Why the PC won’t die any time soon

pcRead the latest global PC sales figures from market analyst IDC and it sounds pretty gloomy – a first quarter 2013 result that saw a 14% drop compared with the same period in 2012.

It doesn’t sound great – but the thing to remember is these are sales of new PCs: the hundreds of millions of PCs already in the hands of users don’t automatically cease to exist.

Sure, sales of smartphones and tablets are climbing but they are not going to replace the PC any time soon.

This is my 25th year as a professional IT journo and in that time I’ve tested over 2000 desktops, servers and notebooks – I’ve pretty much seen every category that’s existed.

In the last four or five years, I’ve seen plenty of smartphones and tablets as well – and the one thing I’m convinced of is that the PC runs rings around the newcomers for actual content-creation speed.

While there are plenty of quad-core smartphones and tablets now getting around, there’s a huge difference between a quad-core ARM Cortex A9 chip inside a tablet and a quad-core Core i5 3570K desktop CPU. Doesn’t even bear thinking about.

Where tablets and smartphones win is convenient portability and consuming content. But for actual app development and content-creation, a tablet isn’t going to come close to matching features and performance.

So yep, the world is changing. But PCs aren’t dead yet – not by a long shot.

And with Windows 8.1 and new Intel Haswell processors to arrive before the end of the year, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion the pendulum might just start swinging back the other way again.

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