Are Desktops Dying Out?

In the world of tablet computers, smart phones and ultra-light laptops; for many of us it’s difficult to fathom the idea of a desktop computer. The pioneering systems were once the only option to those wanting to use computers, but they’ve since become only staple appliances in schools, offices and the workplace. Home users have enjoyed the shift towards more mobile forms of computing, with a number of people moving away from desktops altogether. Whilst it’s certainly true that they lack the portability of their smaller rivals, there is a lot of life left in them and they still stand head and shoulders above the competition in some respects.

Statistics

Studies published late last year showed a 2.4% decline on the sales of PCs as a whole across West Europe, when compared to the same quarter a year previously. Dissect these findings and it becomes apparent that desktop computers have experienced a year on year decline of almost 13%, whilst laptops and netbooks enjoyed a 4% rise.

Many believe that desktop computers are in their dying throes, but like a cornered animal they still hold an immense amount of power. It’s almost unheard of for avid gamers to use laptops, even rarer still for the modern office to be kitted out with netbooks and tablets in place of the traditional desktop. When it comes to usability for long periods of time, desktops certainly still hold the top spot.

Pros and Cons of Desktops

Designed to be used at a desk, unsurprisingly, these types of PC are far more suitable for the working day. Separate mice and keyboards help to spread the working space over a wider area, whilst monitors also enable a working position further from the screen to lessen the strain on vision. Desktops continue to be more economical than their corresponding-spec laptops, coming in at a much cheaper cost as they use more traditional components which have lowered in price in light of the new demand for slim line and micro components. Desktop PCs are also much more future-proof than their mobile competition, with components easier to remove and upgrade. Those choosing to do their computing on tablet PCs and smart phones are likely forced to wait for the next model, rather than being able to upgrade individual components. Whilst owners of laptops and netbooks can, in some respect, upgrade individual parts; they will find it a much more expensive process.

Pros and Cons of Mobiles

However, it cannot be said that mobile computing doesn’t come with its own arsenal of advantages. With the modern connected world, working in a solitary position is nigh on impossible for many of those in business. The ability to work and travel simultaneously is a requisite to the high-octane jobs in the 21st century. Whether this means attending a video meeting whilst on the train, a conference call on your walk through the city or simply being able to check your spread sheets or use something as simple as a taxi app; mobile computing is unparalleled in its flexibility. Laptops being a standalone system in themselves make it easy to carry them around, without the need for peripherals. A previous disadvantage of mobile computing was their inherent lowered function when not connected to the internet, but as we move to a wider online world; where Wi-Fi is on every street corner and 4G airways; this problem is dwindling. Cloud storage and online sharing has become such an important facet of modern computing society, that the ability to access and work on your files from anywhere with an internet connection is quickly becoming a huge tick in the mobile computing box.

Both types of computing are now in a transition period, inspired by mobile devices, towards apps rather than programs. The traditional programs are downloaded and installed from a number of external sources, but apps are generally all accessed from a single provider (Google Play Store, Apple’s App Store). It’s a common misconception that these desirable and functional apps are a mobile function alone, which simply isn’t true.

In ultimatum, there cannot be a stone cold winner in the war between desktops and mobile computers. The decision comes down to the needs of the individual, whether they be through flexibility, ease-of-use, future-proofing or comfort. Each type wins its individual battles, but the jury is still out on whether one will dominate the other in the long term.

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Paul

Digital Poet at BurnWorld Inc.

I am the Team Leader here at BurnWorld. I am an audio/video enthusiast and have been in this industry for over 10 years. I love testing DVD/Blu-Ray and Video software.


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