The smart money says that laptops and desktops are dead, replaced by tablets and smartphones. According to a new report from analyst firm IDC, Global PC shipments were 13.9 percent lower in Q1 of 2013 than during the same period last year, the largest decline ever. But handheld devices aren’t cannibalizing PC sales, older PCs are.
If you have a working 3- or 4-year-old PC, you have few reasons to upgrade and one really big reason to stand pat: the new Windows 8 operating system that makes it harder to get things done. While laptops have virtually stood still (or even gotten worse), tablets and phones have raced forward with a host of compelling new features in 2013 that you couldn’t get in 2012. If PC vendors want to get people excited about their products again, they need to step up their game in these seven ways.
Users still need PCs and always will because their larger screens, better keyboards and faster processors make them infinitely better at multitasking and productivity tasks than tablets. By burying the multi-window desktop in favor of full-screen apps with low- information density, Windows 8 turns your PC into a unitasker. You can actually get a better multitasking experience view with the Dual View feature on Samsung’s Galaxy 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II, which lets you split the screen evenly between two apps, than with Windows’ new Modern UI, which gives you just one full screen app plus a sliver of a second.
PC OEMs should either start selling more new computers with Windows 7 on them or configure Windows 8 to boot straight to the desktop and run a third-party Start menu replacement. Microsoft could also help by improving its interface to make it more multitasking friendly than Windows 7 rather than less.