Story 2014-09-01 2RYX Tablet sales are down; PC sales are up. What the heck?

Tablet sales are down; PC sales are up. What the heck?

in hardware on (#2RYX)
story imageTechcrunch is onto a mystery that should be no surprise to anyone who uses these things on a daily basis: tablet sales are waning, while sales of computers are actually rebounding. Author and former CIO Peter Yared has the solution: Businesses Need Super Tablets.
As the former CIO at CBS Interactive, I would have bought such super tablets in droves for our employees, the vast majority of whom primarily use only a web browser and Microsoft Office. There will of course always be power users such as developers and video editors that require a full-fledged PC. A souped-up tablet would indeed garner corporate sales, as Tim Cook would like for the iPad " but only at the expense of MacBooks.

The cost of managing PCs in an enterprise are enormous, with Gartner estimating that the total cost of ownership for a notebook computer can be as high as $9,000. PCs are expensive, prone to failure, easy to break and magnets for viruses and malware. After just a bit of use, many PCs are susceptible to constant freezes and crashes.
What say the Pipedot faithful: Is this just a twist in the business cycle? Would a super-tablet convince you to dust off the credit card? Or is TechCrunch just grasping at straws?
Reply 15 comments

Super tablets won't be cheaper than PCs (Score: 3, Insightful)

by on 2014-09-01 19:01 (#2RZ0)

PCs are expensive, prone to failure, easy to break and magnets for viruses and malware.
The claim that super tablets would improve on those aspects doesn't sound very realistic to me. If tablet hardware is equally powerful as PC hardware, but has to be lightweight and run on a battery, it will be more expensive. A stationary PC is also less likely to break than a portable tablet of equal build quality.

How prone a machine is to viruses and malware depends on a lot of factors, such as OS, obscurity of the platform, level of clue from both the admins and the users etc. None of those factors are related to the hardware: if a tablet OS is easier to secure and still flexible enough for the users to get their job done, why not install a tablet OS on PC hardware?

The only advantage of a super tablet over a laptop is the form factor: it is easier to carry around. That can be important in some companies. But it will cost extra, not less.

Re: Super tablets won't be cheaper than PCs (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2014-09-01 19:57 (#2RZ3)

All very good points. There's also the repairability factor: the company I work for regularly services its PCs (boring old Dell and HP boxes), replaces burned network cards and so on. If your ipad goes, you buy a new ipad. There's value in both approaches, but it's not mix-and-match. I think this guy wrote an article he hopes will get the market to respond with some new product that doesn't exist so he can go out and pat himself on the back for being a visionary. I don't see those super-tablets arriving any time soon now, and I'm not convinced this guy even understands the market at the moment.

Re: Super tablets won't be cheaper than PCs (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-09-01 20:13 (#2RZ4)

PCs aren't all like that quote says. However, PCs with the windows operating system installed on them certainly are. :)

Seriously, I see people and companies make that mistake all the time. PC != Windows.

Re: Super tablets won't be cheaper than PCs (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-02 16:01 (#2S06)

PC != Windows.
Although I kinda agree with you, the statement "PC == Windows" still has a pretty good 90% accuracy. Besides, it is unfortunately very representative of the way many people (especially management) look at PCs in enterprises: Windows boxes (and often worse: Windows boxes without admin privileges).

At work, we, Linux or OSX users (not to talk about the BSD ones), are still the outliers, the weird guys with limited support, if any, from the IT department.

Web Browsing (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2014-09-01 22:36 (#2RZ9)

Some say that the web is the killer app for tablets. Unfortunately, I find modern websites very hard to use on my own tablet. Even though I have a newer 4 core tablet with a couple gigs of RAM, the device still struggles with the JavaScript laden sites so common on today's web. Also, some JavaScript navigation widgets, such as the venerable drop-down menu, are just impossible to use on a touchscreen without a mouse.

Long story short, I'd much rather browse the web on a desktop than try to suffer through the slower tablet experience.

Not surprising at all, in fact. (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-09-01 23:07 (#2RZB)

It was always obvious that tablets were a fad device. Apple only sold so many of them because Apple isn't selling electronic devices, they're selling religion. And people buying iPads weren't buying them because they were tablets, they were buying them out of a sense of religious duty. Everybody else, however, had no need for them. That's why no other vendor has had success selling tablets. They're a device that nobody really wants.

Re: Not surprising at all, in fact. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-02 12:01 (#2RZW)

On the contrary, Android has done quite well. A lot of people do buy apple products just because they think it's cool, hip, the best, or that there is no other choice (even though the educated know there are good alternatives). I've been very happy with my Android tablet. It doesn't do everything, but I still find it useful, and it's not an apple product.

Re: Not surprising at all, in fact. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-02 12:52 (#2RZY)

Yeah, me too. I bought a Nexus 7 as an experiment/trial and wound up liking it more than I'd expected. Add a bluetooth keyboard and it does a lot of what I need to do. For serious console work though I go back to my desktop, with a real keyboard, trackball, better apps, etc. For $199 in 2012 it was basically a no brainer.

I will never get rid of my PC (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2014-09-01 23:59 (#2RZC)

It's nice to have a computer by a desk, with a proper monitor and proper input devices, and to be able to quickly add and switch hardware such as disks.

Tablets and PCs aren't even comparable in many cases since they often have very different uses. That said, I really like my Nexus 7, but it can never replace a PC. The only thing that can replace a PC in most areas is a laptop.

Re: I will never get rid of my PC (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-02 00:04 (#2RZD)

Let me also make it clear that with "PC", in the above comment, I meant desktop computer. :-)

I guess everyone has one by now (Score: 4, Interesting)

by on 2014-09-02 00:23 (#2RZE)

A tablet I mean. Well, at least everyone who wanted one anyway.

My iPad 2 is still fine for everything I want to do with it. I don't need a new one. But I might actually buy one in A4 size when the time comes to replace the old one.

And of course, I need a desktop computer. A tablet can't replace that. (No, not even some surface thingie.)

Re: I guess everyone has one by now (Score: 3, Insightful)

by on 2014-09-02 00:27 (#2RZF)

Oh, and I want to add, if your desktop machine is prone to failure, easily breaks, is a magnet for viruses and malware and after just a bit of use is susceptible to constant freezes and crashes - you are doing it wrong!

People want better OS (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2014-09-02 07:00 (#2RZM)

People are really tried of slow and bad working Windows. They associate PC with this problem. People bought pads because they got something that seem to be faster and easier to work with... Then they realized what I always been saying:
With very few exceptions, a pad is useless as you want to produce text also. Already writing this comment on Pipedot would be terrible with a pad. We need keyboards. I see two options in the future; better OS for tradtional ultalight noteboks or hybrides where the keyboard is sold together with the pad and easily removable those few times you just want to hold the pad in one hand.

I have seen a rise in interest for Linux the latest time. Tomorrow I will install Linux for an old lady that got tired of Windows. She called me and asked me if I could install Linux for her.

The consumer is full (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2014-09-02 11:26 (#2RZT)

People cried, the tablet is the new PC, and PCs are dead. I said Baloney. The only reason PC sales dipped and tablet sales spiked was because it was the hot new toy, everyone wanted one, and for some stupid reason everyone thought they could do just as much with a tablet as they could a desktop/laptop. And there is a lot you can do with a tablet, but it will not replace the desktop. I am not going to write and edit large documents on any sort of tablet. I will not do most of my gaming on a tablet. I will not administer numerous Linux and Windows boxes/VMs on a tablet. I'm not going to develop or compile code on a tablet. You can make it as powerful as you like, but the interface isn't sufficient, and like many have pointed out above, the battery life would suck, or more accurately, be sucked.

He wants a Super Tablet to fix his PC problem. (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-09-02 19:49 (#2S09)

Can I be the one to remind him a tablet is still a computer, just like my smart phone, desktop and game console? Good management and upkeep is what most of these people/companies need, not swapping hardware for a new problem.