In 2014, tablets will comprise 50% of the total PC market (desktops, laptops and tablets) while shipments of desktops and laptops continue to decline. Despite this news, the traditional desktop/laptop PC is not dead…and it’s not disappearing anytime soon, if you look at the behavior of the people who actually own tablets. The traditional PC will remain relevant for a long time to come, so it would be wise to keep our desktops and laptops in the best condition possible for all the work that will continue to be required of them.
According to a study on tablet usage conducted by Rosetta, after owning a tablet for at least 12 months, users still preferred a traditional desktop or laptop PC for:
- browsing the web,
- shopping (excluding mobile apps),
- viewing, creating or editing documents, and
- managing personal finances online.
Surprisingly, more tablet users preferred checking email on a traditional PC than on a tablet (36% to 33%). Tablets were the preferred device for doing what you would expect from a mobile device: reading e-books/news, checking email, shopping for mobile apps, visiting social networks and playing games. Users preferred using a smartphone for GPS, listening to music, sending photos and videos to others, chatting, and syncing calendar, contacts and email across devices. Jay Lichtenstein, a partner in Rosetta’s Consulting Practice explains the results of the study:
“By looking at different tablet owners that have owned the device over time and by asking what they did in the beginning versus what they do now, we learned people tend to do a lot more activities in the first one to six months, in what we call the ‘honeymoon phase.’ Interestingly, a tablet was just one of multiple devices our respondents used and after the honeymoon phase and, after that honeymoon was over, they started to prefer their computers over tablets for certain tasks. Examples include video chat, interacting with social networks, managing finances and shopping for products.”
I know exactly what Lichtenstein is talking about. When I first purchased my smartphone, I used it for everything I could use it for — web browsing, checking email, shopping, social networking — but shortly after the honeymoon phase began, I quickly realized I wasn’t getting that full user experience that my laptop has always provided. Previews didn’t display when posting links to social status updates, many mobile websites and website apps were missing features or didn’t provide the fully functional user experience I had gotten used to on my laptop for all those years, and zooming in to read articles gets a little annoying on such a small screen.
PC, Tablet or Smartphone: Every Device Has Its Role
Yes, a smartphone or tablet is going to give you easy access to information, post or check status updates, check email, among other things, but they are increasingly being used as a complement to the desktop or laptop PC, not a replacement. WindowsITPro’s Paul Thurrott explains the “PC plus” reality:
“…PCs aren’t actually going away. In the great debate over “post-PC” (Apple’s term for a future in which phones and tablets supplant PCs) versus “PC plus” (Microsoft’s term for a future in which phones, tablets, and PCs co-exist), we seem to be losing sight of the fact that Microsoft’s vision is the more correct one. And that’s because although PCs might be losing out to more personal devices for consumption activities, we still need to get work done.”
“…tablets are not necessarily the primary devices for a lot of things; instead, it is an add-on (sic) device so you can keep accessing info anywhere.”
Thurrott’s experience aligns with the research conducted by Rosetta:
“When I travel, I listen to music on my phone and I watched rented movies and read eBooks on a small and light tablet. In other words, I use these devices as many people do: as supplemental and complementary side-kicks. But when I need to get actual work done, out comes the PC, with its comfortable and full-sized keyboard, large screen, and full complement of professional productivity applications.”
The PC is More Convenient for Getting Work Done
The PC has remained the more convenient choice, not only for the top 5 activities in the Rosetta study but also for work. Personally, I need my Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, a full-sized keyboard and a large screen. It’s just easier to use a desktop or laptop for those things. And certain applications and software — for work and for play — must be accessed from a PC and can’t be used on a tablet or smartphone. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Thurrott prefers the traditional PC for work:
“More to the point, when it comes to work, PCs rule. And they always will. I’ve spent more time than most investigating various “post-PC” devices…Although they’re fun and interesting in some ways, I still need and prefer traditional PCs, both in the office — where I use a powerful, modern desktop computer — and on the road, where a 15-inch Ultrabook is my machine of choice. “The reason is simple: I actually work, all day long. I don’t just read email, browse the web, and take quick notes at meetings.”
Sure, people can get work done on a mobile device but I can certainly relate to Thurrott, and I think many of us have been in a scenario similar to the one he describes here, whether at work or at home:
“And I think that many reading this, like me, have had that moment when we’ve sat with our hands hovered uncertainly over some other device—tablet, phone, whatever—and have simply gotten up, fished the laptop out of whatever bag it’s stored in, and gotten back to work.”
The PC is sticking around for a while, so it’s best you keep yours in tip-top shape for all the work it’s going to continue to do for you. Raxco’s PC performance software can help you do just that:
- Extend the life of your hard drive or SSD and optimize system performance with PerfectDisk (download a 30-day free trial)
- Restore stability to PC hardware, software and connected devices with driver updates from PerfectUpdater (start a free driver scan)