7 Ways to Reboot the Crashing PC Market

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.

AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. mirekk Says:

    Can’t say no to that!

  2. Boopoo Says:

    I’ll second the call for higher res screens. It’s ridiculous a tiny tablet can beat a laptop or HEY A DESKTOP in resolution.

    You also forgot number 8: If Laptop review site wants people to read their articles they’ll format them so the entire article is available on a single page not forcing me to click 10 times for tiny bites of information. Doubtless this idiocy is a direct result of a desire to advertise… or I assume so, but these days many of us are using browser ad ons like ad block and ghostery so we don’t see any of that crap.

  3. Owen Says:

    I agree with all points made here.Particularly, I applaud that you actually suggested improving the new start menu instead of just tossing it out all together. I see it as an interesting play ground, but it’s definitely out of place the way it is now. ModernMix and Start8 define it properly

    As for the other points, I completely agree. Only problem is they will not be (probably) implemented. I want to stay optimistic, but these kinds of articles always sound great and make sense to us, but for whatever reason “business” sense and those in charge see things very very differently.

  4. LinuxMan Says:

    I also agree with all the points stated.
    Although it may fall under “build quality”, I would like to mention that overall laptop designs are plain boring and mostly using black shiny plastics. How about some new form, different material or color scheme, etc.
    Besides Apple’s MacBooks, Asus’s Zenbooks, Samsung’s Series 9 and 7 and maybe Acer’s S7, there is hardly anything there beyond black or gray plastic blob!

  5. Bobby Says:

    My experience does not validate the assertion that Windows 8 gets in the way of productivity. It works great and is easy and fun to use.

  6. Jason Says:

    I can’t really disagree with anything here, but it kind of sounds like ‘I want a Macbook Pro that runs Windows, and I want it for $500-$700.’ This is actually a constant frustration with me when it comes to this magazine. It’s incredibly difficult to get a good read on how good a budget-mid-range laptop is, because the reviewers don’t seem to take value into consideration. For instance, whenever I read about screen brightness for a 4 lb or less laptop, I almost always see it in the range of 120-180 lux range in that price range, and yet the reviewers insist on saying that the average for the category is somewhere around the 250 range. I’ve read more than enough reviews to realize that this ‘category’ is considering models well outside of the price range. So the review of any budget laptop ends up sounding more like an extended whine about it not being a $500 MBP. Articles like this are basically an extension of that. It really just reads like a report from Captain Obvious. Sure we’d all love all of this stuff for $500, but let’s be real. By the time most of this stuff is available for $500, you guys will want something better. If you want it now, then it costs more. It always has. Since the average PC purchase is for a machine around $500, I’d really prefer to read something that realistically talks about what a manufacturer can do to improve a $500 machine now without making it into a tablet, and yes that would include talking about how much power the average user really needs, where sacrifices can be made, and how the market is shifting to put emphasis on different elements of the machines.

  7. Iyan Sommerset Says:

    Wait, lemme get this straight…first you want extended battery life. Then you want to use more electricity by taxing the CPU (high cpu-usage apps)and GPU (higher resolution)? Make up your mind!

  8. Fiskar Says:

    The article forgets the most important hardware that manufacturers need to add into their product, SSD as standard. Then I will buy and upgrade (when windows 8 is sorted out). That and a touchscreen for web browsing on the laptop as standard.

  9. MDJMDJ Says:

    This is a crazy article that’s says better hardware at a cheaper price and like Iyan says with no piratical relation to power consumption.

    The PC market is falling because for a period of time people began replacing things in there lives with PCs they were there TVs, game consoles music players and these functions required substantial computing power. Now these functions can largely be done by other computing machines phones, set top boxes and tablets. this has extended the upgrade cycle on laptops and desktops.

    People are replacing not upgrading. There are two solutions to this “upgrade for style” and iphone like model that uses trends to cause a fast upgrade cycle or the introduction of new tech. for this to work the tech has to add a new feature not improve on a existing one. SDDs will only cause upgrades for people that want performance not the average consumer

  10. Hints Says:

    IMHO manufacturers should quit the consumer market, which will be destroyed by tablets anyway, and concentrate to professional laptops with high quality machines.

    ‘I want a Macbook Pro that runs Windows, and I want it for $500-$700.’
    No. As a professional developer I’d spend 2k for a MBP that runs any OS I like (I’d go with a Linux distribution) and can be upgraded witj more RAM, more disc, had a replaceable battery, 3-buttons touchpad, quiet, not too wide, a 16:10 screen (4:3 would be best). But it should be better than a MBP. Pricing it at the same level is not enough.

  11. Marcus Rhodes Says:

    … FIX THE FREAKING KEYBOARDS!! They need to be backlit, sculpted (No more chicklets!), and have dedicated, FULL-SIZE navigation keys, not those double-mapped and/or micro-sd-card-sized cursor keys. There’s a reason Apple doesn’t completely dominate the laptop market. We hate their keyboards! But if PC laptop keyboards are all going to mimic Apple’s abysmal products, why not switch?

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