There is no doubt tablets have made an impact on desktop sales. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that in 2013 229 million tablets will be sold compared to an estimated 134 million desktops. But that doesn’t mean that desktops are going the way of the horse and buggy.
Tablets are the hot new item, and with so many potential customers without a tablet, it’s easy to see why sales are out-pacing that of desktops, which so many households already have and might not need to replace. Tablets certainly offer a different experience than other computing devices which for some people can replace the desktop, but for most, it will simply be a supplement. Desktops aren’t going anywhere because they simply deliver performance that you can’t get on a mobile device.
Angry Birds is great, but there is a world of gaming that existed well before mobile devices, and tablets will not make a serious impact on this. In 2012, the video game industry brought in almost $7.1 billion. That is a sizable market and the majority of gamers still play on a dedicated desktop computer.
The reason desktop computers are so popular in the gaming world is the screen size and performance that a tablet just can’t match. The processors in laptops and mobile devices are designed with energy efficiency and limiting heat production in mind, whereas desktops aren’t concerned with battery life and are easier to keep cool. Faster processors and video cards lead to smooth, elegant graphics and game play that serious gamers aren’t going to sacrifice.
Typing on a tablet isn’t meant to last
Sure, there is a keyboard you can pull up on your screen to type in a search term, enter a password, or write a tweet, but if you’re creating documents, typing on the screen isn’t going to be efficient or very good for your wrists. Even tablets with an attachable keyboard often don’t provide an ergonomic option. You need a real keyboard to do real work.
That’s no way to watch a movie
There is a good reason you go to a movie theater to see movies; bigger is better. Movies aren’t just about a story and characters. The sound and visual effects are much of the reason we go to a movie. Watching a movie on an 8” screen is not even close to the full movie experience. A nice LED monitor in the 24–32” range with external speakers is going to be much more satisfying. And if you’re going to spend a couple hours of your time watching a movie, you should make it count.
You want the value of a desktop
There are a lot of factors that make desktops a better value than laptops and tablets. Smaller devices like tablets and laptops need smaller components to fit within the space constraints of the device, which tends to be lead to more expensive, lower-performance components. Whereas, a desktop, without space constraints, can use less expensive, better performing parts.
The more open construction of desktops also makes them easier and cheaper to repair and upgrade. If you want more memory on your desktop, with any mechanical aptitude, you can open up your computer and replace or upgrade the memory. Good luck opening up your tablet if you want to improve it.
Creatives need a desktop
Even though people in creative fields like graphic designers and writers tend to be early adopters, they still very much need the usability of a desktop. Adobe has done a good job of developing mobile apps to let tablet users have access to Photoshop and some other features from their creative suite which works well for the occasional user, but for professional designers and desktop publishers, there is no replacement for using InDesign or Illustrator on a full screen monitor with a mouse and keyboard. These people spend most of their day in front of a computer and they can’t go without the right tools
The workhorse remains
In the long run, desktop computers are still the tried-and-true workhorse of the computing world. The power, value, and display of a desktop just can’t be matched in a laptop or tablet. Because of that professionals that need a computer will always come back, even though tablets provide a nice solution to getting some tasks done on the go, and gamers will keep on gaming.