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The PC's future has never been brighter--because tablets are PCs too

Brad Chacos | May 31, 2013
Don't let tales of plunging PC sales fool you. The rise of tablets and every hybrid in between show how PCs are evolving rather than dying.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Or to put the precipitous decline of the PC industry more aptly, it appears as though the bottom is finally falling out.

After a devastating first quarter saw all major PC manufacturers (except Lenovo) post losses in double-digit percentages, the analysts at IDC recently revised their forecasts to predict a whopping 7.8 percent decline in PC shipments this year. That's a Very Bad Thing by all accounts--especially since last year's 4 percent decline already had the PC industry reeling.

Here's the thing, though: All of those forecasts are dead wrong. Chicken Little, the sky ain't falling. In fact, consumer hunger for PCs has never been stronger, as long as you adjust for what what you might call an accounting error.

A rose by any another name is still a rose. And tablets--the very tormentors causing the old PC guard such intense pain--are truly PCs, despite fevered claims to the contrary.

Don't shoot the messenger!
Calm down there, bub. Put down that torch and pitchfork.

I'm as diehard a PC guy as diehard PC guys come. I just built a new desktop from scratch, spending an inordinate amount of time fussing with my cable management. I've messed around with case modding. Overclocking? Been there, done that. (Overclocking RAM isn't worth the hassle, by the way.) Heck, I even puzzled out how to eliminate the modern UI from Windows 8 because, well, you'll pry the desktop from my cold, dead hands.

So, yeah, I love PCs--but my computers extend beyond my desktop. Next to my hulking quad-core tower sits a small stack of laptops. One's a Windows 8 hybrid. Next to them is my Raspberry Pi. Next to that sits my Nexus 7, silently beckoning me to open my Pocket, Pulse, and Netflix apps. I also have an old Windows XP slate computer tablet thingie, which works absolutely horribly thanks to its diminutive display. And I'd love to add one of these monstrous bad boys to the mix.

And what about cutting-edge Perceptive Pixel displays? Or PCs operated by voice control or Leap Motion, or the crazy machinations being dreamed up by the mad scientists at Microsoft Research?

You see where I'm going here. Form is not function.

Tablets are PCs, too|
This may sound like sacrilege in the precincts of PCWorld, but I've always considered tablets to be more an evolved form of PC than a whole new beast. And don't give me that "But they're glorified phones!" nonsense either.

"I believe that today's tablets, especially ones that are 10 inches and above, are more an extension of the PC than [of] the phone," says Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. "The depth of experience with a large display is much more PC-like."


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