Is it the end of the desktop era? Will the home computer be replaced by a tablet in the kitchen? Recent statistics seems to indicate so. But whats the reason behind this shift from desktop to mobile? Why are desktop computers becoming an endangered species?
Lets take a look:
Buying a desktop computer or even a laptop is a pricey affair. Recent statistics show that the average computer in 2015 costs roughly $379. Smartphones these days aren’t much cheaper; at an average cost of $297. However what makes the mobile market ‘cost effective’ per say, is the pricing plans offered. Nearly all smartphones sold these days are sold with a pricing plan. I.e the phone is “free” or very cheap. The catch is; you’re tied to a contract from anywhere from 12-24 months.
In June through August, 51 percent of iPhone sales were made through installment or off-contract plans, 37 percent via traditional contracts and 12 percent with prepaid plans. For the same period, 46 percent of Android phones were sold through installment or no-contract plans, 15 percent via traditional contracts and 39 percent were prepaid.
People are more likely to finance a phone than a computer, considering that modern smartphones are rapidly making their bigger counterparts obsolete in many areas of use, as well being a phone!
Ease of Use
Plain and simply, when you have a computer in your pocket, why not use it instead? This is probably the main reason why the mobile market is gathering so much steam. Most people wont want to use their computer (be it a laptop, or more extremely, a desktop) while on the bus, in the car, at the dinner table, during a meeting, etc. You get my point: The mobile device is just easier.
Nearly 50% of facebooks users are mobile only, in that they literally never touch a desktop while using the service. And why should they? If all the functionality they need is on their phone whats the point of using a computer?
Increased Processing Power
In accordance with Moore’s Law, computing power is set to double every 24 months. This applies to our mobile phones too. We are about to reach the stage where we can comfortably do all our computing tasks on our mobile device.
Chipmaker ARM believes that with its new chips announced last week—a new Cortex-A72 processor and Mali-T880 GPU—we’ll be able to count on our smartphones to do all the tasks we currently need a computer to do. The company is so confident of this, it’s projecting a date when we can go phone-only: 2016.
The desktop wont be replaced for highly specialised uses like software development and image processing, but for the average user, I foresee that they wont have a use for their desktop anymore.
The Developing World
For those in many developing countries, a smartphone is their first computer and their only Internet-connected device. In the emerging market, smartphone volume to grew to 920.8 million units accounting for 73.5% of all volume shipped in 2014.
A reason for this is the abundance of new, affordable smartphones. These allow the giants like Google, Microsoft and Huawei to penetrate these emerging markets as well as giving the population access to the smartphone, along with the perks that come with it, such as internet access.
So is the future really mobile? I think so, at least for the everyday user. Facebook, one of the largest and most profitable companies of our generation, reported that 70% of it’s $3.54bn revenue is now from mobile.
But the desktop wont die. It is still a key component of many peoples lives, including my own. I just don’t see it having a future amongst the casual users of tomorrow.