Tech.Pinions’ Ben Bajarin observes that the personal computer as defined by desktop and clamshell form factors was, for many years, the only PC in our lives, but now we have tablets and smartphones which have usurped the value of the market once attributed to traditional PCs.
Bajarin says he’s convinced that the traditional PC is no longer valued the same way that smartphones and tablets are in today’s market, partly because most consumers never felt knowledgeable about how to use their PC, with a huge computer literacy gap between early adopters and the majority, and that common light computing tasks like browsing the web, email, light gaming, word processing, instant messaging, etc., and the the PC subject to very much a love/hate relationship with many consumers.
Consequently, Bajarin predicts the future holds an appliance like role for PCs, still palying important roles but not necessarily everyday roles or even central roles and used only when needed. Consumers will hold on to PCs longer, something that is happening arleady, and also will buy them more with a budget mindset refusing to pay premium prices, and with upgrade cycles simply going to be longer, in the 4-5 year range or even longer, the way people replace T.V sets and refrigerators.
Bajarin thinks the PCs as trucks metaphor is apt, noting that trucks are valued to some but not all (your editor has two), and that those who know they need a truck for work or something else will be willing to pay for them.
The bottom line, he says, is that the PC today simply has a longer shelf life, and that’s the new normal, so the industry will have to adjust.