Once upon a time, on the flashest sods in a company would be armed with laptops and mobile phones. The costs associated with these technologies were prohibitive.
But things have changed. A lot.
KitGuru takes a peak at the stats and wonders how much worse things can get for the desktop market.
From the end of the nineties, market experts waited eagerly for one particular prediction to come true. That prediction was, “The sale of laptop devices will overtake desktop systems” – and it took much longer to happen than anyone predicted.
Essentially, the desktop product extended its reign at the top with the tumbling price of large scale TFT screens (no one was that keen to move from a >18″ to a 12/14″ screen), huge improvements in graphics capabilities (desktop graphics were painfully slow) and a massive ramp up in the power of the main CPU (especially with the advent of Conroe and Intel's Core programme).
But it could not last. The temptation to be able to work on your own desktop – with your own data – wherever you are, was too tempting. Apple played a part as well, wethinks.
The beady bean counters at the British Educational Supplies Association reckon that schools and colleges made the transition past 50:50 around a year ago (i.e. the past 12 months has seen more laptops bought by UK establishments, than desktops, for the very first time). While keeping laptops juiced up and safe in a school is not easy, the increased flexibility is too much of a draw – so the laptop overtook the desktop in the hardest market.
So how does the overall market sit? Well the wonderful analysts down at IDC reckon that the total UK market for ‘things that act a lot like a computer' will be around 19 million over the next 12 months, the hardware vendors themselves believe that almost 3 million desktops will shift – alongside more than 8 million laptops. That's close to a 3:1 ratio. Impressive stuff. Owners of laptops will be dancing. Surely.
Pushing sales in the desktop market is about as hard as it can be. And it will get a little harder in the months to come. That said, there must be a lower limit, below which desktop sales cannot easily fall. Could that spell good news for companies that make ‘high power PCs', because – surely – the only reason to have a desktop in the future will be to have extreme power on your desktop.
KitGuru says: All of these figures have created callouses on our abacus fingers. That said, the numbers do beg a new question: When will the sale of non-traditional PCs overtake the desktops and laptops. Right now, it's 11 million plays 8 million. Anyone care to bet against ‘less than 2 years' ?
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