About 3 or 4 years ago I was talking with my wife and a colleague of hers that worked in the mobile industry. This person and my wife thought that the mobile industry would explode, and it’s impact and expansion would dwarf the PC revolution that had most of our companies buying new machines every two to three years.
I think that is part of what is happening with this article on the hemorrhaging of the PC industry. I see quite a few people moving to the mobile space, and using smart phones, texting, and more to handle the needs of their lives. The growth of tablets as well is changing the world. I see more and more non-technical adults carrying tablets to do their work. Kendall’s volleyball coach, our Scoutmaster, and more are using tablets, and ( I am guessing here), sticking with an older computer at home when they need it.
There’s also the factor that we can get so much done on any device that we don’t need that many. These days email, video, audio, browsing, and camera work can happen on almost any device.
The use of older hardware is another issue. We don’t see the fantastic pace of growth in hardware occurring anymore. I know machines get more powerful, but it doesn’t seem to be happening as quick as in the past. Part of this may be psychological with the clock speed ratings not changing as quickly, but it’s also that the technology seems to be focusing on power improvements more than anywhere else. Even the core growth has tailed off. I just bought a laptop, 4 years after my previous Windows laptop. They both had quad core chips, and while the new one seems to be faster, it’s not substantially faster.
Hardware not speeding up, tablets and phones, but there’s something else as well. Microsoft did a fantastic job with Windows 7. In many cases people are finding that the OS is faster and slimmer, without the bloat of previous versions. One can actually put Windows 7 on older hardware and it will run great. I know lots of people are still running Windows XP, which works fine, but even if they upgrade, they don’t need to move to new hardware o do so. I suspect that other OSes are in similar situations. The software is so good, there’s no reason to upgrade.
All of this isn’t good or bad. It just means a changing industry, and PC makers should both learn to adapt to new form factors (tablets), but also expect that we will buy fewer devices in the future.