Technological convergence: Is the era of personal computers coming to an end?

In 2016, at this point, almost 10 years after the release of the first Iphone and six after the first Ipad came out (yes, we’re that old) we all realise how much time we spend on our smart devices. We’re all aware how much we need them, whether we are using them for serious purposes or just for entertainment.

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Yet, if we look at the figures, the stats are still surprising. Just three years ago a Nielsen study, conducted in the U.S, U.K and Italy, found that in all three countries people were spending more time on their mobiles than their PCs. Another interesting stat, is that TV still dominates overall monthly usage, although that could change in the future.

AVERAGE TIME SPENT PER PERSON BY PLATFORM

U.S. U.K. Italy
Monthly TV time spent 185 hours 129 hours, 54 minutes 143 hours, 20 minutes
Monthly online time spent 26 hours, 58 minutes 29 hours, 14 minutes 18 hours, 7 minutes
Monthly mobile time spent 34 hours, 21 minutes 41 hours, 42 minutes 37 hours, 12 minutes
Source: Nielsen

PHOTO: NIELSEN

The portability and practical convenience of these devices made them the real technological revolution in recent years, one that could mark the end of PCs.  According to the International Data Corporation, 87% of connected devices sales in 2017 will be Smartphones and Tablets. In addition, market share will be at 5%, whereas in 2013 it was 8.6%.

However, even if smartphones and tablets are more popular today,  PCs still play a relevant factor in our lives. The main reason is there are still things that a smart device can’t do. I prefer to use a PC to write essays, articles or for any other academic purpose.

I just don’t feel comfortable enough when dealing with a touchscreen keyboard and a screen smaller than 15″. Moreover, many softwares still require an actual computer. An example could be Adobe’s editing softwares as well as more elaborate video games that mobiles cannot yet support from both a technical standpoint and an overall experience one.

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. I find this an interesting idea however I do agree that there are certain things that I believe a mobile phone could never do. Editing and writing essays for me could never be done on a mobile unless they got far bigger screens, which defeats the point of having a device you can carry in your pocket. I find that PCs are also improving all the time to keep up with the change in mobiles, and instead of one taking over the other, I believe that these devices will develop in tandem to create a better user experience.

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  2. Technology has indeed become a significant part of our lives. Fortunately or unfortunately – it is up to each one of us to decide. Despite how much I’d like to deny it, I feel helpless and lost without my smartphone; and this is the case with many of us, as noticed. Yet, your provided table shows a completely different reality, which has left me wondering. However, in my opinion, this will change in a short future – it is a lot easier and practical to watch favourite shows on phone or laptops after all, isn’t it? But to talk about the end of PCs is a bit too early now to my mind. As you already spotted and stated computers are still way ahead of smartphones in terms of abilities – and no student would be willing to prepare an essay on his tiny iPhone or Samsung screen. At least, not me.

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  3. I think that as mobile phones are designed to be easy to carry they essentially underperform on functions that are set to be achieved on a bigger machine. We can watch films on our phones but it would never be as good as on a big screen computer (or…in the cinema ). So that’s why I believe mobile devices cannot replace PCs.

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  4. I don’t think that the ‘personal computer era’ will end anytime soon, although smart phones and tablets are extremely powerful, having a touch screen as the sole input is not adequate for complex tasks such as editing. Microsoft’s Surface Pro is designed to be compatible and powerful enough to run Adobe’s Creative Suit, yet we still use regular desktops to edit content.

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