I finally understand some the hype around tablet devices. I gave a tablet and received one during the holidays and Iíve been attached at the hip with mine ever since. However, hour for hour, I still spend more time at and do more with my PC and use the tablet as a supplement.
Between setting up two tablets and one new PC in the past month, Iíve discovered I hate touchscreens and Iím still waiting for someone to tell me why Windows 8 is a good idea. It takes me three or four times as long to type anything onto tiny tablet touchscreens and typos run rampant. I sometimes have to tap commands two or three times on the tablets and I canít find any familiar menus on Windows 8, so the PC is running with minimum efficiency at the moment.
Iím not at all surprised that PC sales dropped in Q4.
IDC reports worldwide PC shipments totaled 89.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 6.4 percent compared to the same quarter in 2011 and worse than the forecast decline of 4.4 percent. The analyst attributes the drop, in part, to unmet expectations of newer, cooler PCs and features. I disagree -- the PC I bought in December has a bigger screen, a sleeker look, and is more lightweight than anything Iíve owned in the past, and it cost the same as an iPad mini. Too bad I gave up in frustration from customizing it. (For a different perspective, see Year of the Phablets.)
Hereís some additional analysis from IDC:
Although the quarter marked the beginning of a new stage in the PC industry with the launch of Windows 8, its impact did not quickly change recently sluggish PC demand, and the PC market continued to take a back seat to competing devices and sustained economic woes. As a result, the fourth quarter of 2012 marked the first time in more than five years that the PC market has seen a year-on-year decline during the holiday season.
The lackluster fourth quarter results were not entirely surprising given the spate of challenges the PC market faced over the course of 2012. IDC had expected the second half of 2012 to be difficult. Consumers as well as PC vendors and distribution channels continued to be diverted from PC sales by ongoing demand for tablets and smartphones. In addition, questions about the use of touch on Windows PCs vs. tablets slowed commercial spending on PCs.
"Although the third quarter was focused on the clearing of Windows 7 inventory, preliminary research indicates the clearance did not significantly boost the uptake of Windows 8 systems in Q4," said Jay Chou, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "Lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, vendors have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable and efficient user experience. As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as Ultrabook pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013."
I donít think the PC vs. tablet choice is an either/or decision. Pricing has enabled consumers to own both -- and then some. Tablets are still not as good as PCs for a lot of things (including writing). Iím certain some consumers that would have bought a PC last year opted for a tablet, but they are using the tablet for what itís meant for: entertainment and mobile communications. There is still a huge base of PC users who donít want their PCs to look and act like a smartphone or tablet.
I think the PC/tablet/smartphone market is pushing a convergence users arenít ready for. I donít want a touch-centric PC and even if Windows 8 was easy to use, Iíd still resist it as a touch-only interface. I understand Windowsís desire for a single platform for phones, tablets, and PCs, but it doesnít have to cater only to touch. If the PC market is resting its hopes on the maturation of Windows 8 to spur future sales -- as IDC suggests -- then indeed it will be facing a tough market through 2013.
Could it be that Pc manufacturers are feeling too comfortable that the present tablets can,t yet do without it. I mean to say that no tablet yet can handle all our tasks the way pc handles different tasks. Are tablets manufacturers planning to take over completely or prefer running their products alongside woth pc
I agree that the tablet will not supplant the PC but more and more people are dotting them around their home and workplace as tools of convenience. Being able to fire up in a second and get access to the web instantly is a real boon when arguing with your partner over the name of an actor in a movie etc.
Great discussion going on here! I thought I was the only one who is not a fan of touch screens. I spent some time this weekend playing with our two tablets and I still can't envision using the tablets beyond a supplement to a PC. The projection keyboard and screen is a good idea and will certainly help if tablets increasingly are used for business.
That said, I'll confess--my tablet is a Kindle and I love it. My tablet-owning husband and laptop owning son also prefer the Kindle. I thought I was safe choosing the least expensive device for myself but my son keeps hijacking the Kindle. One reason is the content availability and the ease of purchase/download. Amazon has convinced me a business model built on taking a loss on hardware in favor of selling content is a winner.
>>Therefore, a compromise on the feature set is inevitable. That is really the gist of the discussion I think.<<
You are right about that - tablet features vs desktop/laptop features. The more the features like more storage space on tablet would certainly impact on its battery life, and perhaps internal processing tools.
"I can imagine I would just bring my tablet to work, hook up bigger display, keyboard, and mouse and whoop I would have a PC system."
As I tried to explain in my previous post, the issue hereis not as simple as the plugging you have mentioned. It's about USB connectivity and the required software driver support which has reached quite a mature level in Windows and Linux for the type of work I have mentioned. You also have the issue of limited data storage and RAM support on tablets. Tablets are designed to be power efficient, small and lightweight by definition. Therefore, a compromise on the feature set is inevitable. That is really the gist of the discussion I think.
Soon, tablets will have projection keyboard (alongwith projector) and consumer will have option to use virtual keyboard or projection keyboard.
@_hm, virtual keyboard and projection keyboard is very interesting idea but I don't think it can ever replace the feel the hardware keyboard and realtime LCD/LED monitors. Many of us are accustomed to feel of the hardware keyboard's but its hard to get the same feel using virtual keyboard.
I can imagine I would just bring my tablet to work, hook up bigger display, keyboard, and mouse and whoop I would have a PC system.
@t.alex, again you are converting your tablet into Desktop. This clearly shows that tablets will be more useful for browsing the internet, checking mails, playing games etc. Finally professional have to use PC/Laptop/Notebook to do their job.
Tablets are still not as good as PCs for a lot of things (including writing).
@Barbara, I totally agree with you. We can't use tablets for computational intensive jobs. Moreover efficiency of doing work on Desktops/Laptop's is far greater because we can easily type and browse in Desktop/Laptops.
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