Lower-Priced Tablets Nibbling Away at PC Sales, But PCs Aren’t Going Anywhere

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News Posted: Fri, Apr 5 2013 10:51 AM
The latest PC sales numbers and accompanying predictions from research firm Gartner show an unsurprising trend: tablet sales will continue to rise sharply at the expense of traditional desktops and notebooks.

“While there will be some individuals who retain both a personal PC and a tablet...most will be satisfied with the experience they get from a tablet as their main computing device," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. She further noted that many consumers will stop replacing their PCs, because they simply won’t be essential anymore.

Gartner PC sales

As you can see from the chart, Gartner expects traditional PC sales to drop from 341 million units in 2012 to 271 million in 2017, which is a 7.6 percent decline. At the same time, tablet sales will shoot up from 116 million to nearly half a billion. Sales of ultramobiles and smartphones will continue to trend upward, too.

Some will see this and assume that it means the end is nigh for the PC, but they’d be wrong. First, tablets are PCS, and increasing numbers of them run full (or nearly full) versions of desktop operating systems. Second, the need for computing of all kinds is only increasing, so there will always be a need for higher-power machines such as ultrabooks, desktop replacement notebooks, and powerful desktops. Further, the concept of a family PC seems to be returning with the advent of all-in-one PCs, which offer efficiency in terms of space and family-friendly features such as touchscreens and multiple ways of orienting the display.

Dell Latitude 10
This Dell Latitude 10 tablet is also a PC

What we’re seeing with the above trend is that mobile devices--particularly tablets--satisfy the basic computing needs of most users. In fact, tablets are better computing devices than laptops and desktops for social networking, reading news and blogs, streaming video, and the other online miscellany everyone engages in on a regular basis. Aside from typing out long missive, even email is excellent on a tablet.

It’s also important to note that sales of “ultramobiles” will grow, which will offset declining desktop and notebook numbers. Desktops and notebooks are not dying; they’re just becoming more specialized computing devices.
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I think tablets are good for playing mahjong and other simple games while on FB, while sitting on the couch or wherever. But to replace a full pc? nah.. I just don't see it. Perhaps when tech becomes so small that a gtx 660 or an hd 7870 can fit into such a small package BUT, that's where a laptop comes into play.. A keyboard and a monitor are a must have for MOST people. Even today's laptops are fighting hard to make room for more power yet the cpu's just lack the power of a full fledged desktop. Got to admit, putzing on a tablet while the 'other half' watched dance moms sure helped my sanity!

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BJew replied on Fri, Apr 5 2013 1:43 PM

A tablet can't replace a desktop gaming PC.  They both have their place in the market.  As a PC gamer, I would take the table on the road but for ultimate gaming a custom built desktop is the way to go.

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That's the thing lots of people just use computers to send emails and check FB or look something up on the web. That's why tablets are doing so well.

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A tablet cant replace a gaming desktop rig for high powered games and software so while the market is shrinking I think long term, desktops stick around.

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They dont mention about people building their own PC's.. only about PCs dolf through DELL or HP etc

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I build all of my own PCs and I own a Tablet too.

The Tablet gets it's use at night, but many nights, not at all. The only game I play on the Tablet is Angry Birds and that is not too often either. But I use my Kindle ~every night~ before I sleep.

During the day, I use my PCs exclusively. They have a lot more appeal to me for surfing the web and gaming. The 27" screens help with that.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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