Are PCs Doomed?


Greetings, Leo! I’m retired and depend on my PC for communication, personal business, writing, maintaining a modest website, research, education, and entertainment. These days, I constantly read about the end of the PC era. What’s your opinion of the future of PCs, especially for home users? Please advise.

In my opinion, the death of the PC has been grossly exaggerated. They are not doomed. They are not going away anytime soon, for several different reasons.

Long live the PC

Lately, the rise of alternative devices has led to a fair amount of “PCs are doomed” hysteria. The problem is there are still many tasks that are better suited to the PC form and its power.

For example, things like video editing and graphics work are still significantly easier and often more precise on a PC or a PC-like form than they are on alternatives. For those and many other tasks, desktop PCs remain the mainstay of the office — and in fact, most workplaces.

As long as they continue to be a key staple for the office, PCs will be available for the home.

There’s nothing like a real keyboard

I use all of the different kinds of devices throughout the day and I have to say that nothing beats a real keyboard.

While keyboards are available on some of the smaller devices, like tablets and even phones for that matter, they’re still not the same. It’s still a tablet with a small keyboard, or a phone with an even smaller keyboard. For people trying to produce content, the full-sized keyboards associated with desktop PCs and laptops are the only way to go.

New devices doing different things

I will say that the balance is tipping. Many new devices provide a level of convenience that PCs or laptops never could.

For example, laptops are extremely portable, but not in the same way that my smartphone is. I can stick that in a pocket. Tablets are great for reading, and I have one for just that purpose.

These new portable devices have enabled new types of interactions and activities that simply wouldn’t be feasible with laptops and desktop PCs. That’s great. They’re different devices doing all kinds of things.

And there’s overlap. I can read email on my phone or tablet. But I’ll still come back to my desktop to reply if my reply is likely to be of any length. I certainly can’t see myself writing articles like this on anything but a PC or PC-like device for quite some time.

While the number of PCs may go down somewhat, and the ratio of PCs to mobile devices may change over time, they will not be going away any time soon. They’re just too darned useful.

Originally published as Are PCs Doomed? on Ask Leo!