers can easily last 4-5 years in the technology curve without being painfully obsolete.

During the 1990's by the time the new computer you ordered was shipped to your house it was already being superceded by a newer model. And the software was moving almost as fast. Quickly what ran Windows 3.11 and Windows 95 couldn't hack Office 97 or Windows 98. It definitely couldn't manage Windows NT 4. The gaming video scene was even worse. Today there really isn't sufficient customer-facing change in the software to merit all the hardware changes.

Add to this the advent of computer gaming consoles like Playstation, XBox, Wii. When I bought my first computer I spend $3,000 to buy it and another $1,500 in the first 12 months for hardware upgrades in order for me to play the latest computer games. Contrast this with current computer use. Games are on the gamestation and my computers are reaching 5+ years of age and still more than sufficient in terms of performance, drive space (easy to add more) and stability/security. There just isn't a need to get a new computer.

The even more interesting change is that in the past five years I have spent more money on game stations then computers and in the next five years will continue this trend, augemented by new TV, DVD, DVR...

Computers are still essential. But the consumer spending isn't in that direction any more. There will be few consumers without a computer entirely, but they are more inclined to upgrade their phone then their computer.

Re:Yeah, well (2, Interesting)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231209)

they'll figure out how important PCs are once they want to start designing those video games, cell phones, PDAs, etc.

"They" don't want to; "they" are home users.

None of those could exist without the PC.

Prior to the PC, a lot of that stuff was done on UNIX workstations. And after the PC stops being the darling of home users, it will be done on UNIX workstations again.

The fact that home computers and professional workstations are the same right now is a temporary state of affairs.

Re:Yeah, well (2, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231335)

they'll figure out how important PCs are once they want to start designing those video games, cell phones, PDAs, etc.

None of those could exist without the PC.


I think the days of home PCs are numbered. Considering that cell phones and PDAs are now more powerful than "supercomputers" from 30 years ago, I see a dedicated box called a "PC" will dissolve, and instead the functionality will evolved into other devices.

I have a powerful computer at my house that I rent from my cable TV company. It has something like a 120 GB harddrive, a RISC processor, a clock that automatically changes with DST rules. It records audio and video. Has a GUI that is easy to navigate from my couch with about 10 buttons on a remote control. Anyway, my point is that its a computer, but nobody calls it a computer they call it a digital recorder, a cable box, a PVR or a DVR.

Video game consoles, cell phones, PDAs are computers, but people don't call those computers.

I see this trend increasing, where standalone computers will simply be a thing of the past, and their functionality will just be integrated into other things.

Actually, what is a "computer" anyway? A home PC seems to be some kind of box with video and audio for output to the human, and a keyboard and pointing device for the human to input to the computer. My DVR is not perceived as a "computer" because it does not have a keyboard or pointing device.

So, once we figure out how to get rid of this archaic technology called a keyboard and a mouse for input from a human into the device, then the computer as we know it is gone.

Or... (5, Insightful)

Gigiya (1022729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230875)

They're just not upgrading every year?

Re:Or... (1)

leonbev (111395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231015)

Exactly. There is no good reason for most folks to upgrade their PC's either. You can still surf the web, check your e-mail, and write a term paper on a 5 year old PC almost as well as a brand new one. Unless you're a PC gamer who needs the latest wizbang video card, you're probably still happy with your existing computer and want to spend your money on something else like an iPod or a flat screen HDTV.

If Intel and AMD want to sell more PC's and laptops, they should do more to promote development of next generation mainstream apps that require the additional processing power. If something like "YouTube HD 2.0 Beta (TM)" required a quad core processor and 4 GB of RAM to run optimally, it would probably convince more folks to pony up for new hardware.

Re:Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231115)

Shhh...don't give them ideas!

Re:Or... (2, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231125)

But this was the year that everyone was supposed to buy a new PC so that they could start using the great new OS from Microsoft, Vista. It didn't happen so I think that a lot of manufacturers are concerned. Their projections to Wall Street probably included a spike that hasn't happened. Now they have some splainin' to do.

Re:Or... (1)

ypps (1106881) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231313)

My thought exactly. And the reason behind it is that computers are no longer getting twice as fast every 1.5 years. When new computers are not always amazingly fast, consumers look for other things. Like better operating systems or better programs. Things like smaller hardware or stylish design and products that are durable (or give the impression of being durable). Or they wait a couple of years extra until something amazing comes out or until something in their computer breaks down. The industry predicted years ago that this would happen approximately now...

For example, I have an old Radeon X800XL video card. I have been looking for a replacement that doubles my frame rates in games at the same price I paid for that Radeon. It actually took 2.5 years for that to come true with the Geforce 8800GT, that will hit stores in a week or two. How long will people keep their 8800GT cards? Probably three years the least if development continues to slow down.

Re:Or... (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231345)

Bingo! A reasonable computer from three years ago is still quite capable of doing what most users need a computer for.

Most people don't upgrade their OS. They do buy new apps. Except for graphics-intensive games, the rest of the software market tries to aim towards the lowest common denominator so that they can sell more units. Hence the lack of need for people to buy new computers. This will not get better until a new "killer app" comes out.

Re:Or... (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231435)

Yup, bait and switch article. Content doesn't match the headline.

I can sympathize. I don't know if we are _perfectly_ happy with his and hers 754 boards with Athlon 64FXs and 2 gig but we are _pretty_ happy. Echoing the kid, bigger LCD screen for the MythTV (also a 754 board with two gig) is the priority here and as long as the PCs have the processing power to serve our needs (which is pretty much to say NOT gaming or home video and audio production) I don't see an emphasis on fancier peripherals as "merely" consumerist.

To be preemptive. (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230883)

Before you argue your point against this. Look up what some other people said about the mainframe. In short: to most responses
A. Yes there are things that PC can do that Devices cannot do as well. But a lot of people are willing to take that tradeoff for mobility
B. No the PC will be a Dying market but will take a Long time before it dies. Look at the Mainframe market it is a dying market but it never completely dies.
Change is scary but it will happen the trick is try to keep your sills diverse enough to account for this.

Re:To be preemptive. (1)

jgrahn (181062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230997)

No the PC will be a Dying market but will take a Long time before it dies. Look at the Mainframe market it is a dying market but it never completely dies.

Change is scary but it will happen the trick is try to keep your sills diverse enough to account for this.

Few of us depend on annual PC sales for our income. This decline in hardware sales might just mean people realize that the computer they have is good enough for they few things they do with it. Or, more likely, that they have found another meaningless money sink.

And if it it does mean fewer people use home computers, that's kind of good news for some of us. The next generation will lack talented, self-taught programmers, and there will be plenty of work for someone like me, until I'm too old to remember the Emacs keyboard combinations.

But that's also the sad news ...

Re:To be preemptive. (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231127)

But that's also the sad news ...
Face the facts. There will always be n00bs. Me and the only other Linux user I know in the real world are starting to consider mass-sterilization to be a viable solution.

Re:To be preemptive. (5, Insightful)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231007)

Depends on your definition of "PC" and "Mainframe." All those little devices *are* PCs (and are more powerful than the mainframes of the past!). The only difference is form factor. The "box on a desk" home computer may very well decline (I don't think it'll die any time soon, at least not for geeks). The "fridge-sized cabinets" sitting in datacenters feeding content to the desktop computers and mobile devices won't be going anywhere soon. If history has taught us anything, the more powerful mainframe-class computing becomes, the more stuff we find to throw at it.

You need to lay off the mainframe comparisons (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231161)

For one, just because something happened in the past for one technology, doesn't hold that it will happen now for another. Predicting the future by saying the same changes that happened in the past will happen now is no more accurate than predicting the future by saying there will be no change from now.

However the other thing is, as far as I can tell, the mainframe market is as good as it ever was. Mainframe sales never died, or even waned, there just never have been that many of them. There still are people who buy mainframes, just not a whole lot. It wasn't that the PC supplanted the mainframe, more that it augmented it. We have probably 20,000-30,000 PCs where I work but we still have 2 mainframes and are likely to buy a third.

So if you wanted to claim that the PC situation will be the same as the mainframe situation, it would be more accurate to say that PCs are going to continue to do just fine, they are just going to be far eclipsed by personal devices like cell phones.

Also, the article, as they often do, seems to have a body that is different form the headline. The headline would imply that people are ditching their PCs, just using other devices. The body, however, reveals they are just not upgrading them as fast. Ahh, well that's a little different, now isn't it? PC use isn't declining just because sales decline, that just means people aren't buying them as often. This is not highly surprising since, all else aside, you don't need a new PC as bad as you used to.

I remember when PCs were just universally slow. Just doing normal things they took an amount of time that wasn't acceptable to people. Apps took 30 seconds or more to load, and don't get me started on how long you could have to wait on a print job. As such you always felt like you needed an upgrade. When something faster came out, you wanted it. After all, your current experience sucked, you wanted to make it better. Well that's not the case any more. Even on older hardware, things happen in a reasonable amount of time. It's not as fast as newer hardware, but we are talking the difference between a 1 and 5 second load time and such. There just isn't the feeling that you really need more power all the time.

That's well and good, and that combined with market saturation (everyone who wishes to have a PC already having one) will lead to slower sales. However it doesn't mean it'll lead to any less usage.

Re:You need to lay off the mainframe comparisons (1)

mrami (664567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231257)

Those are excellent points!

Incidentally, if you could, would you please write something similar to boost the morale of the *BSD camps?

Thx in advance...

Re:You need to lay off the mainframe comparisons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231369)

BSD needs no morale booster. It is powered by free love, body paint, and dandelion sprouts floating atop the wind...

Incidentally, netcraft confirmed it back in 1972.

The PC has been "dying" almost as often (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231197)

as the Mac in the past.

The iPhone is the king of convergence devices this year (in that it actually works well) but it still could never come close to replacing a PC. I don't think anything ever will - beyond a laptop with a holographic screen and voice input capability - which still is a PC.

And all these devices like the iPhone do are ultimately do are computerize previously analog-only devices and merge them together. It wasn't too far long ago that the phone was analog only. Same with the camera. Same with a music player (portable CD player previously). The farthest along that it has gone to encroaching on traditional PC turf is browsing or some PDA functions.

It may change in the future -- but I don't see AI or voice recognition input getting there anytime soon. A necessity for ultimately replacing the laptop or desktop and getting serious work done.

Re:To be preemptive. (2, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231199)

A. Yes there are things that PC can do that Devices cannot do as well. But a lot of people are willing to take that tradeoff for mobility

A lot of the current desire to stay in touch electronically was born with the PC, instant messaging and so on, but it has evolved. Who cares if a phone can do less, so long as the core functionality you need is there?

B. No the PC will be a Dying market but will take a Long time before it dies. Look at the Mainframe market it is a dying market but it never completely dies.

The PC is, I think, dying as an entertainment medium. No problem there, after all that wasn't why the PC came into existence, and there are other devices that are better at the most popular game types. OK the RTS is predominantly a PC thing, but that's just because the PC has better control mechanisms at present, the mouse and such. Those weren't invented for gaming though, who's to say there won't be better control systems evolving for consoles? I certainly hope so.

Personally I'd be happy to see the PC shrink in importance in the entertainment market. For one thing they'd start to get cheaper most like, and I for one need as many as I can get in order to run the experiments that make up my hobbies. (as an aside, it's a bizarre turnabout that I am seriously pondering clustered PS3s as an alternative, but I digress).

Besides, I am sick, really sick, of always having to upgrade some component or other to play the latest game. My main home pc has a seriously fast chip, but an old graphics card (old now that is, I didn't buy it that long ago, and it wasn't cheap), so I can't play some new games without spending the equivalent of the cost of a console. I don't want to replace the processor I have either, its perfect for my non gaming needs.

Re:To be preemptive. (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231447)

You are way off base, and TFA is arguing a logical fallacy.
They use the statistics of new computer sales to make the claim that "PC's role in Japanese homes is diminishing, . . ".
I use those statistics to claim that most people have a good enough computer already. So PC's role in Japanese homes is growing, albeit growing more slowly, reflected in fewer sales.

terabytes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230885)

"digital video recorders with terabytes of memory"

Where? I want one!

Diminishing sales equals diminishing use? (5, Insightful)

Gybrwe666 (1007849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230891)

I wonder if this is true or if we are just at a place where many casual users don't need to upgrade as often? Many of the advances of the last few years have been pretty incremental, or don't affect your average end user too much. If they can browse the web, send email, and run a few apps like Word Processing and Spreadsheets, that's all they need.

The advances of the last few years have gotten to the point where many people are satisfied and don't need to buy a new one. The only excpetion to this is the Gamer market, and I can see why gadget-crazy Japan might prefer Sony PS3 and Wii's to pc gaming.

I wonder if the people looking purely at sales are making a pretty basic error here, though.

Re:Diminishing sales equals diminishing use? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231139)

I think you're right. The trend towards buying and upgrading peripherals rather than a new computer has been going on for some time. People invest their money in a new scanner, digital camera, maybe a better printer ... or for that matter a game console. The point is that it'll be a while before that 3.4 Ghz Athlon with 2 Gb. of memory and a 320 Gb. hard drive becomes a problem. That's pretty much what has driven Intel and AMD into other markets: they did their jobs too well and the need for speed just isn't there anymore. Like you say, gamers and other power users are still there, but the vast majority of users have no compelling reason to buy a new computer. And no, I don't consider Vista to be a compelling reason. Hell, if anything Vista is a good reason to maintain the status quo.

fast enough (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230893)

That's a good thing, since computers have been fast enough for most purposes for quite some time. If the manufacturers focus less on speed and more on size/power consumption I don't see how that's a bad thing.

Sales (3, Funny)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230907)

Maybe the lowering pc sales is a result of the quality of computers and software, rather than the other gadgets being that good?

From my experience for example, Sony has made products which have more style over practical usage. I'm not going to pay $2000 for a styled pc which you can't use and breaks a month out of warranty.

Software not Hardware Problems. (2)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230975)

Maybe the lowering pc sales is a result of the quality of computers and software, rather than the other gadgets being that good?

Declining sales are a direct result of the M$ domination and digital restrictions. No one wants Vista [slashdot.org] but they would it it did what half of the set top boxes did. People want MythTV and a website that shares their photo album. Free software offers the best quality versions of what people want and Japan has more than enough network to support it. Thanks to the M$ domination it's hard to get a PC with anything but Vista and sales reflect this world wide, not just in Japan. Hardware is more than capable but it's been crippled by media publishers who would be happy to see general purpose computing and the internet dissapear.

Re:Sales (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231229)

I'm not going to pay $2000 for a styled pc which you can't use and breaks a month out of warranty.

Yeah, and which has weird drivers that you can't get off their Web site and forces you to use their branded OS. I don't know if that's the case with the newer desktop machines, but I ran into that problem with a VAIO laptop a year or so ago. It's a Windows box, stupid, so stop playing games with me. Pain in the ass. I wish Sony were more like Toshiba in that regard.

Besides, if you really want a styled computer, just give it up and buy a Mac. You'll get more bang for your buck, and it'll last well past the warranty period. Now, I'm no particular fan of Apple Computer and I haven't owned a Mac since 1986 but let's face it ... for what it is, the Mac is pretty impressive. Sony, on the other hand, seems to be trying to compete at some level with Apple using style over substance, and honestly that's just goofy. A Windows box in a fancy molded plastic case is still a Windows box! It's akin to that other recent /. article about the toy video game that was made to look like a Wii remote. Tacky.

morphing, changing, not dying (5, Insightful)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230915)

The PC marketing isn't dying. It's changing. If people realized this we wouldn't have alarmist articles and we'd have a lot less useless stats. Every one of the "PC as we know it" makers today has the ability to adapt, to plan to make smaller hardware footprints, etc. We know the PC cannot totally disappear because you'll never see a room of programmers on a project sitting around compiling, testing, debugging and deploying applications using just a cell phone/PDA interface or equivalent. What is a PC? Does it really matter how small it gets? As long as some people still have access to a standard sized monitor and keyboard they will consider anything a PC, even if it's stuck to a postage stamp on your desk.

Re:morphing, changing, not dying (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230955)

Sounds like the argument about the mainframe days...

The Mainframe marketing isn't dying. It's changing. If people realized this we wouldn't have alarmist articles and we'd have a lot less useless stats. Every one of the "Mainframes as we know it" makers today has the ability to adapt, to plan to make smaller hardware footprints, etc. We know the Mainframe cannot totally disappear because you'll never see a room of programmers on a project sitting around compiling, testing, debugging and deploying applications using just a cell PC interface or equivalent. What is a Mainframe? Does it really matter how small it gets? As long as some people still have access to a terminal they will consider anything a Mainframe, even if it can fit on top of your desk.

Re:morphing, changing, not dying (4, Insightful)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231087)

Which is entirely true. The mainframe has changed - the modern mainframe is a huge farm of commodity computers.

You make an excellent point, it just wasn't the one you intended.

Re:morphing, changing, not dying (1)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231143)

The PC marketing isn't dying. It's changing.
You hit the nail on the head. The PC market isn't dying. It's miniaturizing. Look at the iPhone and the future is clear. The average Joe Six-Pack (TM) won't even need or have a PC in a few years. They'll have an internet communications device that happens to be a cellphone.

The iPhone is the first portable computing platform that shows the future potential of mobile devices. They have the potential to be your only computing device, once the software is improved enough.

Google realizes this, Apple realizes this, and even MS realizes this (unfortunately for MS, their mobile computing platform sucks). I have a feeling that the mobile computing phenomenon will be the straw that breaks the back of the camel that is the MS desktop monopoly.

morphing, changing, not dying-Ball and Chain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231439)

So a computer isn't a computer unless it has a big monitor and a large keyboard attached to it?

Saturated market. (5, Insightful)

cuby (832037) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230935)

PCs are not vanishing, only the number of people that don't have one.
What is the point of a new computer when the existing one do the tasks you need.

Re:Saturated market. (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231085)

What is the point of a new computer when the existing one do the tasks you need.
Vista has no doubt also added to the number of people not bothering to upgrade.

*yawn* (3, Insightful)

Kipper the Llama (454021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230943)

We're at a point where most non-hardcore gamers/mulitmedia types don't need to stay abreast of the upgrade cycle. This isn't the 1990s anymore, though a lot of us here like to imagine it is. There are a lot of things a PC does that no other machine does well (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) that even average consumers need. Then we get to the fact that PCs can do a range of tasks that it would take half-a-dozen other machines to accomplish. "Death of the PC" stories are nice to get people riled, but they don't have much substance.

Do realize, though... (4, Informative)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230945)

This is primarily because cellphones in Japan aren't pieces of crap like those sold in the US. Helio's only starting to turn that around right now, and they're the only carrier I'd support if I returned to America. Here in China I get the best of both- advanced phones (Samsung and LG like to give the Chinese market nearly all of what they have given the Korean market) and cheap prices. For example, prepaid runs less than $.01/min, and I can get 450 minutes/month for $8. Beat that, AT&T. Oh, and population density- China Unicom's quite willing to cover the mountains where there are approximately 5 people/sq.km, as opposed to AT&T where I get spotty coverage at best in downtown Nashville (better than before I moved to China where I couldn't even get any coverage on AT&T).

Re:Do realize, though... (2, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231225)

I don't believe that whiz-bang cellphones would do as good in the USA as they would in Asia. Asia is much more gadget-oriented than Americans are, not to say there would be no market, just not a strong market.

Since my PC died the other week (4, Interesting)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230949)

I've been using my Wii to browse the net.
In fact, I'm typing this comment with it.

It works well, especially since the wiiware USB keyboard code upgrade, but for some reason, I can't reply to my gmail messages or view videos made with a more recent version of flash... hopefully these issues will be resolved soon with an update.

For the rest of my online needs, I use the workplace computer.

Re:Since my PC died the other week (1)

Serge_Tomiko (1178965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231249)

I could never imagine doing anything meaningful with the Wii given the low resolution of the display. My PS3 works pretty well for browsing either with the default PS3 system software or Yellowdog Linux... but even at 1080p with my 46" LCD, it still is a bit cumbersome. I really just use it to show Youtube videos occasionally, which is always a sharp contrast to Blu-ray movies...

consoles and PCs are trading places (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231399)

Consoles have taken the worst elements of PCs. Once they got a network, they became half-finished. You're always downloading new firmware, new game updates, and doing dumb shit like web browsing on it.

PCs are taking the worst elements of consoles. They're becoming locked down, DRMed boxes.

I don't think I like either direction.

report from the field (5, Interesting)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230957)

I fully expect a ton of comments on how the PC is vital to every day life these days, but I live in Japan as an English teacher (wanted to be back for a bit before going to school again) and I can tell you it seems like the article is right.

In the big electronics stores, like K's or Yamada Denki, PCs aren't the big draws - it's other stuff, including TVs.

Out of my middle school students, many of them don't use PCs on a regular basis and many of the high school students I know don't either (though I am in basically the Arkansas of Japan, but even when I lived in Osaka, I felt like this was true). Those that do don't have their own, they use their parent's. Most of what we do on a PC, including casual games, e-mail, and web surfing (and increasingly other things - my cell phone has a decent 2MB camera [a friend of mine has the summer's top of the line au phone with a 5MB], an MP3 player with iTunes like software ([au's lismo service]), Japanese/English dictionary, and simple Japanese OCR).

It's part of the reason why the web channel on the web was a big deal. For Americans, it just meant we might not have had to get out of bed to check Gmail, but for a lot of Japanese is was an important vector onto the Internet.

That said, when I went to college in Japan a lot of my friends ending up buying laptops or using them extensively in the school's various computer labs. And at work now, everyone can use a PC and desktop publishing / graphics (granted, I work at a town cultural hall, so they might come to the job with some of those skills already). One of my coworkers is even a Mac guy and another, the main graphics guy is thinking about upgrading from his Toshiba to a MacBook. Stuff like Macs and the iPod are going more ground here.

And the internet culture here is still pretty big - most people my age know about 2chan, even if they don't post and the big drama from two years ago was Densha Otoko, based on a supposedly true story about a nerdy anime fan who met a beautiful girl, began dating her, and asked for help on 2chan. You can still get 2chan's mascot, noma neko dolls around as well. Mixi (an invite only Japanese facebook site) and other internet groups are still pretty big here, so it's not like the things computers represent are going away, but rather PCs like devices, like phones and game consoles, are taking their place.

Re:report from the field (1)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230969)

Er, about the camera, I of course meant 2 and 5 megapixels, not megabytes, though this does lead to something interested as well. I don't use it, but my camera has a miroSD card slot, so one can store music, pictures, etc. on it, further lessening the need for a dedicated PC, especially for the younger set.

Re:report from the field (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231107)

Yeah... but wake the rest of us up when Final Cut Pro and Photoshop are available on the iPhone.

The average desktop PC monitor is still far too small for professional editing.

Re:report from the field (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231201)

So put a VGA/DVI/S-Video/somesmallvideoport on the side of the cell phone and hook it to your monitor. Unless wireless video transmission becomes viable.

Getting Photoshop on a cell phone is a different story.

Re:report from the field (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231393)

Unless wireless video transmission becomes viable.

I've heard they have this newfangled thing called TV now.

Re:report from the field (1)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231013)

Agh, I gotta use that preview button. In that truncated last sentence in the middle, my point is most of those features for my phone I listed are comparable to a PC. There are original Final Fantasy games and ports of the first few Dragon Quest games. My au phone came with Puyo Puyo Fever for free. It's not as pretty as the PSP version but it's far less conspicuous when I am slacking off on a train or something.

Even for the net and applications that use it, at au (it it's probably similar for docomo and softbank) the most I can ever pay for using the internet on my cellphone is around $40 on top of my cellphone bill. If I were Japanese and I didn't have a huge need for a computer, a top of the line cell and then internet on top of that seems like it might be a better deal.

Re:report from the field (1)

kharchenko (303729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231221)

I live in Japan as an English teacher ..snipOut of my middle school students, many of them don't use PCs on a regular basis and many of the high school students I know don't either

So how do they write the English essays? I understand how PC is loosing out in terms of playing music, IM and other trivial stuff, but it seems to me that heavy PC utilization is unavoidable for school and work. Basically it's on every office workers' desk, and I don't see any real alternative emerging.

Arkansas != non-tech (2, Informative)

Yremogtnom (774179) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231295)

(though I am in basically the Arkansas of Japan, but even when I lived in Osaka, I felt like this was true).

People in Arkansas are not necessarily low-tech. There's a low cost of living in Arkansas that allows most households to acquire high-tech gadgets and PC's.

I live in a small town in a economically underdeveloped part of Arkansas, and even here, very few people don't use technology. Almost every household has multiple cell phones and a PC with some sort of internet connection. Granted, there are probably a lot of people in Arkansas that still use dial-up because there's not broadband available, but I'd say a majority of the small towns (populations < 2000) offer cable or dsl internet service.

Arkansas is also the home of Wal-Mart, which has been selling several brands of PCs since the mid-90's. You also can't find a Wal-Mart without a kiosk that's offering the latest cell phones.

You might also be surprised at some of the large tech companies based in Arkansas: Acxiom [acxiom.com] , Alltel (they don't just do wireless service!) [alltel.com] , and of course, Wal-Mart... these are just a few.

Perhaps not that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21230973)

"The future of PCs isn't bright."

Of course it is. PCs will always be with us, they will just be in the tv or phone perhaps, where they work every time. What future isn't bright is that of the stand alone PC that has a piece of shit OS or a hardware lock-in or needs too much configuration but makes its CEO bazillions of dollars for your suffering.

Re:Perhaps not that bad (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231093)

Current embedded systems aren't much better, with exception to Linux-based OS's

Market Saturation (3, Insightful)

tcgroat (666085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230985)

The article cites companies saying their growth market is in countries where most people have never owned a PC before, and also that existing customers see no compelling reason to upgrade. The average user is happy with the PC they have, indeed they don't even use all the system capability they already own. They prefer to spend their money on something else. In the wealthy "developed" world, a PC now is a commodity appliance rather than a trendy status symbol. It's all part of an innovation becoming a mature product.

Re:Market Saturation (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231231)

I think you hit the nail on the head there. I mean, as long as computers were doubling all kinds of capacities in two years then staying on the upgrade threadmill made sense. A lot of people have talked about the Macs long lifespan, I simply think a little of that is spreading to PCs. When you take one step back the purchase rate of the last 20 years has been a freak of nature, where completely usable but yet obsolete PCs were being replaced in great numbers. It was bound to stop as soon as a) the pace finally slowed down or b) average people stopped needing more power. What you're seeing is probably just the return back to normal economics where you wait until a device is worn out / broken before you replace it.

In short, yes the corrolation is there but I'm not sure the causation is there. That we're finally able to make small devices really useful and that we're flattening out on what we can do with a large beige box means sales of mobile devices go up and PCs down, but I don't see it following that the PC will disappear. To me it comes down to basic UI issues, fiddling with the cell phone and its tiny screen is tiring. I think that in the future we might see docking in laptops though - plug your mobile into a laptop for proper keyboard and screen. We know from ultraportable laptops that you can make the key elements of a PC really small - maybe in the future the "PC" is carried around, and all we got are difference interface options, like laptop here, 50" LCD there and direct cell phone UI on the go. Which would actually be rather cool....

Which is why (3, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21230987)

The year of Linux on the desktop is irrelevant, because the desktop itself is irrelevant. Linux flood fills computing niches. It's already everywhere.
 

Re:Which is why (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231149)

I read a sig/post here at /. some time ago: "2008 will be the year of the Linux desktop. Unfortunately, it will also be the year of the laptop."

Sheesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231009)

"And in Japan, kids now grow up using mobile phones, not PCs. The future of PCs isn't bright."

Jesus, that must be the most stupid statement of the year.

Right (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231017)

and when they all go blind from staring at those tiny assed screens, we will have them right where we want them...okay, not really, but who can surf the web on a smart phone and really enjoy it? NOT ME! I can't get a good view of my pr0n let alone anything else!!!

Um, smartphones ARE PCs. (4, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231033)

PC = Personal Computer

My smartphone has MS Office compatible word processor, spreadsheet, and database. It sends email and browses the web. It takes photos and manages my budget. It has an always-on map (Google Maps) that I can use to get my position and/or directions anywhere.

It IS a personal computer.

PCs aren't dying, they're getting integrated more closely into our lives.

Re:Um, smartphones ARE PCs. (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231301)

My smartphone has MS Office compatible word processor, spreadsheet, and database.

While I don't doubt that your smartphone has these features, I find it highly unlikely that you actually use them for anything non-trivial. Can you honestly say that you create and edit multi-page Word docs and functional spreadsheets? I don't know about you but I find entering more than about five full words (meaning not IM gibberish) to be an almost excruciatingly painful process on a cell phone (smart or otherwise). My thumbs are as good as anyone else's, but come one!

A cell phone or palm device is not a replacement for a PC. Sure, it might work in a pinch, but as far as getting actual work done on an everyday basis there is simply no way it can compete with a PC.

Average people don't need PCs (3, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231057)

They need applications.

People need something to do personal finances, write up school homework, manage their photos and music and to send emails and surf the web.

Average people need a nice powerful PDA in a sub-notebook form factor that can hook up to a large screen and they need a PDA/Phone that fits in their pocket that can sync up with their full size PDA.

AVerage people don't care about writing their own software or customizing their experience (beyond wallpaper and ringtones)....

Re:Average people don't need PCs (2, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231329)

People referring to average people tend to undershoot what average people need and underestimate the average person. The sooner we stop dealing with averages, the better.

There is a quite good talk [ted.com] that summarizes this in another context. It is worth watching in my opinion. The relevant gist of it is that we shouldn't cater for the average or "the biggest group" because the average is usually, only a relative majority of the market.

What we should be doing is to look for clusters of users, not just the biggest cluster you can generally find, and say: "Hey! If we try to follow the mythical average, a lot of people won't like it! They'll be left unhappy and their needs aren't catered to, even though they are not small groups. Let's find out what our users really want, take the top 4-5 clusters and market to those groups independently. This will cover 90-95% of the people on the market instead of 45-65%!".

Japan is different (3, Insightful)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231077)

This may not mean much at all for other countries. Home PCs has never caught on in Japan the same way as in Europe and the USA. The gaming market is completely dominated by consoles. Games like World of Warcraft haven't even been translated into Japanese, and very few play the English version.

At least *we* could try to get it right... (0)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231079)

digital video recorders with terabytes of memory

To think, we often wonder how Joe Average can manage to screw up such a basic concept, and now we get it in a Slashdot FP???

C'mon, guys - Memory != Storage. Write it 100 times.

Re:At least *we* could try to get it right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231325)

To think, we often wonder how Joe Average can manage to screw up such a basic concept, and now we get it in a Slashdot FP???

It's the curse of success. After exhausting the geek demographic, the only way to make more revenue (ad impressions) is for slashdot is to expand into the unwashed masses. And to do so, dumb down its contents to appeal to said masses. When this works, slashdot is a mainstream media and a new geek site will appear.
It's inevitable, just like leaves fall off trees and grow back in spring.

One thing about Japan. (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231129)

Their currency has been deflating year on year for a decade or so. This is important for manufacturers because it means that the money becomes more valuable over time, not less valuable. This means that when you're spending that money, you want to spend it on something which will last a long time, you buy quality rather than crap. When a currency is inflating, it's best to get rid of it quickly knowing that the longer you hold it the less it's worth. People become less choosy about buying cheap crap.

The result is that the more inflation there is the more disposable the society becomes. PCs are inherently disposable, 2-3 years before being surpassed or upgraded. As the article suggests, making the PC a sort of home hub is probably the best option for producers there. Something like MythTV should go down well.
 

Embedded technology (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231133)

Back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, some outfit sold a household electric motor.

That's right. Just a motor.

These days people don't go out and buy electric motors, but there are probably several within 50 feet of where you are sitting, including maybe one in your wristwatch and several in your PC.

The PC is rapidly becoming an embedded appliance or in some cases a mix between an appliance and a PC.

Embedded appliances include routers, DVRs, regular cell phones, car radios, mp3 players, network-attached-storage devices, and other gadgets.

Mixed devices include PalmPilots, iPhones, and other hand-held computing devices that outperform the full-sized PCs of yesteryear as well as Living-Room/Media-Center computers that specialize in media presentation but are usable as PCs. The latter are usually more powerful than your typical desktop PC.

Re:Embedded technology (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231327)

Back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, some outfit sold a household electric motor.

Nitpickery: I think you mean late 19th and early 20th centuries [wikipedia.org] . :)

This is Japan (0)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231137)

Let's have a sense of perspective - this is Japan we're talking about. Smaller gadgets always have more impact on the Japanese market, and that will influence the market for PCs. Not that the overall prediction of PCs becoming less important is wrong, but it's premature to suggest that this is happening outside of Japan.

Re:This is Japan (1)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231317)

Wasn't Hello Kitty going to conquer the USA? Not every Japanese trend can be extrapolated to the entire world.

No, not dying (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231183)

The definition of "Personal Computer" is just morphing to fit modern technology.

I agree (2, Insightful)

Dahlgil (631022) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231191)

I think I agree with the posts saying that PC users are just not upgrading as frequently. Ever since my old VIC-20 days, I've been an avid computer user and have upgraded to a new machine every 2 to 3 years. In fact, 3 years would have been a lot. However, the computer I'm using now is one I built in 2003. Oh my goodness! That's four years ago. I did recently did a multimedia upgrade on it; but this 4 year old machine runs everything from Photoshop CS3 to Oblivion just fine thank you. It even does a decent job on the Crysis demo. Yes, I do have it in my plans to finally build a new machine next year...probably around this time, but that will mean that I've nearly doubled my upgrade interval--and it's not because of money, its simply because the tech is not advancing quite as quickly as it used to relative to the kind of software that I like to run. If someone from the outside was just looking at my credit card records to see my PC buying habits, I'm sure they'd say I must have given up on PCs and moved on to cell phones, DVRs, and console video games--when that would be the furthest thing from the truth. Sure, those other consumer devices are going to cut somewhat into PC sales as well, but that's ok. Personally, I'd like PCs to become a non-mainstream geeky kind of thing again anyway.

Its just like Vista (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231241)

the average PC user realizes that he doesn't need to upgrade just to be upgrading. doesn't matter if its hardware or software.

one possible reason... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231247)

Used to be you could only play certain types of games on the PC. They typically required (or benefited from, at least) a fast machine, creating a demand for new hardware purely for the sake of playing the newest games. Now that these types of games are available on consoles, many consumers may have offloaded this "task" which had previously been the domain of PCs onto their consoles. Consequently, they don't have a need to buy new hardware. The PC they bought 2 years ago is still plenty fast to perform all the non-game tasks they bought it for. Web-browsing, email, word processing, manipulating digital pictures, etc.

Yeah Right! Everyone knows the real reason is... (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231267)

""The PC's role in Japanese homes is diminishing, as its once-awesome monopoly on processing power is encroached by gadgets such as smart phones that act like pocket-size computers, advanced Internet-connected game consoles, digital video recorders with terabytes of memory NEC's annual PC shipments in Japan shrank 6.2 percent to 2.72 million units in 2006, and the trend is continuing into the first quarter of fiscal 2007 with a 14 percent decline from a year earlier. Sony's PC shipments for Japan shrank 10 percent in 2006 from a year earlier."

Yeah, right! Everyone knows the real reason is the increasing spread of illegal online PC sharing/downloading by people habituated to piracy by the illegal sharing of music and video! The real thing we need to fear is when people start downloading food online. When you see that starting to happen, run for the hills!

all the best,

drew

http://dangernovel.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
Danger - A Safe Bahamian Novel
Being written for NaNoWriMo 2007

The name is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231451)

The real issue at hand is not the death of the PC, but the death of the acronym "Personal Computer". There are many examples of the computer integrating into the modern household in new and exciting ways:

A fridge that can take inventory (what you have and when you need to go back to the supermarket) without you needing to open it. It can also tell you what you can make with what you have.

A Home Theatre PC (HTPC) connected to your over-sized HDTV, giving you the ability play music, movies, surf the net, play games, record your favourite shows, and countless other tasks.

I am sure the computer will penetrate many more areas in the home on a larger scale as the architecture gets smaller and more efficient. Computer makers need to understand that it no longer makes sense to sell 50 different models of the same desktop PC.

slashdot is gayer than shit on a dick (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231305)

Son: Dad, I think my new college roommate is a fag.

Dad: Why is that?

Son: His dick taste like shit!

The same everywhere (1)

MortenMW (968289) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231349)

I think this tendency is going to appear in the whole western world in not too long. The Japanese are a couple of years ahead of us. Most home-end users does not care about tasks where one would need a PC, most people just want to play games, surf the net and write some mail. And these tasks can be completed on a console or a mobile phone.

The Future (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231389)

What concerns me as some one that lives and works on PCs, Mac, Linux, PC, is what future availability will be like. Development and production are like fast moving trains right now and they'll take a while to slow down but they almost have to slow down. I see desktop advances slowing in the next three years due to reduced demand. I have a feeling the market will go the way of american society where there will be the rich and the poor and little in between. By that I mean lower powered home PCs that are mostly a motherboard with built in audio and video and possibly many of those features hardwired into the CPU. They'll be smaller and lower power consumption and probably go largely blue tooth cordless so they take little installation. Then you'll have the expensive pro level machine for doing high end business use and graphics. Due to less demand and the expense of development they will likely increase in price and we might eventually go back to the back ole days when workstations cost 20K to 40K each, I hope we don't go back to 200K. There may be a middle ground where gamers and budget minded professional and business users live but gamers may be driven into the consol world and most businesses can live on home level machines. It'll take three to five years to see major changes and probably ten years for new sales models to completely take over but the gold rush of PC develpment is slowing. Without applications that demand speed the consumers won't demand faster machines. Video editing and gaming were the last things driving the market. Now most machines can do basic editing and gaming is shifting to consoles. Middle level graphics people like me will be the ones feeling the pinch. On the brightside machines will be fast enough that instead of half a dozen machines I'll be able to get by on one or two systems but due to expense most may have to go to leasing like many have with cars.

Market saturation != dead market (1)

PinchDuck (199974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21231407)

People are now surrounded by PC's that are "good enough". They will be with us, however, until the display issues and crappy input modes are resolved on mobile platforms. The iPhone may be good, but it doesn't solve either of those issues. When we have virtual keyboards, or some other form of input, half the problem will be solved. When the people working on wearable displays get their technology perfected, then the other half will come into place. At that point, mobiles and PCs will merge.
Did PDAs die? No, their functionality was taken over by smartphones. The same thing will happen to PCs when the time is right. Until then, you will see slow and steady PC sales, with ups and downs, as people replace their current models at the end of their natural life. I won't upgrade to get a dual core PC until my current laptop dies, or I drop the thing and it breaks.

PCs like automobiles are now a mature market? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231417)

Could it be that like automobiles, pcs have reached a saturation point? Like automobile sales where once you have one or two in your family you don't need the expense of another one, you only get a replacement when needed?

I think pcs are like that now. The major growth period for hardware is over. Only when technology makes your current machine too old to run current programs do you need another.

It's not the PC.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21231429)

I think a more important way to look at is that personal computers
(not "PC" which has come to mean the products of the Wintel hegemony)
represent the "anything" machine -- a programmable device that users
can decide the capabilities of, based on what software they buy (or
write). This is in strong contrast to fixed-purpose devices whose
features are limited to what the original manufacturers decide to
dole out to the poor consumer.

There is an eternal conflict between device makers, who generally want
to constrain function, and consumers (and their agents: software
makers), who often have custom desires for equipment they bought.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?