The PC: why isn’t it dead as yet?

In light of predictions to the contrary, the PC is still alive and kicking. Here we highlight three factors that have contributed to its longevity.

If the pundits are to be believed, the personal computer (PC) should have been dead and gone by now. The PC, a category which includes the desktop computer,the workstation and the laptop, is nearly 40 years old, starting with the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) in 1977, as the first successfully mass marketed device. With the release of the tablet computer and the smartphone, and the exponential growth experienced over the past several years, there was a sense that either one or both of those devices would ultimately have eclipse the PC, and relegated it to the annals of history

However, although PC sales have been declining, tablets sales have not been performing as well as initially projected, and those for smartphones are also showing signs of slowing down (Source: IDC). Interestingly, tablet sales are being bolstered by the models that mimic a PC, that is, tablets that have a detachable keyboard, such as the Microsoft Surface Pro (Source: CNET).

Ironically, in its recent suite of ads, Microsoft compares its most latest offering, the Surface Pro 4, to the Apple MacBook, with the former (of course) being deemed the better device, as the video clip below illustrates. However, what is becoming increasingly obvious, is that the tablet may be morphing into a laptop – with a detachable laptop and touchscreen.

At this juncture, it seems that the the PC will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the personal electronic market. Below are three factors that have contributed to the PC’s longevity.

It is still the go-to device in the business environment

Although tablets are also popular in the workplace, to varying degrees, and especially in the Caribbean, they are considered luxury devices that typically, are assigned to senior executives, than to lower-tiered staff. Having said this, and unlike the tablet, the PC, especially the desktop, workstation and laptop, tends to be the workhorse of an office, as considerable productivity can be realised. Without a keyboard, in particular, the tablet is frequently used for taking quick notes, but not necessarily to produce extensive documents, although it can be done.

It has been able to evolve

Starting from its humblest beginnings in the late 1970s, the PC has continually evolved over the years, with the changes ranging from design and aesthetics, to improved processing power and the manufacture of smaller and lighter products. It has also been one of the spheres in which the continual technological improvements that were occurring – such with respect to processing power, storage, size weight, and even the Operating System – were not only evident, but also quickly incorporated into mass market products, with prices dropping along the way.

Its almost singular function has remained unchanged

Without a doubt, the PC is a productivity device, which it does extremely well. In an environment, in which smartphones and tablets essentially have replaced some standalone devices, such as the camera and the digital audio player, there is still a place for the PC. It is especially useful for desktop publishing, presentation creation, intensive researching, to name a few, in which its processing power, its ease of use and efficiency of operation, truly shine.


Image credit:  chollingsworth3 (flickr)



  • Additionally, most smart devices faced with an environment requiring any “heavy-lifting” only flourish if wi-fi is available. The humble PC does that with the network cable.

    Cable connectivity is always stable with less susceptibility to interference. This stability is essential in less office-set environments, such as back office warehouses and online sales fulfillment centres.

    The fragility of the smart devices, probably is another factor that makes them less cost-effective in the tasks and environments where the PC customarily triumphs.

  • PCs aren’t going anywhere, and those pundits who’ve said otherwise were either naive or simply seeking attention. It is not possible for most people to be anywhere near as productive on a phone or even a touchscreen tablet as they can be on a machine with an actual keyboard. Sure, mobile devices have eaten into PC market share that was going towards devices for consuming information, but they will never replace workstations and laptops used by those who produce it.

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