Are We In The Post-PC Era Yet?
by Amy Vale
In the past few months the question has been asked many times - is the desktop going the way of the landline, that is, disappearing in favor of the mobile device? There is lots of research currently looking at the volume of desktop computers sold versus smartphones and tablets, so we thought that this week we would take a look at what is actually going on out there. Have we ventured out into the post-PC era yet?
A 2010 IBM study noted that "smartphone sales have exceeded PC sales for the first time. This is not a fluke, but one indication that we are entering a post-PC-era that will be dominated by highly-mobile, instant-on, and always connected, smartphones and tablets as the platform of choice to access network-based services. The impact of this on the enterprise is both inevitable and profound."
According to a recent Gartner study, 352.8 million PC’s were sold worldwide in 2011. To put it into perspective, Samsung alone estimates it sold 300 million handsets in 2011 and estimates it will sell 372 million in 2012 where 150 million of them are expected to be smartphones. While not all of Samsung’s mobile device sales will be smartphones, they are all mobile devices which tap into the web and run apps.
Some people are suggesting the struggling economy is what is responsible for hurting the sale of personal computers. Objectively, it probably is a contributing factor. However, the trend toward mobile and away from desktop computers is a powerful one that goes beyond the current economic climate. If someone doesn’t have the finances to buy a new PC, this makes the sale of smartphones or tablets even more compelling, especially if it comes with a monthly fee rather than an outright bill. Current generation mobile devices are attractively priced, often due to subsidies from the mobile telecom providers, making them quite affordable to a broad market.
We are increasingly witnessing a major cultural shift away from desktops and toward mobile devices, but this is nothing new. There are so many reasons why this is happening, but put simply, the mobile device is just taking over. If you consider how people are using their computers and accessing the web nowadays, it makes perfect sense. Very few people are actually sitting at a desktop computer for leisure purposes. This has meant that people are only turning to their PC’s at work, and even this is starting to change. A lot of offices and companies are turning to tablets as a way of running their businesses. With that said, it’s safe to say that the PC is not dead yet! Yet, being the operative word.