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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
Year In Review: 2008 Computer Hardware Industry Failure
2008: The Reason PC Lost
2009: Console Makes Gaming
Notebooks End Desktop Era
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Notebooks End Desktop Era

Console gaming systems are winning over gamers in large number, and often supply 3-5 years of top-end performance before a new system arrives. Desktop computers on the other hand, see a new video card offered almost monthly. The games remain the same, more or less, but the hardware keeps getting bigger and more expensive. So it's no surprise that desktop computer have left little reason for consumers to occupy an entire corner of the room with a collection of costly components.

This section may not contain the historical trends that the previous sections have, but the statistics are showing a trend. Desktop computers, which for years have been a lifeline for web browsing, e-mail, and video games, are no longer necessary. Notebook computers, and to a lesser degree ultra-portable mobile (UMPC) devices and netbooks like the MSI Wind and ASUS Eee PC, have assumed these roles for less cost and smaller footprint.


Added for good measure are the enhancements made to the compact computing segment. Small LCD screen have better resolution and clarity than before, wireless cellular Internet access can be built-into a device, and DVD-burners are standard equipment. In some cases, even higher-end graphic are available for using CAD software. More than anything else though, the Solid State Drive technology has equalized the performance between platforms.

Desktop sales have been in decline for the past four years, with notebook sales finally out-numbering them as of Q4 2008. For the same price as a low-end desktop PC, you can get a decent notebook computer system capable of meeting all of the same needs while at the same time being portable and compact. The writing, once again, has been on the wall for many years now.

Back in 1998, I began my first job in a technology-related industry with a company named 1-800 Batteries. This company would later see the quick-money carrot that caused so many dot-coms to bust, but not before changing its name to iGo and using notebook computers exclusively for almost 200 employees. That was ten years ago, before consoles took away gaming from the PC, and before wireless Internet.

Skip ahead to this past Christmas. I have two different friends who have each been early adopters of computer technology for many years. Neither of these people work in a cutting edge industry, and neither of them have anything more than middle-class incomes. Yet, somehow, this year they went and bought people in their family a laptop computer instead of a replacement desktop. This is the writing I'm talking about. It's there, and all you have to do is read it. Desktop computers are not dead, but they're going to be as useful as leaded gasoline in the very near future.


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