Blaming the lull in PC sales on high prices for touch-based PCs is a theme we've been hearing for months. In January, PCWorld reported that Windows 8 notebooks didn't sell well during the 2012 holiday season partly due to price. Then, in early April, we saw Windows 8 hybrid and tablet prices slashed, Windows RT device pricing also fell during that time, and we even caught some Windows 7 PCs priced higher than their Windows 8 counterparts.
On Monday, financial news site MarketWatch went so far as to say PC prices were hitting "Black Friday-style deals."
All of this cheaper pricing, we're told, should help prop up the sagging PC market, especially later in the year when touch-based PCs running Windows 8 become more commonplace. But what if that's not the case at all? With PC computing power and speed hitting a wall, what if all the excitement has finally gone out of the PC market as everyone turns to tablets and smartphones for everyday computing?
What if the PC really is turning into the microwave: just another home appliance you replace only when it breaks down? Forty percent of the global PC population, after all, is still using Windows XP, an operating system that has seen three major refreshes since XP debuted in 2001.
Intel may have a tough time predicting prices for future PCs but, even if the company's predictions hold true, cheaper PCs may not be enough. There's no guarantee, after all, that holiday shoppers will prefer a $200 Windows 8 laptop just because it has a touchscreen. Not when you can pick up an equally priced Android tablet such as the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire that can fit in your back pocket.
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