The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Please look at the computer you are using right now to read this article. Is it a large, beige-colored box sitting on your desk with a separate monitor on top? If so, you are using very old technology. The idea of a computer box on your desk with a separate monitor and keyboard has been with us since the early 1980s. In computer years, that’s a century or more!
In fact, the definition of a home computer—or perhaps I should say a “personal computer”—is changing. I suspect many people are reading this article on their iPads, iPhones, Android tablets or phones, or perhaps on a 2-pound “netbook” or Chromebook laptop computer or something similar. If you are one of those reading this article on a non-desktop computer, you have already joined the revolution.
When it comes to technology, nothing lasts for very long. In fact, the concept of large desktop computers has already lasted longer than most other things in technology. It may be unwise to predict the imminent death of any particular technology and probably even more unwise to predict the death of the desktop PC, but obviously changes already surround us.
The reality today is that the Windows or Macintosh desktop computer is no longer the primary computing device for many consumers.
According to analyst Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totaled 64.8 million units in the first quarter of 2016, a 9.6 percent decline from the first quarter of 2015. Even more interesting, Gartner noted, “This was the sixth consecutive quarter of PC shipment declines, and the first time since 2007 that shipment volume fell below 65 million units.”
That’s right, PC desktop and laptop sales now are at the lowest level in ten years. Any time you see a decline of worldwide sales in six consecutive fiscal quarters, you know major changes are afoot!
The same Gartner report states, “PCs are not being adopted in new households as they were in the past, especially in emerging markets. In these markets, smartphones are the priority. In the business segment, Gartner analysts said the Windows 10 refresh is expected to start toward the end of 2016.”
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