Will Tablets Replace PC’s over the Next Decade?

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The pace of technological change has quickened in our society over the past decade alone. Conventional thinking has generally posited that twenty years, or the span of a single generation, was the prescribed time necessary for a new technology to sweep the nation and become ingrained in our daily lives as accepted by all.  Radio and television, as well as the personal computer, have followed this general rule, but “the times, they are a’changing”.

Flat screen TV’s and HDTV swept the globe in a matter of five years, causing massive disruption in retail electronic consumer outlets.  A similar revolution is “at play” in the computer industry, ignited by Apple’s successful launch of its iPad in calendar 2010. Over seventeen million of these innovative “tablets” were bought and sold during the year without the slightest hint of competition from the rear guard.  However, 2011 has witnessed the announcement and delivery of more than twenty new tablet models, each seeking its unique share of this burgeoning market in electronic convenience.

In the same timeframe, global sales on PCs are on the downtrend, showing a 1.1% decline, the first such decline recorded in over six quarters of positive growth figures.  It is no surprise that the major PC distributors are now offering tablet versions of their own in light of these negative PC statistics that have been attributed to the success of “wild west” tablet market.

Are we witnessing the demise of the PC?  Will it pass into oblivion over the next ten years?  As national TV spots advise, these new tablets are the epitome for convenience and flexibility in today’s electronic age.  As your finger directs the activities at hand, you can read a book or dabble in the stock market, while keeping track of your stock portfolio or collection of favorite pictures.  How many multiples of “17 million” will it take to replace our handy PC’s and laptops?

This type of debate will unfortunately be with us for some time to come.  A similar discussion has been going on for the past decade regarding whether PC gaming is dead, driven into the ground by more specialized gaming consoles.  That debate continues, with market shares for each product type displaying healthy stats within the context of the overall gaming industry.  “To each, his own” is the mantra that holds here, and it will most likely hold for PC’s as well versus their tablet competitors.

This conclusion does not suggest that the road ahead will not be rocky.  Docking stations will appear that tie your iPad and iphone or other mobile gadgets to your laptop for easy backup and coordination of emails and files.  A host of new product features will attempt to leverage off the weaknesses of other brands, and after a decade of volatility, individual market shares will emerge at some form of equilibrium.

However, by that time, a newer technology will have created a better mode of distribution, and the race will be on, again.


Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

Meet Vishal Gaikar, the tech wizard hailing from Pune, India, who's on a mission to decode the digital universe one blog post at a time. When he's not tinkering with gadgets or diving deep into the digital realm, you can find him concocting the perfect cup of chai or plotting his next adventure. Follow his tech escapades on Twitter and buckle up for a wild ride through the world of innovation and geekery!

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