I laugh every time I read articles about how tablet computing is spelling the end for the traditional desktop PC and even the laptop computer.
Admittedly, tablets are growing in popularity. I actually bought one a few months back, an HP TouchPad, which as you may remember was introduced and promptly pulled from production about a week after it’s launch. This dropped the price, and I was able to recently pick one up for $200. While I like it, it’s never going to fully replace the PC and laptop that I also have at home.
But, that’s not why I say that PCs and laptops won’t die.
The reason is more simple:
Many of you work in an office, right? I do.
On every desk there is either a desktop computer or a docking station for a laptop.
There are many people that walk around with tablets, and I believe a few really progressive types have ditched their desktop or laptop, but I’d say that number is probably about 1%.
Our office has roughly 300 people, which means that 3 people have ditched their laptop or desktop.
Meaning that 297 have not and are still using them.
The fact remains that while tablet computing is great for people on the go, and it is great for apps and browsing, many people at spend eight hours (or more) per day at work cannot achieve the same productivity on a tablet as you can with a desktop or laptop.
At least not without paying significantly more.
Yes, you can purchase better keyboards and likely can get external mice and bigger displays for a tablet that can bring the efficiency that tablet computing can’t offer when it comes to word processing or working with spreadsheets, but at that point, a fully loaded desktop or laptop is still much cheaper.
And most businesses are still about making money, and one way of doing that is to keep costs down.
I’m sure there are companies out there that may consider loading up their employees with tablets and ditching the desktops and laptops altogether, but either they are going to pay a bundle in ‘extras’ to make sure that their employees can work more efficiently, or they will see a drop in productivity.
My guess is that number would probably rival the 1% or so tying back to the people in our office who have ditched their PC / laptop altogether.
In other words, there is no direct threat to shut down operations for companies in the desktop and laptop business. Not that I can see.
Now, if I’m an investor, I do see limited growth in those areas. I might not be buying up thousands of shares of Dell as would have been a good idea in the 1990’s, but if I already owned them, I wouldn’t be worried about them heading to zero, either.
What do you think? Will tablets take over the world or will desktops and laptops be around for the foreseeable future?
Disclosure: I own no stock of any company mentioned here.