Tablets vs. PCs - are PCs losing the fight?

Tablets vs. PCs - are PCs losing the fight?

According to a recent study, tablet shipments are expected to grow even more than last year while the PC market is expected to see a negative grow for a second year in a row. If the tendency remains it is expected that by 2015 tablets will have more market share than the entire traditional PC market.

"In my humble opinion, the PC as we have known it is in a continuous decline and being relegated to a utility device for businesses," says Hector Ruiz, the former chief executive of Advanced Micro Devices, a company that makes chips for PCs and other devices.

He is not the only one to think that way. Intel, supplier of the chips in most PCs, and Microsoft, which makes the Windows operating system on most PCs, has delivered disappointing financial results. The once-mighty Dell has also undergone financial instability and is now mired in a struggle with shareholders over a plan to go private, seeking relief from investor pressure. Even Microsoft's Windows 8 could not lift sales; it may have even made them worse.

Talking about Windows 8, there is an interesting tendency. The incumbents in the PC industry - especially Microsoft and Intel, the software-chip duopoly that have the most to lose from the decline of the business - have come up with a solution. They are trying to redefine the PC, making it more tablet-like. That was the idea of Windows 8 - it is designed to be used on touch-screen and if the user feels tired of clicking on the screen, he can easily switch to a classic Windows interface and work with a keyboard and a mouse. Intel, on the other hand, have made their chips more battery power saving, an important requirement for mobile devices.

"What you're going to see over the next few months is a lot more designs from every PC manufacturer," says Adam King, a director of product marketing at Intel.

Hewlett-Packard now makes a notebook using Google's Chrome OS software and a tablet based on Android, Google's mobile operating system. Lenovo, the world's number one seller of PCs, is a big seller of Android smartphones and tablets, especially in China.

Tablets are undoubtedly useful in our lives and are preferred over PCs by many. Their friendly interface and mobility are only two of their best features. Steve P. Jobs, the Apple chief executive who died in 2011, predicted several years ago that PCs would become something like trucks, workhorses used by many people but outnumbered by tablets, the cars of the technology business.

The end of the PC era is highly improbable. At least that is what most users think. Judging by the comments on the topic, most people believe that PCs will not be replaced. It is common sense that most Internet users do not have technical skills and do not need to perform complex tasks on their computers. They just need a device to check their Facebook or Twitter profiles, or simply read through news articles. These people are the higher percent of the internet users, so it is no surprise that the use of tablets has increased that much - most people just do not need complex machines like the PCs. However, there are those specialists who would always choose PCs before tablets because of their functionality. Tablets will most likely never be able to satisfy spreadsheet masters, film editors and other workers who depend on multiple screens and the precision of a keyboard and a mouse. PCs are also more secure - tablets are not (if they will ever be) more secure and protected from malware.

Even if tablets reach the functional level of PCs, they will hardly ever replace PCs. It is more likely that after a while people will have both and depending on their job will utilize one particular piece of equipment.

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