Just a couple of years ago the computer market was on the verge of being overrun by portable computers. Notebook sales made up more than 65 percent of all computer sales and corporations warmed to the idea of allowing employees to bring their own notebooks to work in lieu of having to provide a desktop machine.
Desktop computers were, and still are, cheaper than notebooks and offer superior performance but ultimately, consumers want to be able to use their computers away from their work desks. And people were willing to pay a premium for portability. Portability and practicality have become more important than performance. Coupled with the introduction of low-cost lightweight notebooks, or netbooks, in 2006, portable computing began to dominate the market.
As microprocessor development reached a balance between cost and performance, the prices of more powerful notebooks also went down. This increased the likelihood of consumers choosing portable computers over desktops, even though desktops with comparable performance capabilities were still more affordable. Certain brands such as Acer and Apple have also began offering notebooks with long lasting batteries. The end of mass deployment of desktop computers was in sight.
What most people do on computers now can often be done using a browser. Almost everything is reliant on the Internet. E-mail, browsing, instant messaging, photo and video sharing, gaming, even working on office documents often require Internet connection. Because these represent the majority of computer related activities, it’- not difficult to conclude that consumers, in general, have no need for powerful computers. Everything can be done on tablets or even handheld devices.
What’s left are tasks such as professional video and audio production, heavy graphics manipulation, digital imaging and other processor-intensive activities. Given that these are highly-specialized tasks, only professionals would buying a high-performance notebook or desktop computer without a second thought.
The extent of the performance of today’s mid-range notebooks already outpace that of many professional machines from two years ago, which means the standard or even low-end notebooks would be more than adequate to serve the average consumer.
With the majority of consumers heading towards notebooks and tablets, will there still be a need for desktop computers?