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Portables Hardware Technology

Half a Billion PCs To Ship In 2013, As Desktops and Laptops Dip But Tablets Grow 223

Posted by Soulskill
from the should-keep-the-lights-on-for-another-year dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The PC market (desktops, notebooks, and tablets) is expected to see almost half a billion units ship this year, 493.1 million to be exact, representing 7 percent year-on-year growth. Unsurprisingly, the key driver behind this growth will be tablets, accounting for 37 percent of the overall market and seeing 59 percent growth to 182.5 million units. The latest estimates come from Canalys, an independent analyst firm. Nevertheless, it's worth emphasizing that these are estimates, though they do line up with what the broader industry is seeing: desktops are down, laptops are down, but tablets are up."
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Half a Billion PCs To Ship In 2013, As Desktops and Laptops Dip But Tablets Grow

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  • by telchine (719345) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @07:16AM (#43983669)

    And who said PCs are dying? Easy to solve that problem...

    All we need to do is redefine what a PC is (desktops, notebooks, and tablets)!

    Problem Solved!

    Simples!

    • by Spottywot (1910658) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @07:33AM (#43983799)
      Exactly, tablets are replacing casual users devices and in some cases portable devices for professionals. As for desktops, even enthusiasts have no compelling reason to upgrade from sandy/ivy bridge or their AMD platform of choice(I'm not so up on the latest AMD stuff, Phenom x4 was my last one.) PCs in what ever firm they take are not dying. Some PC companies with outdated business models maybe, PCs themselves, no.
      • by loufoque (1400831)

        There are lots of reasons to upgrade to sandy bridge. That processor is a marvel of engineering.

      • Are existing pcs still going to hand around for a few years more because they are good enough already? Sure. I wouldn't want to have a job in pc support though. A declining market and supporting increasingly more obsolete machines. With no pressure for pay raises. Dead end.

    • by InvalidError (771317) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @07:40AM (#43983849)

      Every time they say "the PC is dying", they conveniently neglect to specify form factors.

      Few people need the encumberment and expansion potential of traditional 'tower' form factor so an increasingly large chunk of the market will be looking at non-traditional form factors for their next PC. Also, since there hasn't been much performance improvements on CPUs over the past four years, most people who already own a tower or laptop have little to no reason to upgrade those and choose to get tablets instead for convenience.

      Based on the proliferation of touch-enabled LCDs with embedded PCs, it seems like the old Tablet-PC concept that miserably failed about 10 years ago is coming back to life with a vengeance... if it gets priced right on this round.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        About a 2.4X improvement actually (http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7+860+%40+2.80GHz) at the same clock newer i7s are much faster. That said I think the thing is most people are disk I/O limited they feel the lag between clicking open to when the app pops up the rest of things (other than say transcoding and other niche users like developers) the delay in their thought/typing is more of the slow down than the speed of response of the app. The problem is SSDs are expensive so most people

        • by polar red (215081) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @08:08AM (#43984037)

          boot device : small ssd, second disk : traditional platters.

        • Most of that "2.4X" comes from being quad-core with HT instead of a plain dual core. That does not help much with today's still mostly lightly threaded desktop apps. Yes, modern apps often have 20-150 threads but 90-99% of CPU load is often generated by a single thread in that lot since the other threads are mostly from application framework and API background stuff.

          I still use good old HDDs for boot and storage - I only reboot my PC about once a month and rarely close programs after launching them so boot/

        • About a 2.4X improvement actually (http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7+860+%40+2.80GHz) at the same clock newer i7s are much faster. That said I think the thing is most people are disk I/O limited they feel the lag between clicking open to when the app pops up the rest of things (other than say transcoding and other niche users like developers) the delay in their thought/typing is more of the slow down than the speed of response of the app. The problem is SSDs are expensive so most people don't want to buy them. They'll turn you $500 walmart special into a $2000 beast by the time you get 1.5TB or so of SSD into it. Sadly most users are used to fairly powerful desktop computers costing the price of a decent tablet so getting them to cough up 4X in order to fix the IO issue and have the storage they are used to (and probably have filled already on their old box) is a hard sell.

          Fair point about the IO but the link compares to the 860, not to sandy bridge chips. Now I'm not saying Haswell isn't faster than SB but just that apart from some specialist situations, no compelling reason.

      • The tablet pc concept failed a decade ago and it's failing again now. Tablets are not just form factor, they are also software. Both mobile specific UIs and the lower power requirements of mobile OSs are what's making the iPad and it's copycats successful.

    • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @07:52AM (#43983927)

      True but I'll never give up my PC/Desktop. Laptops are still underpowered for what you pay and no where near as upgradable. Plus the keyboards are crap generally with most smaller than standard (and I could actually use larger than standard if it was readily available).I end up docking the thing, attaching an external monitor, and external keyboard and mouse. They have their uses but when I'm sitting at a desk, ie ~9hrs a day at work and another couple at home I'd rather have something that wasn't specifically designed for portability over functionality.

      • by tompaulco (629533)
        I Agree. At home, I have a Desktop PC. 3700k i7 Processor, 30" IPS monitor, SSD boot drive. I have no desire to use a laptop and especially not a tablet at home. At work, I have to use a laptop because they want us to take it home every day so they can get 24 hours of work out of us. At work I never use the laptop just as it is. I have it hooked up to an external monitor, external keyboard, external mouse. I do most of my viewing on the external screen. The laptop is essentially just a CPU, memory and disk
        • That is exactly the reason why I discount the portability of laptops: if I had it and used it I'd be docked. If I wasn't docked I'd feel very handicapped and just feel like I'm wasting my time fighting with a crappy interface rather than just waiting till I got to the office/home and using my 27" iMac setup or dual 24"s at work. Tablets are the same way for me. I have an iPad and just use it to watch TV on my ride into work. I don't ever use it to create anything.

    • by c (8461)

      All we need to do is redefine what a PC is (desktops, notebooks, and tablets)!

      Exactly. I was under the impression that tablets were being counted under "mobile devices", mostly because of the Android/iOS platforms, with the tablet PC's being called "slates" for some reason. Admittedly, if you have someone starting to sell Android PC's the distinctions get a bit weird. And 10" Android tablets with attachable keyboard docks versus 10" Win8 tablets with attachable keyboard docks.

      Er...

      Actually, I think I'm star

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        The definitions don't get weird unless you are confused into thinking that tablets, smartphones, pdas, game consoles, etc, are something different than a PC with a different choice of software/peripherals.
    • The Term PC has been redefined many many times over.

      PC Stands for Personal Computer.
      originally was was to differentiate from expensive mainframes where they would share processing. But a computer you can buy and own yourself at home. Those covered a big range including Atari, Apple, IBM, TI, Commodore... You had a PC, But it might be an IBM PC or an IBM Compatible PC. Or an Apple PC or a Macintosh PC...

      The Intel x86 (IBM and IBM Compatibles PC's which were called at the time) got market dominance. When y

      • by tepples (727027)

        Now we have smartphone and tablet coming to the market, which have moved PC to include Non Windows running systems, including Macs. However excludes light weight systems such as tables.
        Now Tablets are getting more powerful so they may be adding the PC list.

        I agree with you that a desktop, laptop, or tablet computer running Windows (for x86 or x86-64), Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, or Android is a personal computer. An iPad not so much because the "person" who owns an iPad lacks control of what "computing" is done on it without buying an additional Mac and paying a substantial annual fee. (I say "additional" because the majority of PCs in use aren't Macs.) Out of the box, the owner is forced to delegate this control to Apple.

        The biggest distinction in practice betwe

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      What they are calling a "tablet" is a convertible X86 which I'm sorry but that IS a PC. It runs on X86, uses X86 OSes, its just in a different form factor. if you wanted to get that pedantic we'd need separate categories for all in ones, carputers, mini PCs, etc.

      As for the whole retarded "The PC is dying ZOMFG!" lets get one thing straight okay? Does everyone say "ZOMFG the housing market is dying, nobody will buy teh houses ever again!" because the housing BUBBLE burst? of course not, that would be stupid.

      • I have YET to meet a single person that has gotten rid of their PCs for a [expletive] tablet

        And I have yet to meet another regular user of a home theater PC within the sample set of my extended family. But as you're aware, that doesn't mean they don't exist, just as the lack of people switching from PC to iPad among your sample set doesn't mean people like this [notalwaysright.com] don't exist:

        My daughter told me that if I bring in my old computer and my printer, I can trade my computer for an iPad, and you’ll set it up with my printer.

  • Geek Savior (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @07:34AM (#43983803)
    Millions of geeks saddled with supporting family and friends who have no business getting near a general purpose computer, celebrate the advent of tablets for browsing/email/casual gaming.
    • by WillAdams (45638) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @08:22AM (#43984131) Homepage

      Yes, but I'm also saddened for a generation of kids who grow up interacting w/ computers to only consume media, not to create.

      Steve Jobs put forth that computers were ``bicycles for the mind'' [1] --- but this switch to tablets is taking general purpose computers out of the hands of our kids and replacing it w/ an interactive TV. While there have been some web mentionings of it [2] I can't find a copy of the ad, or a full set of the quotes. [3]

      Where are the brilliant creativity and programming tools for Tablets? (and I say this as a person who uses Autodesk Sketchbook, Creaturehouse Expression, Futurewave SmartSketch, Macromedia FreeHand, Runtime Revolution and Lotus Improv on his Tablet PC)

      I'd love to have a list of great creativity tools for tablets (though I wonder how much good it'll do --- I've been unsuccessful in getting my son to d/l and install Petit Computer [4] )

      1 - http://folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=Bicycle.txt [folklore.org]
      2 - http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/12/21/steve-jobs-bicycle-for-the-mind-1990/ [brainpickings.org]
      3 - http://creativityandinnovation.blogspot.com/2011/10/steve-jobs-amazing-quotes.html [blogspot.com]
      4 - http://www.petitcomputer.com/ [petitcomputer.com]

      • Yes, but I'm also saddened for a generation of kids who grow up interacting w/ computers to only consume media, not to create.

        That would be... pretty much every generation that's grown up with computers. Seriously, creators are a tiny, tiny minority. Always have been, always will be.

      • I remember Jobs saying general purpose computers are like trucks. Some people will always need trucks to haul things but most people really need a car or other forms of transportation. Now originally the only choice offered to consumers were general purpose computers. These days they have choices.
        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          That was what he said when he started selling 'cars' rather than 'trucks'.

        • I remember Jobs saying general purpose computers are like trucks. Some people will always need trucks to haul things but most people really need a car or other forms of transportation.

          Jbolden mentioned that analogy earlier [slashdot.org]. So what should someone do who only occasionally needs to use a truck? I seem to remember that a lot of people have been buying SUVs because they can act as a car most of the time but as a truck when needed.

          • If you need a truck, buy a truck. If you want/need a SUV, buy a SUV. I believe I've had this conversation with you before. No one has clairvoyance and so you have to make the best decision you can. If you buy a car, you can't whine later how you can't haul firewood as easily as a truck.
        • by mjwx (966435)

          I remember Jobs saying general purpose computers are like trucks. Some people will always need trucks to haul things but most people really need a car or other forms of transportation. Now originally the only choice offered to consumers were general purpose computers. These days they have choices.

          And Jobs was wrong.

          Jobs would like to paint it this way but the reality of the matter is that PC's represent all types of cars from small runabouts to sports cars to six axle prime movers.

          The PC in it's many factors fills all those roles. The Tablet is a single role device, so it's really nothing more than a Toyota Yaris. Netbooks are like Smart TwoFours (small, low powered), my laptop is more like a hot hatch (powerful, but sacrifices some power for practicality), servers are like prime movers (desig

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        Surely you can run GCC and vim on your tablet.
        That's all the tools you need.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        Maybe not every kind of creation is the creation of computer software? Maybe computers can be good for things other than computer-oriented tasks?

        • Maybe not every kind of creation is the creation of computer software?

          Consider a high school student who owns an iPad and then discovers that she has to take a programming class before graduating, and that the tools needed for doing homework aren't available for iPad. What's the next step? Sell the iPad and buy a low-end PC?

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Yes, but I'm also saddened for a generation of kids who grow up interacting w/ computers to only consume media, not to create.

        Steve Jobs put forth that computers were ``bicycles for the mind'' [1] --- but this switch to tablets is taking general purpose computers out of the hands of our kids and replacing it w/ an interactive TV. While there have been some web mentionings of it [2] I can't find a copy of the ad, or a full set of the quotes. [3]

        Except you're expecting EVERYONE who uses a PC to do so because

      • Yes, but I'm also saddened for a generation of kids who grow up interacting w/ computers to only consume media, not to create.

        If you think they aren't creating you aren't looking hard enough. Just because not all of them are coding doesn't mean they aren't creating. Many of them are hugely creative and not in ways you or I would expect.

        Plus what is available now is a HUGE improvement in interactivity over what was available when I was young which was just a television with a handful of channels. One way mass media is far less interactive in every meaningful way.

        • by WillAdams (45638)

          What else should I be looking for then?

          I've only gotten one app suggestion (in a nastily phrased comment) when I did specifically ask for instances:

          http://twolivesleft.com/Codea/ [twolivesleft.com]

          • by sjbe (173966)

            What else should I be looking for then?

            Fair question and a good one to ask. My point is largely that creativity comes in many forms.

            Just off hand I'd suggest various art related options which are plentiful. Photography, painting, etc. Crafts.
            There also is a lot of creativity in certain games (I'm not an avid gamer so I don't have any good suggestions).
            Lego Mindstorms is working on some tablet stuff as well as the already existing PC options.
            How about recording a podcast or using a tablet to help create music?
            Don't underestimate the creativity

      • To use the classic Slashdot car analogy, computer programming is like engineering new parts for the car. Either at a mainstream car company, or doing custom cars. It's not something the majority of people need to be doing.

        Almost all of a car's usefulness lies in extra travel capabilities it gives to people. It's not in providing a target for people to learn about engineering.

        For those limited number of people that want/need to learn programming, there will always be opportunities, such as the raspberry PI.

        • limited number of people that want/need to learn programming

          It's not "limited" when a high school makes it a requirement for graduation, just as algebra, chemistry, and the six best-known Shakespeare tragedies have long been requirements. The college I went to made Introduction to Programming a first-year prerequisite even for people not going into computer science. As things like that filter down from college into the third and fourth years of the college-prep track of high school, much as calculus has done, we'd better hope that the Raspberry Pi stays in productio

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        There has never been a generation of kids that grew up interacting with computers as anything more than media consumption devices. The kids that currently use them as media consumption devices just didn't use them when they were not media consumption devices.

        While having 5 kids with computers all doing programming might be 100%, and having 500 kids with computers and 5 doing programming might only be 1%, in real reality, the number of kids programming hasn't changed.
    • by Teckla (630646) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @09:04AM (#43984495)

      Millions of geeks saddled with supporting family and friends who have no business getting near a general purpose computer, celebrate the advent of tablets for browsing/email/casual gaming.

      WTF, mods? This should be modded insightful, not funny.

      I'm convinced one of the reasons tablets have gained so much popularity so quickly is not necessarily because of the touch screen and lack of a keyboard, but the OS and apps are so much easier for mere mortals. Windows, OS X, and Linux PCs are ridiculously complicated to maintain.

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        Do we know what the reason is?
        I still personally have no idea why anyone would choose a tablet over a laptop.

        • by gtall (79522)

          Travel. Lugging a laptop is a pain in the arse. But having a pad that can browse maps, schedules, etc. is just all I need or want when traveling. And no I do not want to phone home when I'm traveling. I'm traveling, it can wait until I get back and I don't give a rat's ass until I get back.

          • by loufoque (1400831)

            I don't see the problem with putting a laptop in a bag. I put my laptop in my satchel along with my notebook and move around with it everyday, there is no problem.
            If you need something small, just pick a small form factor. There are models at 13 or 11 inches, though the latter are sometimes called 'netbooks' (an ipad is 10 inches).

        • Re:Geek Savior (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Teckla (630646) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @10:50AM (#43985573)

          Do we know what the reason is?

          You have to look at it from the perspective of a non-technical user. Traditional computers are hard. Tablets are comparatively easy. For example:

          1. Downloading software is hard. Non-technical users are thinking: What web site do I use to download X? Where do I click to download X? What version do I want? 32-bit or 64-bit? I'm so confused!

          2. Locating where software was downloaded is hard. Non-technical users are thinking: Okay, I think I downloaded it -- now what? Do I need to open this Windows Explorer / Finder thing? Where do I navigate?

          3. Being confident you didn't make any mistakes is hard. Non-technical users are thinking: I sure hope I got this from a reputable source. My friend says it's reputable, but I'm not sure if it is -- and I don't know how to check myself. Did I answer all the installer questions correctly? What if I told it the wrong answer?

          4. Keeping software up to date is hard. Non-technical users may constantly be at risk of running outdated versions that have security bugs. And they really, really don't want to go through the scary and painful steps 1 through 3 again. And even then, they wonder if they're doing it right.

          5. Knowing what to run to keep yourself safe is hard. Non-technical users are thinking: Should I be running McAfee? My co-worker says so. But my friend says to use Norton. And the guy at the PC repair shop says I should run Microsoft Security Essentials plus some other strange utilities. How am I supposed to know what to do and who to trust? I don't want someone to steal my bank sign in when I do online banking! :-(

          6. Traditional PCs are always pestering you about one thing or another. Updates are available for your computer. Updates are available for your anti-virus. You haven't run your anti-virus in a week. Flash needs an update. Java needs an update. Reboot. Reboot again. Where the fuck did this Ask Toolbar come from? Am I doing all of this right? Oh no, I think I clicked the wrong button, and now I can't get the update window back! Oh no, I forgot about this application I installed last year and now I see it's three versions out of date. Have I been at risk the whole time? I hate computers.

          7. Traditional PCs suffer from bit rot. Non-technical users are thinking: Why is my computer so slow? Should I buy a new one? My friend said I should reinstall the OS but I have no idea how to do that. How do I save my data before I do that? How do I restore my data afterwards?

          Or... they can just buy a tablet that makes everything much easier for them, and doesn't make them feel stupid, scared, and overwhelmed. The nice folks at the Apple Store will even help them pick a tablet, create an account, sign up for iCloud, etc. And then everything just works.

          Okay, I know tablets aren't a usability panacea, but they're FAR easier than traditional PCs -- especially for the stuff "regular" people want to do.

          Traditional computers (laptops, desktops) could become similarly easy, and companies like Microsoft and Apple are moving in that direction, but they are moving very slowly... thus the success of tablets.

          • by loufoque (1400831)

            All of the above are software issues (and are even specific to Microsoft Windows) and have nothing to do with hardware.
            Laptop manufacturers would preload laptops with Android if that's all that was needed for them to sell.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        That is a myth. The maintenance on a typical PC is virtually identical to that of a smartphone or tablet.
  • Statistics making the irrelevant relevant since the 1850's
  • Problem with PC's (Score:5, Interesting)

    by randomErr (172078) <ervin@kosch.gmail@com> on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @07:43AM (#43983871) Homepage Journal
    PC's are big, expensive, power hungry and noisy.

    Tablets are small, cheap, portable, silent, generally have a camera, speakers, and microphone which gives them built in telephony features, and an easy UI. I can buy a decent tablet for less than $100 on eBay or the local discount store.

    What are the redeeming qualities of a PC? Tactile IO: there is something to be said about a typing with a keyboard as opposed to a flat screen. Better audio and video quality: its just has a bigger screen and a better presentation system then a system with micro speaker and 7" screen. Deeper interfaces. For all the issues that Window's has its can do more then a tablet OS. Modularity, Upgrade-ability, and repair-ability: If I want a bigger screen I buy one for my PC. If want bigger screen in tablet I have to buy a whole new machine.

    For these issue PC's will always be around. But they will get pushed in the development and special needs category in the next decade or so. Tablets will keep coming down in prices. Operation system like Ubuntu that give tablets more of the PC's feature. One off devices like the Roku and game systems like the XBox One will take up the home media center and entertainment.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well if you can do your computing with a 100 bucks tablet.. you could do it for free with trashcan pc's.
      why anyone bought an ibm pc when you could get a c64 for a fraction of the price??

      personally what I think will change the landscape is when oculus type of display systems hit 3rd generation or so - at that point pc's will become boxes to run virtual data work environments - and cheapo pc's(tablets, whatever) will just run them less nicely but will be popular as the item that runs the show.

    • The trend I'm seeing is less modularity and upgradeability in PCs as well as less need for it. 3 of the last 4 PCs I built have never used the expansion slots. All the functionality is built into the MB or CPU. The only shortcoming is HD space but I have a file server that handles network storage. The last one was an Intel NUC which has no slot at all. I wonder if this is why Apple has made their new Mac Pro the way it is.
    • by loufoque (1400831)

      Laptops are cheap, portable, silent, generally have a camera, speakers and microphones which gives them built in telephony features.
      They also have keyboards, better screens, etc.

      Basically a laptop has all the advantages of the PC and the tablet that you listed combined.

  • by emblemparade (774653) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @08:59AM (#43984439)

    PCs are, as many of us agree, not dying, but they are changing and becoming a niche product -- again.

    The term "personal computer" was in a way a misnomer, because personal computers existed before: we called them "workstations", and at the time they were quite a revolution, because we could do whatever we wanted with them instead of sharing computing time on Unix boxen, VAX, or mainframes. They were also super expensive, enough that they were not worth the money except for specific tasks where computing independence was absolutely required,

    The "personal computer" revolution should really have been called the "small office computer" or "home computer" revolution: these were new kinds of "workstations" that were cheap enough that we could buy them for ... small offices and homes.

    I predict that we're moving back in time, in a way. Most consumers would prefer tablets and similar devices. For those of us that need serious computing power, we will still have our computers to buy. But they will likely be targeted and priced accordingly for the "prosumer" market. It would be easy to buy a cheap tablet, but forget about cheap laptops: manufacturers won't make them because they won't sell well. Instead, they'll focus on premium desktop computers for premium users.

    So let's call them "workstations" again. Meanwhile the term "personal computer" may finally make perfect sense for phones and tablets: truly "on-person" computers.

  • "The PC market (desktops, notebooks, and tablets)"
    One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong. Can you tell which one of these things it is by the time some dumbass writes an article about it?
    Tablets are not PCs! They can't run x86 or x64 software! They're impossible to type on! They're not PCs! If they're PCs then so is my phone and my PSP.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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