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Win 8 Tablets Won't Save Declining PC Sales

When Windows 8 ships, which is right around the corner (right when the leaves start to fall in my neck of the woods here in New England), there will be a whole new style of PC-based tablets coming along for the ride. These little beauties will blend the convenience of the iPad with the workman-like abilities of a full laptop. I can play and keep the boss happy at the same time. They should sell like hot cakes at a church fair.

But while IDC expects good sales, the research house doesn't expect them to reverse an overall slump in the worldwide PC market. Over the next three years, the market will grow on average just over 7 percent each year. That's not much compared to historical rates, but actually better than rates during our recent recession -- last year sales fell 1.4 percent. Ouch.

In my mind, there just hasn't been that much revolutionary going on in the PC hardware space, we are near saturation (my house has a half dozen machines), virtualization is driving thin clients and the younger generation does more and more with smartphones. Oh, and did I mention the iPad?

And there's nothing wrong with forcing the Dells and HPs of the world to give us a reason to buy a new PC, now is there?

How many PCs do you have and what would compel you to buy a new one? Let us know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 08/29/2012 at 1:19 PM


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Reader Comments:

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 Dan Iowa

Amusing thread. It appears that most people have no clue what drives the PC market these days, and everyone approaches things from their own perspective, so Mac guys think the PC is dead, not realizing that they own a PC (the Mac). Laptop guys think the PC is dead, not realizing that they own a PC (it's just mobile). Tablet guys will come allong anouncing the death of the PC, again, not realizing that they own a PC (it's mobile with a touch screen). The PC market will always be dying in one way or another. That's how you'll buy the next device because it's not a PC; this one has a battery. It's not a PC; this one has touch screen. It's not a PC; this one has a fruit on the case. Long live the death of the PC!

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 James Snellville, Georgia

I have just one personal computer and it is a Mac mini. I use it to do pretty much everything, and I have an iPad for doing everything that I have needed to do while mobile. In the past I have used a Tablet PC and while it was a cool concept, I have realized the issues with a full blown computer as my mobile device is not what is needed. I have been a student for a while mostly in information technology areas and I have to develop code a few times. The biggest issue with having a mobile computer and a main desktop computer is synchronization of information between the main computer and the mobile computer. While Microsoft has addressed this issue in Windows 8, I have also realized that I did not desire a full blown computer as my mobile computer. Over the last year I realize that what I needed the most was a way to take notes electronically and ditch paper altogether. I had used the Tablet PC for these tasks, but it was never as nice as using my old Pocket PC. I won an iPad last year and I tried it out to see if it would be useful. The iPad is amazing device and can definitely replace the old fashioned notebook! I also realized that was mostly what I needed in a mobile device. If I need advanced computing while mobile and I have access to the Internet, then I am able to connect to my workstation and use the full power of my virtual machine in the server room! I think as people realize this capability then they will see all the benefits and start migrating to smartphones and tablets as their main mobile devices and using desktop computers at home for their main home computer.

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 College Dad Central NY State

PC's are a mature market, a 7% increase is respectable in my estimation. Tablets/iPads are a supplement to PC's, even a powerful one is no replacement, and Win8 was obviously intended to grab market share for tablets with little regard for PC users. We're a family of 4 with 2 in college. 2 desktops in use, 1 desktop currently mothballed, 3 laptops, 1 iPad, 1 Galaxy Tab, 1 iPhone, 2 iPod Touchs and 3 "dumb" phones.

Wed, Aug 29, 2012

Hah! I had 6 computers at home (for just 2 of us) but was enticed to purchase another one when the price came down to $225 for a very decent quality desktop to use for testing Windows 7 and 8 with legacy software and see what I can make operate successfully. Maybe now is the time to drag that pre-Y2K PC out of the closet and donate it to Goodwill (minus the hard drive) for recycling.

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 Al

I do think many people will be surprised by the uptick, yes, "up", in this new line of tablet/laptop machines. While there will always be room for the appliance tablets (ones limited to their respective marketplaces), real PC's in this form factor have been desired by students and professionals alike. Think about it, I can do everything I can with a tablet but I also can run Office, pull out my favorite developer environment, run most games that work on my laptop, and so on. Unless the battery life is bad, what's not to love? Still, given the worldwide economy, sales won't soar but sales will improve. The uptick might be slow but, again, that's due to the economy not because consumers and professionals don't want the goods.

Wed, Aug 29, 2012

I am now down to just 6. My laptop, which also has all our pictures. The office PC - runs a Magic Jack and has all the important documents. The gaming PC. A PC for testing Windows 8. An old PC used to record albums to MP3 files. And one PC for testing whatever. I am trying to decide now if I should replace the gaiming PC with another PC or an X-Box!

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