Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.162.224.176

Forum Moderators: phranque

Message Too Old, No Replies

The Decline of the Desktop Computer

     
2:41 am on Jul 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:11815
votes: 746


Desktop computer sales have fallen for the last 5 years (2011 through 2016.) Despite a small growth in sales among enthusiasts*, gamers and in the business sector, the desktop computer market will continue to decline; this in spite of new computing innovations like VR.

Infrequent users of home computers are more likely to resort to a smartphone. This lengthens the life of existing computers and adversely affects new sales, which in turn affects the "bottom line" and future production. Many users who work on computers at work prefer to leave the computer "at the office" and do not own a home computer. Since most users only require access to their email, search, web surfing, texting and their favorite Social Media platform, mobile devices provide sufficient power and a more friendly interface for these tasks.

However for businesses, that desktop decline should be regarded as an opportunity. Rather than being forced to tie your workforce to a desk, replacing desktop computers with mobile devices and cloud computing could be used to set your employees free. Mobile enables more time engaging with customers in multiple locations. Mobile cloud computing can be the best choice for most companies, introducing flexibility, better cost control and access from virtually anywhere.

Internet giants have recognized the signs and have positioned themselves to take advantage of the new usage trend. Cloud computing continues to grow, allowing access to your files from wherever you may be. Search results will soon be based on mobile properties and no longer desktop design layouts: Mobile-First Index [webmasterworld.com]

*includes those of us that work on the web

- - -
8:54 am on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 16, 2005
posts:2773
votes: 112


It depends what you are doing. A desktop is much better for getting work done. Big screens are more practical for a lot of web apps.

I cannot see most office jobs moving to mobile devices - unless you count things like Chromebooks with a decent screen and keyboard.

I can see more moving to the cloud, and I can certainly see more remote working.

Yes, Google are right to put mobile first for search, because a lot of usage of search is to look up something and then read it. On the other hand, I would hate to write anything of any length on a mobile device.
10:12 am on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

Administrator from GB 

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 9, 2000
posts:25378
votes: 708


WebmasterWorld's members are not the typical user, however, the vast majority of us use mobile technology of some sort or another, whether it be a tablet, smartphone or even a laptop of some kind.

As a webmaster, I use desktop for all the big stuff, laptop when i'm out-and-about, tablet for casual surfing (if that's still the term to use) and e-mail, and smartphone for when i'm out-and-about and dealing with e-mail.

I could use a laptop as my main computer instead of a desktop, as long as I add accessories, such as a large screen, mouse and decent keyboard. SSD makes them lightening fast, although i've yet to be 100% convinced of reliability of the SSD.

Now there's a choice of powerful processors in a small package, I can't see how desktops will be anything other than specialised.
2:35 pm on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 5, 2006
posts:3441
votes: 54


I need a mouse and a proper keyboard but otherwise a laptop does most of what I need although once or twice a month a larger screen would be handy but not essential.
4:03 pm on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:14803
votes: 640


Computers have leveled off. It's no longer absolutely essential to get a new machine every few years, so obviously sales go down. Everyone who was going to get a computer already owns one. It's like cars: Pneumatic tires? Yeah, can't function without those, time to upgrade. Solid roof and glass windows all around? Yeah, need that, upgrade time. Self-starter? Can't believe I ever existed without one, time for another upgrade. But once you're past the first couple of decades, you can sit back and use your existing one until it falls apart.
4:27 pm on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

Administrator from GB 

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 9, 2000
posts:25378
votes: 708


>Computers have leveled off.

Yeah, the processor is now fast enough to cope with most programs, and memory is relatively cheap, both RAM and HD or even SSD. Even the HD has become relatively reliable.

Although, I suspect that MS might have built an OS to force some upgrades. [webmasterworld.com]
4:50 pm on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 22, 2002
posts:1751
votes: 0


No more noisy desktop computers here. I do everything on a laptop connected to a desktop display / keyboard / mouse and wired LAN. That way I have all I could possibly need when visiting clients.
5:47 pm on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:14803
votes: 640


I took desktop to mean "desktop and laptop" as opposed to tablet or smartphone. Sure, a laptop is technically mobile, but that's not what people mean when they say "mobile devices".
7:44 pm on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:11815
votes: 746


For popular use (beyond that of the student or tech professional) the laptop has morphed into the notebook with touchscreen, app support and cloud connectivity for universal file access. Many notebooks are hybrid with tablet features.

Yet another player in the decline of the Desktop computer.
7:36 am on July 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8349
votes: 642


All of this is the road back to centralized computing where a few control access by the many. Cloud only accelerates this desired outcome by the like of IBM, MS, G and FB.

Most who make a living on a computer already have one. Those coming up these days are users, not doers. In fact a large number of "webmasters" are actually cut and paste template users with large ambitions and no real qualifications.

What we are seeing is the shake out of USERS from the desktop market to their real toy of choice, the smart phone or tablet. That's why sales are down, but the death of desktop is a bit premature as the WORKERS will have need of those tools.

Up until the smart phone the only way to get on the web was with a desktop (or later, laptop) computer. This trend will continue as the users separate themselves from what they don't want ... and unwittingly become the fodder for centralized computing with their little mobile access points.
6:16 pm on July 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from CA 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 25, 2003
posts:1137
votes: 282


As Lucy24 mentions desktop sales (not necessarily desktop usage) have plateaued for cogent reasons noted plus mobile has taken, as it were, the internet on the move. It's not, to date, a zero sum game rather a cumulative one; the pie has grown to accommodate more than to replace.

Much depends on niche, of course, but where once it was people at work, at a community centre such as a library, or relatively few people at home now it is just about everyone because the smartphone (or two, three) is in almost everyones' pocket. The internet connected market has expanded at the same time that non-search access options such as social media have also exploded.

Devices are increasingly non-singular: smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, smartTV... people are increasingly doing activities serially and in parallel using device(s) at hand. Diversification (future proofing) is become much more than 'not just Google' or 'mobile friendly' or whatever. It is consideration of and implementation of device syncing/fingerprinting, content usable (to n-degree) on and off line, HTTP/2, IoT, etc. et al ad nauseum. All in conjunction with critical urgent security and privacy concerns.

And no one knows how all the current flux will settle or even how long it will last. I've been having fascinating conversations with professional futurists over the years and the spread between what they hope and what they fear has not been shrinking, if anything the opposite. I will keep right on down the positive roads and rage against the dying of the light before time.
Plus the new toys are such fun.
And the money's good.
6:25 pm on July 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from GB 

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 15, 2001
posts:7736
votes: 49


I certainly still use my desktop, I could probably go full time with the laptop, but I am just more productive sat at a desk with larger screen, keyboard and mouse. For casual surfing I use a mobile device or laptop, although I still prefer the laptop for this.

I feel that to an extent users are being handicapped by their choice of device. At one point in time designers would create attractive UI's, now with Mobile first that doesn't quite hold true. I would say that in general the web is a much uglier place now as opposed to say 5 years ago.

I see an upside though. Developers need real machines. If people are "making do" with their tablets and mobile devices that that leave more room within the industry for people to create things for them using our tools as opposed to toys. It may once again cause a divide between those who can and those who can't create.

Mack.
6:50 pm on July 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:14803
votes: 640


I think I've mentioned before that I was recently gobsmacked to hear an acquaintance say that her computer didn't have a keyboard. On further questioning, it turned out that her “computer” was an iPad. I wanted to--but didn’t--say: That's not a computer. It's a toy.

But that's why everyone keeps pointing out that this forum isn't representative. In my view, if you can't generate new material on it, it isn't a computer. Or even edit existing material: I would never dream of sending a raw multi-megabyte 3000x2000 photograph as an attachment to email. I edit it down to viewport size. But most users don't even know that that's an option, let alone have the capacity to do it.

Not long ago I had to explain that there was absolutely no need for me to put a watermark on a particular site's images, because those images are only 128x95 pixels, making them useless for unauthorized printing. Reaction: Wow, isn't she talented and clever. (For ### sake. If something is set to display only and exactly at 128x95, why would I force the site visitor to expend their bandwidth on something 50 times that size?) It just doesn't occur to the user on a smartphone that the reason a site loads up in 30 seconds instead of half an hour is that someone on a desktop did the extra work to make it happen that way.

Remember this [coding2learn.org]? (I hope I've linked to the original. It seems to have been copied a lot.)

Oh, yeah, and get off my lawn.
7:11 pm on July 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:11815
votes: 746


This shouldn't really be a this vrs. that kind of thing.

Coding and all Web Dev is obviously more productive on a larger screen and software needs the processing power, but I have a couple editors on my phone and an FTP client as well. My files are cloud based so I have access to them from anywhere I may be. I often do simple page edits to my site from my phone.

I don't think Desktops will go away completely, but they will become more specialized. They always were the wrong tool for most people who just needed email and a browser.
7:19 pm on July 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from GB 

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 15, 2001
posts:7736
votes: 49


To be honest I agree that in many cases something way more simple would have been more than enough. Most users just surf, check mail and stalk people on Facebook err I mean interact over social media.

Slightly OT: How many times did we head Bill Gates say the future was going to be tablets. Microsoft either didn't agree, or hedged their bets that the hardware companies would deliver the devices but MS would still be the OS monopoly. Someone missed the ball on that one.

Mack.
1:55 am on July 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:May 25, 2002
posts: 688
votes: 0


I suspect a lot of folks are in a situation like me. I have computers for personal use and for the small business (websites) at home.

The "upgrades" on the software side since Windows 7 are ... horrible, at best.

On the hardware side, I can add better monitors, RAM, SSDs, etc. - but the base performance of the CPUs (for a single core process) really hasn't improved in years.

I used to buy a new computer (alternating desktop and laptop) every year for the business. I haven't bought any in a few years, because the improvements are just not there.

(That being said, for most of my research and work, a lesser machine like a tablet or phone is just not acceptable.)
5:53 am on July 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 15, 2013
posts:784
votes: 69


There is a bit of a name-related issue here. I gave up my "desktop" about 10 years ago, in favor of a laptop. But I have a wireless keyboard and mouse on that laptop, then I have a 20-some-inch monitor on it, so it's virtually identical to a desktop. The difference is that I can unplug it and take it with me, when necessary.

At some point, I'll probably "upgrade" to a tablet, but only if it gives me the same option to plug in a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, and could use high resolution on it.

In fact, I'd happily switch it to a mobile device, if I had those same options.

In response to the mobile-first Google index, I think it's ridiculous. If I'm searching on a mobile device, then sure, show mobile first... but when I'm on desktop, what do I care whether the top sites are mobile friendly? Give me the sites that are the best response to my query!
7:09 am on July 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8349
votes: 642


What we are seeing the separation of need for x=workpotential from y=good enough,

Most of the web only requires "tinkertoys" to play email, social media, watch a flick or listen to music.

Those who PRODUCE the products for the tinkertoys will still have need of multicore (I run 8) for certain types of media ... and these are not generally found on Laptops or Tablets. Surface gets there in some respects.

A THOSE THAT DO vs THOSE WHO CONSUME (it, don't do work) and obviously the rift will increase as tinkertoys proliferate (and become stronger as well).

A mfgr of computing devices rather famous who is a personal friend and I have discussed this over the last two years and we have both come to the conclusion that the desktop is not only NOT dead, it will rebound and (sadly for most of us webmasters) jump in value, cost, and profit for processes that simply cannot be made small enough to fit in a "tinkertoy".

Then again that can all be wish dreams and we'll all migrate to cell phones as "good enough".
7:24 am on July 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:11815
votes: 746


"good enough?" ha, you need to get out more.

My surface pro 4 tablet has 16gig ram, 1 terabyte storage on ssd and uses a 7th gen quadcore i7. Enough processing power to run all the 3D graphics, VR, etc... and this is over a year old. Keep alert, there's some killer mobile stuff coming.

Desktop will never rebound for the average user who only wants email and social media.
8:56 pm on July 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:14803
votes: 640


Give me the sites that are the best response to my query!
I thought the point was that at bottom there's just one index. (Different thread.)

I don't know about mice, but the iPad can definitely use a bluetooth keyboard. This was admittedly more useful before my bluetooth keyboard died. But even then it felt ridiculous to use a keyboard that's bigger than the device it's connected to.
8:57 pm on July 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:11815
votes: 746


I thought the point was that at bottom there's just one index
Exactly (Different thread.)

it felt ridiculous to use a keyboard that's bigger than the device
But... but size isn't important (said no one ever.)
9:53 pm on July 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 21, 2002
posts:758
votes: 11


Smartphones have taken not a piece of the pie (of sales) but added their own. Many survey sites point to the decline in Netbook/Tablet to the phones catching up in screen surface real estate and speed. Some shift of desktop to laptop is mentioned as even low-end laptops are now capable enough to run most legacy apps.

Laptops now are entering the US market at ~50% of the price of the equivalent tower. Why? Volume cost reductions most likely. When a Tower PC fails this forces the user to look into their wallet. Budgets are tighter now for replacement buy cycles. A laptop works pretty well hooked up to the tower's orphaned monitor and keyboard.

Video capabilities in laptops have expanded greatly since 2016. Then 1280x768 was the best and only VGA externally was offered. Now almost all have gone past 1280 video (via HDMI) with some high-end ones (>$600 USD) offering 4K video.

USB 3 was held off most low-end laptops in 2016 and now is dominant (2016: one USB 3 and 2-3 USB 2 for high-end laptops)
6:15 am on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User from ZA 

joined:July 26, 2017
posts:2
votes: 1


Decline maybe , dead no. Most businesses are moving towards mac direction a lightweight very effective towerless pc , i believe besides all the benefits of having laptop or being able to do work on a pad , the desktop still offers in a sense a solid working space . Yes technology has advanced greatly in mobile devices but it has taken a while. It seems to me to design a stronger pc on something that isnt portable is much easier. I believe pads and laptops even phones will become supplements to the desktop pc. From a sales and advertising point of view and a little off topic , its a definite that customer use of desktops are are declining heavily.I think this is where you see a loss in sales. Maybe this will have an impact on employers , fact is the industry you work in will also play a role.
6:23 am on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:11815
votes: 746


Hello nesir and welcome to WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com]

You're making an argument from within the industry that uses the computer almost exclusively. That's not the point.

The stats do say that enthusiasts and computer professionals are not the defining dynamic in the decline of the Desktop, but the general public.
7:45 am on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8349
votes: 642


As most have already noted. :)

The sheeple, even with large capacity/vid options on their smart phones were never desktop users to start with.

The market is re-balancing between users and WORKERS.

As hammered time and again, at one time there was only one option to get on the web. That has changed and this is the result.
7:47 am on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8349
votes: 642


Secondary beauty is that smart phones, for the most part, cost MORE than worker desktops. (not all, but a good amount.)

The tech industry is in no trouble. Merely changing gears on output of devices for CONSUMERS.
7:50 am on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8349
votes: 642


Final thought: I can't see biz opting for mobile devices to do their biz when a desktop can be too large to carry, can be locked down, and all that other fun stuff. Desktop is not dead and perhaps is not in decline. The chaff is moving elsewhere and that can be a good thing.
10:42 am on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:11815
votes: 746


PC sales in 2016 were the lowest they’ve been in a decade
There's an interesting 11 year sales graph that shows the decline of Desktop sales over the last 5 years: [google.com...]

Mobile phone shipments, meanwhile, will improve from 1.893 billion in 2016 to 1.904 billion this year, according to the organization, and will see similar growth next year, rising to 1.936 billion shipments before levelling off and moving a projected 1.934 billion units in 2019
[campustechnology.com...]
6:12 pm on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 16, 2005
posts:2773
votes: 112


Sales are not the same as usage. I buy more mobile phones than PCs, because I replace them more often, but I spend a lot more time on my PC. The same is true for the majority of people who do, not just work like people here do, but the vast majority of office work. Try working on a large spreadsheet, or writing a long report, or editing a video to professional standards, or running a corporate accounts package on a phone.

To see what is really happening we need to separate home from work usage and sales, and look at any change in the replacement cycle too.
6:20 pm on July 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:11815
votes: 746


Sales are not the same as usage
Absolutely true. And this thread topic is about the *overall* decline of Desktop sales & use.
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members