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back to article Gartner: RIP PCs - tablets will CRUSH you this year

PC sales are in terminal decline thanks to the continued popularity of tablets and there’s nothing an anticipated surge in ultramobiles can do to stop it. That’s according to beancounters at Gartner, who reckon the outcome will be anaemic growth rates for Microsoft’s Windows in 2013 as Google’s Android blows the doors off. …

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makes sense

A tablet for general use, plus a desktop computer (which could be 7 years old) for occasional use provides what the majority of people need, and people have woken up to this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: makes sense

One of my non-technical friends is probably the typical case: she has an iPad and that has become her primary device, and then only boots her Windows 7 laptop reluctantly (while cursing its piss-poor speed as the various AV stuff kiks in and sucks) in order to run iTunes for syncing or updating it.

I can see her buying another iPad, but not another laptop for a LONG time.

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Re: makes sense

Plus perhaps a console, for more serious game playing. For many home users, it's the desire to play demanding games that drives the purchase, or upgrade, of a new PC every few years. Next year we'll have a new generation of consoles, and I'd expect those to eat into home PCs even more. (Admittedly some people will always prefer keyboard and mouse over hand-held controller.)

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Re: makes sense

I have to say that it's not just about game playing. There are more than a few areas where a tablet / slate (of any OS) simply is not the right tool for the job.

I think that we will see a blurring of the lines between the devices, but the PC still has a future, at least until around the time that I am likely to retire (just under 10 years). After that, I suspect that Gartner will be teeling everyone about the potential demise of the tablet or other manually operated devices as it gets replaced by voice activated computing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: makes sense

Microsoft have by far the best OS for touch and gesture based computing in Windows 8, and the best eco -system with a unified interface across desktop, laptop, tablet, Xbox and phone. Plus they are mostly (except for Xbox Next?) based on a unified kernel, which is highly scalable from low to high end and is very efficient - for instance windows Phone is faster and more fluid than an Android device that has twice the RAM and CPU cores.

Gartner are likely right in that Microsoft will suffer a dip in the short term, but they are best positioned in the long term. Touch and gesture is clearly the future....and Microsoft are ahead of the crowd.

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Re: makes sense

Actually a tablet/hybrid for BOTH uses would make even more sense. Why own/carry/sync a whole zoo of units when one (maybe with a dock) can do it all? A nice long duration Atom with dock can replace Smartphone, iThingy/Fragmentdroid AND the typical "non gamer" home PC easily. Just add a "7 days between recharging" featurephone and you are good.

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Re: makes sense

Yes, MS has a mighty fine ecosystem all the way from low powered/long duration (Atom) to mid-level (core-i ULV) to full-powered (core-i desktop) tablet/convertible units available. Add in mature software for using pens (that are coming back strong - see stuff like JotPro for iThingy or the Note series) and stuff like speech recognition that does not need the GMail man / Grandpa Jobs listening in (And works even on the Atoms) and mid-term they have the best package. They've been doing tablet pc for more than a decade.

Even more so since the same stuff also works on desktop maschines so the handwritten document from MS-Journal can be watched and edited on say a Dell desktop (Try that with SNote!) and vice versa. Add (one of) the biggest pools of pen-useable software (Every MS desktop software works with a pen), near-perfect printer support and good central management software for the companie use as well as an open platform(1) unlike iOS/Android

It will only have limited effects on iPads since they are bought for the "cool/hip" factor. But the more basic Android tablets will suffer. Even more so since they can not deliver certain features like multiple accounts(2), long term update/patch guarantees (Necessary for a notebook replacement) or just good printer support(3)

(1) Modern needs special setup for a companie or the MS-store for privat use but Desktop is "just install"

(2) No support until 4.2 (That is not out on a non-Google tablet yet) and limited / badly implemented on 4.2

(3) A Samsung ML2010 works fine for my Windows and Solaris boxes using a 25€ printserver. Even the Samsung printer app does not support it under Android 4.x

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 13:28

At least the anonymous Google shills sound like they believe their own sales pitch....

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Re: makes sense

A tablet that runs windows - real windows - isn't a tablet, it's a laptop that has no keyboard. It will behave like a laptop, get slower like a laptop, have shit software installed like a laptop.

I've had to fix various family members issues with shitty ancient laptops for the last ten years. I've never had anyone ever ask me to do anything to fix an ipad.

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Re: makes sense

Maybe you should learn a bit about Windows. Or stop installing that "cheap copy of x"...

Windows boxes getting slower over time is a non-issue since XP (and was a non-issue for the NT-line before that).

As for software quality - some of the crap delivered by Samsungs Android devices makes Win3.11 look like "best of breed"

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Re: makes sense

Maybe you should learn to read, it isn't me having the problems, it is people who expect me to fix their shit.

They have no problems making windows run slower over time. Most of them even pay some dude called McAffee to do it for them.

One of my relatives has an aged Vista machine, it takes about 10 minutes from pressing the power button to opening a browser and having the webpage displayed. Vista post-dates XP, no? In the NT line? Or is this one of the "Vista doesn't count" exclusions?

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Re: makes sense

Nope, the "stupid admin" and "IT guy whio does not know how to teach the users" exclusions since a guy named Tom38 obviously is both. The really old PIV/Win XP box my dad uses since 2008 does NOT have the problems. Locked down nicely and with proper software instead of McAffee. Still runs and will do so until March 2014 when it gets switched for a HP Pavillon with Win8 (and I get a new box AND a decend Solaris system in the ole Dell Dimension)

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MS shills strike again

"Microsoft have by far the best OS for touch and gesture based computing in Windows 8"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!

Oh dear, both one of the zillion AC MS shills and mmeier, the MS evil Eadon clone.

Realistically, Windows 8 might actually trigger a faster migration *outside* the MS ecosystem. People were already setting back new PC purchases; with the Fabulous Fred interface infesting all new PCs and Windows 7 off the shelves *and* MS site (both offer win8 only), consumers are put off.

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Re: makes sense

"Windows boxes getting slower over time is a non-issue since XP (and was a non-issue for the NT-line before that)."

It wasn't an issue for win 2k but it certainly was for XP

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Devil

Me not buy Windows for a loooong time.

> Microsoft have by far the best ...

Sorry, the LAN interface disconnected.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: makes sense

"Windows boxes getting slower over time is a non-issue since XP (and was a non-issue for the NT-line before that)."

@mmeier: if only! I've got a VM of Windows 7 that does precisely one thing, it runs the vSphere client to manage a couple of ESXi boxes. It's had two pieces of software installed on it, the vSphere client and Firefox, Firefox is rarely used. The other day I got a warning that the disk was nearly full, hmm, strange, I gave it a 20GB disk to install on. It turns out that over 16GB of that was in c:\windows. Tell me again how Windows does not cruft itself up and get slower over time anymore?

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Re: makes sense

A desktop for general use and other things to mess around with seems to be more common with the people I know. (I know I have a few fairly decent smartphones / a decent tablet / a 3DS XL / Nokia dumb phone with a week lasting battery / a few laptops (One fairly old ultra portable / a mobile workstation) / a desktop. Not including work devices that I don't use other than for work stuff. I use my desktop far more than anything else. The situation is fairly similar for most people I know (Other than some people use laptops not desktops). Maybe more people are buying ipad''s (And a few others).

People don't like wasting their time. Older women in particular were likely taught typing in school. Ignoring the main time saving skill they have so they can have a tablet seems totally pointless. (Using a tablet with a keyboard means you need to deal with positioning it with the right case or sit at a desk / table anyway.)

The famous iOS / Android games are nearly all absolute sh*te. (Some lesser known games / game ports / iOS apps are good.)

Adware is awful on any platform (Be it Windows or anything else).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: makes sense by AC @ 13:36

You forgot to login again, RICHTO.

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Re: makes sense

You did read the "system requirements"? It says 16GB (32bit) / 20GB (64bit) right on the MS home page. So your setup is barely adequat. No wonder it gives a warning. As the Penguboys like to say RTFM!

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Re: Me not buy Windows for a loooong time.

@Destroyallmonsters:

Don't be silly.

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Re: MS shills strike again

Unlike Pinguboy Eadon l actually have experience with a bakers dozend of operation systems and use " what works best" and not "what the guru dictates". It's just Linux that does not work best once the "it is cheap" argument is gone

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Tablets will continue

to sell loads until everyone who wants one has one. Then they'll drop off too. Make hay while the sun shines, slab shifters.

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Re: Tablets will continue

I think the demand for tablets, and other portable devices, will continue to rise in line with improved capabilities; at the moment the desktop PC doesn't really need to be any better than it already is in order to satisfy most people's requirements (obviously there will always be a small community pushing the envelope and demanding better PCs, but not the mainstream).

Tablets, on the other hand, do need to get better (usability in daylight, battery life etc.) and as they are more likely to be carried around day-to-day, thrown in bags etc., there is more wear-and-tear than on desktops so there will be demand for improved devices and for replacement devices.

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Re: Tablets will continue

Daylight usability could be easily achived - drop the fingerprint interface, use the pen only again

Battery life is a "how much computing power do you need" thing. Atoms can do 10+ hours in a lightweight package good for most jobs and Baytrail will improve that. If you need more you get either reduced time (4-5h at 800-1000g) or a lot more weight (8-10h at 1600-2100g)

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Pint

Not so much

that the tablets will crush the PC, more that the PC has plateaued in terms of performance v software, i.e. there is little or no need to upgrade a 3 year old PC because it is still more than up to its task. Consequently users will spend their beer tokens on something else. If the PC manufacturers want to boost their sales someone has to come up with a real memory/processor hog of a killer app. The PCs are still out there, their tasks that tablets can do will be taken over by tablet wielding users but the PC will still be sitting there on the desktop when you need some real crunching to be done.

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Re: Not so much

I'd say that this really is PCs being crushed by tablets - hardly the performance v software thing at all.

For so many years the PC was the only choice for an internet device (plus Macs for rich weirdos).

Now there is choice people are choosing devices without bloated OSs and virus problems that slow down to a crawl after a few months. Currently these are tablets, the user experience having been established on phones. Increasingly it's also smart TVs, so actually I dont even think it's about portability.

So fundamentally it's survival of the fittest and Windows PCs are too much trouble for (most) end users

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Holmes

Re: Not so much

I think the cloud, with browser-based solutions, will fill the void for higher performance apps. Moreover, this model will substantially accelerate the decline of the PC desktop and mobile from 2014 on.

The life-cycle of a tablet will be perhaps 50 percent longer than a PC, since performance gains in the browser-based model mainly occur on the server side. This isn't factored in the Gartner model, so the overall TAM may be flatter than they predict, and made up of more tablets and much less PC/notebook.

The integration of TV, tablet and phone will also impact market structure. The potential for tablets to be used as smart TV remote controls should not be underestimated. It may give rise to a mini-tablet market of substantial size.

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Re: Not so much

I know people are not buying a new PC because they are expensive and because they run Windows 8. Occasionally I see a Windows 7 computer for sell, and a few days later it sold out. There is a demand for new computers that run Windows 7. Just because PC are selling less does not mean tablets are the only reason why. On HP's website now, they put their Windows 7 offerings above their Windows 8 ones. At least they did when I checked a few days ago.

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Re: Not so much

My prediction is that a year from now we will see quite a number of hybrids replacing notebooks and the older "toy tablets", mainly the Android units (Apple has the "hip" factor). Android (or whatever Samsung sells cheaply then) will be back to phones and Intels Atom and core-i chips will be the choice for most tablet devices again.

Win8 will be on most of this new units in the privat space. It may not be the best tablet os nor the best desktop os but is does a fine work in both jobs and for hybrids that IS a mayor factor. The fact that it has tons of software that people know will help as well.

RT will be dead unless MS unlocks it, than it might have a small market for embedded/kiosk devices. Not worth the money compared to an Atom-based unit IMHO

The penable will have returned, sadly often burdened with a fingerprint-generator add-on (and glossy screens) but maybe some big companies will again offer a "no touch" option and matt displays.

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Linux

Re: Not so much

...except that tablets aren't PC replacements. They can manage some of the light duty media consumption that were exclusively the domain of PCs. Once you start pushing any kind of boundaries though, tablets quickly fall apart.

Smart TVs are just a joke.

What we have here is a lot of sales churn caused by immature tech. That is being mistaken for success. Last years tablet or Roku is missing key features or performance. Meanwhile, 6 year old PCs can manage to run circles around ARM based equivalents.

Tablets are in the same part of their life cycle that PCs were in during the early 90s.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not so much

For most people any PC made since 2009 has far more functionality than most people need.

More CPU, Disk and Ram than they really need for a bit of surfing, shopping and emails.

Add a tablet into the mix and there is no compelling reason for people to upgrade their PC's.

Most people Don't play FPS or MMORG games so one more there is no reason to upgrade their existing devices.

Then think of things like Credit Crunch, lack of salary raises and less disposable income and once again there is little incentive to upgrade their existing systems as they simply can't afford it.

Then Microsoft have shot themselves in both feet, legs and arms with Windows 8. I've seen people who were in the market for a new PC take one look at TIFKAM and go 'Thanks but no thanks. I can't use that.'

In conclusion, there are a whole plethora of reasons why the PC market is shrinking. MS is in danger of becoming irrelevant to a whole generation of current PC users.

{I have been writting Software since the days of Punched Cards and Paper Tape. I own a Tablet(Android) and several Laptops/MacBooks dating back to 2005 and all work. Strangely enough, I do most of my browsing on a 2009 13in MacBook. For my day job I write highly complex applications that run on Windows Server or Linux.}

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Re: Not so much

So what? Who needs ARM on a tablet? Cheap tablets / hybrids with Atom CPU can do the majority of jobs. Software development and complex image manipulation are (currently) the exception due to the 2GB memory restriction.

More costly tablets/hybrids/convertibles with ULV or full powered core-i can do everything except high end egoshooters. Tablet PC are old, established technology in the Intel-sector.

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Re: Not so much @mmeier

I do agree that current tablets are mostly "toy tablets" ... but I don't think MS is going to "save the day". In fact, the reason the whole Personal Computer industry has mostly stagnated is *because* of the Windows/Intel curbstomping in the desktop PC market. If the transportation industry were to match the computing hardware industry, we would all still be driving horse buggy, albeit with steroid-pumped, genetically engineered super-horses doing 100MPH down the motorway. But an internal combustion engine would still outrun the super horses, and the same applies to current x86 crap vs. RISC hardware. The reason we don't see RISC chips doing circles around x86 arch stuff is because nobody outside of ARM and SPARC are really investing in R&D on 'em. And yet, ARM is ever getting closer to x86.

Eventually Microsoft and Intel will fade away; what we don't know right now is who will take their place. Neither Google or Apple are better than them; ARM is good but still lacks the punch to really take over the hardware market.

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Re: Not so much @mmeier

ARM getting closer? Where? Even the brand new A15 is not able to compete with the aging CTrail series Atom if both are using same gen compilers/JavaScript engines. AND it does consume equal amounts of power at "full speed". And the CTrails are on the way out (and outdated), BayTrail is smaller, faster and less power hungry.

And there is another RISC family - Motorola/IBM PPC. The one that Apple (one of it's creators!) dropped in favour of - Intel. IBM is quite happily investing in it and using it. Nice CPU, cheap, powerful, lots of OS run on it. And nobody in the mainstream cares.

MS and Intel "fading away" might happen. But I doubt I am still around WHEN it happens. The death of both has been called at least half a dozend times. Some of those calling where actually as good as or better. None managed because they all dropped the ball. And we will see that again.

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Crush? or a light fondling.

Some numbers from the article:

> PCs sold in 2013 ... 315 million units

> Tablet shipments ...197 million units

So even if all those tablet shipments turn into sales - and they include the $50 cheap crap devices, the market for PCs still looks pretty dam' good - though obviously in decline, as you'd expect for a saturated product where most sales are replacements, rather than new users.

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Holmes

Re: Crush? or a light fondling.

It's almost like Gartner's analysis is trying to spin a sexy story rather than being, you know, analytical.

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Happy

Re: Crush? or a light fondling.

How could you make such a terrible accusation?

... just because you're probably right.

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Facepalm

Re: Crush? or a light fondling.

We've got senior execs making decisions informed by Gartner research.

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FAIL

Re: Crush? or a light fondling.

> PCs sold in 2013 ... 315 million units

> Tablet shipments ...197 million units

And check that word "units", what about cash turn over and profit?

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: PCs are being SNUFFED by crass pre-installed operating systems

Eadon, you owe me a new keyboard. Laughed coffee all over this one.

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Re: PCs are being SNUFFED by crass pre-installed operating systems

"If OEM's were to supply PC's with Linux with a nice Window Manager then more people would buy a PC.

No they wouldn't. Whenever Linux has been pre-installed on PCs for sale to non Linux enthusiasts, it has only led to confusion and people taking them back to the shop.

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Trollface

Re: PCs are being SNUFFED by crass pre-installed operating systems

>If OEM's were to supply PC's with Linux with a nice Window Manager then more people would buy a PC.

2024 - world still waiting on the "nice window manager" for linux

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Anonymous Coward

Re: PCs are being SNUFFED by crass pre-installed operating systems

"Whenever Linux has been pre-installed on PCs for sale to non Linux enthusiasts, it has only led to confusion and people taking them back to the shop."

Or just wiping the feetardware and installing Warez Windows....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: PCs are being SNUFFED by crass pre-installed operating systems

"It's a myth that Linux PC's get returned. Netbooks - sold like hot cakes with Linux, when MS forced the OEM's to shove Windows on them, the entire netbook market DIED."

Dell stopped selling Linux on netbooks because of limited demand, higher support costs and higher return rates. Go figure...

nb - I think you are about a decade behind the times - Microsoft was long ago forced to stop non competitive licencing agreements with OEMs....

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Re: PCs are being SNUFFED by crass pre-installed operating systems

What killed the netbooks was their lousy capabilities like a 1024x600 screen, 1GB memory (non or costly upgradable) and the wave of good quality second hand notebooks hitting the market. A "returned from Leasing" Thinkpad etc. was similar priced but performed a LOT better.

And the "Linux" units had a lot more problems. They typically used obscure distributions and/or old kernels and the driver support for the hardware was lousy. Changing the distribution more often than not killed at least the WLAN.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: PCs are being SNUFFED by crass pre-installed operating systems

" but Linux must be pre-installed for non-techie punters to buy it."

Now we leave Fantasy Island and come back to the real world...

I have tried so many times to get a customer to buy a PC with Linux on it you would not believe.

Even if I tell then "It's £100 cheaper with Linux installed and it will do all the web stuff you want!" they still ask me to put Windows on it.

You cannot give Linux away to non-techie punters. I've tried bloody hard to, ain't happening.

(cue posts telling me I was probably offering the wrong distro blah blah blah)

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Re: PCs are being SNUFFED by crass pre-installed operating systems

"It's a myth that Linux PC's get returned. "

Get real - a friend of mine worked at a large electronics store and constantly had people bring them back because their copy of MS office wouldn't install on it (and no, the average punter doesn't know what VMware is).

They returned it and bought a windows version so often the store stopped stocking the linux one - it was simply too much hassle.

Face it - linux is for geeks, not for the mainstream "mum and dad" user.

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WTF?

Re: PCs are being SNUFFED by crass pre-installed operating systems

Netbooks died out because once folks got over the rush to own a "small cutesy laptop" they realised, that with crappy 1024x600 screens and pathetic single core 1.6 Atom CPUS, that they had bought a piece of crap.

Whether you run Windows or Linux on a netbook its still a crappy frustrating hardware experience.

Most folks only bought them for email and web on the go and the tablet then came along and pissed all over them. I have a Acer netbook with Ubuntu on it I've used it on holiday a few times but since then I've got a Playbook and a Nexus 4 and both nuke the netbook from a high height. The Acer just gathers dust.

I haven't heard any of my customers say "Oh I love my netbook!" Quite the opposite.

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