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PC Market Could Return To Growth in 2019 (betanews.com) 94

IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker offers new insight as to why the firm believes the PC market is set for a growth period a few years from now. From a report: Detachable tablets such as Microsoft's Surface line and Apple's iPad Pro will lead the growth as consumers have turned away from laptops in favor of these more versatile computing devices. Last year, 21.5 million of these devices were shipped and the number of units sold could reach as high as 45.9 million in 2021. Notebook computers and mobile workstations are another category that will see continued growth with shipments rising from 156.8 million units in 2016 to 163.7 million by the year 2021. Desktop computers are still decreasing in popularity and that trend is likely to continue with their sales predicted to decrease by 15 million a year leading up to 2021.
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PC Market Could Return To Growth in 2019

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  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @09:04AM (#54510367) Homepage Journal
    The Surface is going to start selling? Give me a break.
    • unicorn ranches report a record year, after changing their feed delivery system of rainbows and good wishes to use flying pigs to refill the golden troughs.

    • Yes they have made billions in revenue for Microsoft already ... outside of slashdot of course.

  • Orrrr... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CODiNE ( 27417 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @09:08AM (#54510387) Homepage

    With actual improvements in recent desktop CPUs people might see a reason to upgrade again.

    • Well this is return of growth, I doubt that it will reach its heyday of the early 2000's. However we are no longer looking for the PC to be a Personal Computer but more as a Personal Work Station, where Power Usage isn't the limiting factor. Tables, Convertible Laptops, Ultabooks, netbooks.... Are all tied to trying to have long enough battery life, and are small and light. For most home and personal use, this is a good trade off. As normal jobs on our personal computing devices. Don't require have proc

      • If work is for the office, and battery power is for viewing things made by others, where does this leave people who do work while riding a bus, train, or airplane? For example, while commuting to and from my day job on the city bus, I work on my second job, which is work-from-home contract programming. And I prefer a smaller laptop because it's easier to carry than a 17" monster.

        • I am not following you. You can use lower powered systems for serious data processing work too. However the point of the article is the growth of the PC. And my point is that it won't be as big as it was, but there is still a need to use it. If you need a small laptop, with has more power than a tablet. That is fine...
          We still have Mainframes in operation today, it isn't like a new technology will kill off an older established one any time soon. However sometimes we need or could take advantage of more po

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            I agree with the point of your post that heavy duty computing is better on a desktop. But:

            If you need a small laptop, with has more power than a tablet. That is fine...

            Until companies that make small laptops stop making small laptops [slashdot.org].

            So you are doing some development and a laptop with a small 13" screen which is light and portable, can be a benefit to you.

            I prefer even smaller than 13", which is hard to find warranted nowadays without going all the way down to detachable tablets.

            • > Until companies that make small laptops stop making small laptops.

              Dell disagrees. 329.99 pesos^H^H^H^H^H Canadian dollars (approx $250 US) for an Inspiron 11 3000 with 4 gigs of RAM. http://www.dell.com/ca/p/inspi... [dell.com]

              1366x768 11.6 inc screen is OK. The 32 gig eMMC drive may suck for capacity, but is reasonably safe from damage when the bus is travelling on a bumpy road. At home, plug in an external USB hard drive to a USB port (2.0 or 3.0). Or use a USB key. 256 gig keys are reasonably priced nowadays.

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      I'm not sure that is the case - what tasks are you using your PC for that are still CPU bound? I'm using an i5-3570k and the reason I haven't upgraded is simply that nothing I do makes the CPU feel slow.
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        what tasks are you using your PC for that are still CPU bound?

        The dozens of tracking scripts that load whenever I visit certain websites whose anti-adblock is deliberately incompatible with Firefox Tracking Protection.

        The scripts in the web versions of Twitter, Skype, and Discord are sometimes laggy as well.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      There are basically 3 types of users. Gamers, pro-users and end-users. The last one is the largest group. The first two already use desktops.

      Why would the last group need a PC if they already have a portable. From what I see with friends that are end-users I see various things
      1) Storage. Can be solved with an external SSD or HD or in exceptional cases a NAS.
      2) Bigger screen
      3) Mouse and keyboard.

      If you add those three things, you have a (cheap) PC. And those I would already call heavy users. Most would be ok

  • Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOKociU8t_Q
  • So why the freakin' Android icon for this thread? Fanboy much?

    Android and iOS are not Personal Computers. Windows, macOS, Linux, BSD, etc are what makes a real computer.

    I'd pick a Raspberry Pi 3 running Linux over an iPad.

    • Android and iOS are not Personal Computers. Windows, macOS, Linux, BSD, etc are what makes a real computer.

      To me, a "personal computer" is a device where the person who owns it controls what computing is done. By this definition, I agree with you about an iOS device not paired to a Mac. But once the AIDE app [android-ide.com] is installed on an Android device, it can edit, compile, and run applications from source without the help of any other computer. So how is a tablet running Android 6 or 7 any less of a personal computer than a laptop running FreeBSD 11, Xubuntu 16.04, or Windows 10?

  • Detachable tablets such as Microsoft's Surface line and Apple's iPad Pro will lead the growth as consumers have turned away from laptops in favor of these more versatile computing devices.

    Surface Pro perhaps. But I don't see how an iPad Pro, constrained by the App Store Review Guidelines [pineight.com], is "more versatile" than a PC that can run anything. In particular, the ban on time-limited free trials has hindered ports of applications from macOS to iOS [theverge.com]. And even if you stick to free [gnu.org] applications, it'll cost you $499 extra if you want to be able to compile them from source because loading applications onto an iPad Pro requires a Mac, which starts at $499 [apple.com].

  • The Versatile Idiot. (Score:4, Informative)

    by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @09:31AM (#54510563)

    How the hell is a tablet or other "smart" device with it's nifty camera and bucket o' apps more versatile than a laptop running a full operating system that has the capability of actually installing software packages from hundreds of different vendors and can be customized considerably more from both the software and hardware standpoint?

    I think the only thing we're becoming more versatile at doing is accepting the fact that consumers have become idiots when it comes to technology, and even a full-fledged operating system is too complex for them to operate.

    Not to mention the fact that consumers apparently love pissing money away replacing their hardware every 2-3 years, which is what the "smart" market dictates. That's really the part that chaps my ass the most. Running hardware for a decade to maximize useful life is practically illegal now. And yet we bitch about filling landfills.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @09:56AM (#54510741)

      ...consumers have become idiots when it comes to technology, and even a full-fledged operating system is too complex for them to operate.

      Oh, that is absolutely true. Computer user since 1971 here (not on any PC class device at the time). I am constantly dismayed in the modern era when I try to give very simple instructions to someone and they look at me like I'm speaking Martian. I'm not talking about things only a programmer might know, I'm talking about basic operation of the device.

      "Move file A into directory B" -> "Huh? Wuzzat mean? Where's the icon to do that?"

      That's the normal level now. Things have been so targeted to the LCD that most users simply cannot do anything which doesn't already have an icon for them to push. General purpose computation device? Not so much.

      That means to them, a computer is merely a device to get onto Twitter and Instagram. That's it. They see no functional difference between a powerful desktop and a tablet, except that the desktop is bigger and more cumbersome. Hence there is a large consumer movement toward "curated" experiences.

      At this rate of change, in another 10 years I fear general computing will be dead in the consumer space. Maybe even illegal, since it gives too much control to the end user. The genie has to be put back in the bottle, and consumers are playing right along.

      • Good post! Should've signed in.
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        At this rate of change, in another 10 years I fear general computing will be dead in the consumer space. Maybe even illegal, since it gives too much control to the end user.

        How would banning general-purpose computers fail to interfere with AP Computer Science, Code.org, and other efforts to train the next generation of coders?

      • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @10:52AM (#54511261) Homepage

        Isn't that the way it should be? Do the end users need to know how the sausage is made? Most people aren't involved in the computer industry and just want to get a job done, and computers assist in getting the job done. Any time spent mucking about with the OS is time wasted, and a good OS design would be for the user to not have to interact with the OS at all.

        It's not a matter of control and government conspiracies or whatever that last sentence was about. It's about users being willing to give up customization they don't care about to have a more efficient experience. Personally I can't wait until ubiquitous Amazon Echo-type devices make even cell phone screens a bit unnecessary.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          in another 10 years I fear general computing will be dead in the consumer space. Maybe even illegal

          Isn't that the way it should be? Do the end users need to know how the sausage is made?

          Why should it be illegal for someone to learn to make his own sausage from locally raised beef or pork?

          Personally I can't wait until ubiquitous Amazon Echo-type devices make even cell phone screens a bit unnecessary.

          Ubiquitous voice control would only let strangers overhear everything you do with your computing device.

        • ...It's about users being willing to give up customization they don't care about to have a more efficient experience.

          Speaking of what people don't care about, in exchange for a little efficiency they're giving up control and destroying every shred of privacy with it. This is what people are actually giving up, so let's drop the sales pitch already.

          It would be a different argument if next-gen technology were not doing this, but that is not the case, and it never will be. The profit genie is out of the bottle, and monetizing your digital soul is the way business is done today, whether you like it or not.

          Personally I can't wait until ubiquitous Amazon Echo-type devices make even cell phone screens a bit unnecessary.

          Well, at least yo

    • How the hell is a tablet or other "smart" device with it's nifty camera and bucket o' apps more versatile than a laptop running a full operating system that has the capability of actually installing software packages from hundreds of different vendors and can be customized considerably more from both the software and hardware standpoint?

      Versatility in what it's capable of running is only one small part of the adjective "versatile".

      Right now my tablet is far more versatile than my laptop because I'm about to go downstairs and sit at the hotel bar and I'll be damned if I'm going to lug that down there with me. It's just not "versatile" enough for that.

      • My tablet is certainly more portable than my laptop, but not more versatile. Maybe in some situations the portability is more important to me. But in many cases, I'll wait until I get back to my laptop/desktop so I can take advantage of its superior versatility.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      Personal computer 'consumers' have always been luddites and it got worst once Windows 95 shipped and vendors were forced to leave the desktop to Microsoft's whims. People loved the Mac UI mostly because it made sense and had consistency to it and Windows has next to no consistency and has had massive UI chances with every release. People are afraid of the Windows computer and they learn mouse click sequences instead of action methods which could be applied in a generalized way.

      So, yes, consumers have beco
      • ...for replacing computer hardware every 2-3 years that too is mostly a Microsoft Windows thing. The Windows registry bloat, file system fragmentation, system library migrations effecting installed applications, and lets not forget the need for virus protection looking at every bit and byte moving around inside the OS and the horrible Windows Update system. They replace the computer to start fresh.

        I was actually referring to the real limitations forcing users to replace computing devices every 2-3 years; non-removable batteries and vendor support. This of course is by design to maximize revenue.

        And for that reason, we should expect this hardware longevity trend to continue. If the battery starts lasting longer, then vendors will simply stop pushing firmware or security updates and make the device "outdated" in order to maximize revenue.

        Here's a good example. I bought one of those "smart" Blu-Ray

  • ... Microsoft's Surface line and Apple's iPad Pro will lead the growth as consumers have turned away from laptops in favor of these more versatile computing devices. ...

    I find the tablet form factor to be far more restrictive and more difficult to use than a laptop. The only things the tablet has in its favor are smaller size and a coolness factor. Aside from that, it is more difficult to enter data into a tablet, multitasking is difficult (if not impossible), you are locked in to a difficult-to-change configuration, etc.

    .
    I have a tablet, and it sits idle most of the time, while my laptop gets used frequently.

    • Aside from that, it is more difficult to enter data into a tablet

      It depends on what kind of data. Wacom makes good money on it being easier to enter arbitrary curves in the unit square into a tablet.

      multitasking is difficult (if not impossible)

      Android has long supported a multitasking execution model, albeit with an "all maximized all the time" window management policy. If by "multitasking" you meant "multi-window", I largely agree. But Samsung's branch of Android has supported split-screen display since fairly early iterations of the Galaxy Note, though applications have to explicitly opt into split-screen using S

  • What we need is more progress on the CPU front. AMD has 16-core processors but nothing similar on Intel's side. If only they could come up with a "Core i9" or something.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Desktop computers are still decreasing in popularity and that trend is likely to continue with their sales predicted to decrease by 15 million a year leading up to 2021.

    That matches what I see in local friends. They don't want desktop PCs. At all.

    That's sad because eventually there won't be enough market to sustain it without parts becoming very expensive, like they used to be before PCs became a consumer level device.

    And that's sad because desktop PCs are the only decent gaming platform. Laptops and tablets don't have the grunt, and anyway the screens are too small. Consoles are DRMed out the ass, locked down spyware platforms with horrible controllers compared to kbd

    • There's enough of an enthusiast segment to support that market. Prices may go up a bit, but not to the point of putting it out of reach. Just look at other specialized pursuits like auto racing and such where the vast majority of the general populace doesn't by the parts but enthusiasts do.

      Personally, even outside of gaming I doubt I'll ever give up my desktop. Granted, I've got a laptop too for my portable needs, but when I'm at home I can't STAND the laptop form factor to the point that when my desktop

  • We just saw in the other thread, Microsoft has started calling tablets without cover, without keyboards as "laptops". So no matter what, we would call what sells well as laptops and that would get laptop market segment to grow.

    Well, at least it will be reported as growth to the stock market, and the flurry of trades will be enough for these executives to dump their stock options and return normal state from the excited state.

  • As always... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @10:10AM (#54510873)

    Organizations like Gartner and IDC can provide data about the past and the present. When they start claiming they have any insight into the future whatsoever, ignore them. Their track record for predicting things is either unimpressive (predicting the obvious) to hilariously incorrect (any time they project a hyped technologieshttps://apple.slashdot.org/story/17/05/29/1613217/pc-market-could-return-to-growth-in-2019# future).

  • Have I missed something? I don't get it.

"Spock, did you see the looks on their faces?" "Yes, Captain, a sort of vacant contentment."

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