Big Desktops Aren’t Sexy, But They’re Necessary
Underlying the arguments predicting the demise of Wintel is the assumption that desktop PCs, and perhaps laptops as well, already have one foot in the grave. Smartphones and tablets are the new heirs to the consumer computing market, and it’s only a matter of time before they take their rightful place on the throne.
This is a cute theory, but it’s based on the same flawed black-and-white thinking that caused experts to predict the demise of laptops at the feet of netbooks in 2008. Tech bloggers are frequently incapable of envisioning a future where multiple devices are used for multiple purposes – which is quite odd, since that is the reality we live in. Instead, arguments veer towards extremism. Tablets and smartphones aren't coming to work alongside Wintel desktops and laptops – they’re coming to kill them!
Fat chance. The laws of physics show no signs of changing, and so long as they exist, it will always be possible to fit substantially more computing and battery power into a desktop PC or a laptop than in a smartphone or tablet before the thing cooks itself. Sure, not everyone needs that power – but many do, including gamers, anyone who wants to make amateur video, anyone who wants to do serious audio editing including both music and podcasting, and even people who need to edit large and complex spreadsheets.
In addition to the performance, desktops and laptops have another thing going for them – a keyboard and mouse. Touch input is wonderful for devices that are small enough to hold, but if you’re using a larger device with a display that’s too heavy and bulky to wield, the advantages of touch go by the wayside. Using a keyboard and mouse remains the quickest and most effective way to do work, and these devices simply can’t be miniaturized out of existence.
So long as these input devices reign supreme, they’ll create a natural market for desktops and laptops. Having a tiny portable tablet does you no good if you need to whip out a large keyboard whenever you have to do serious typing.