Jan 19

The Age of the Tech Enthusiast(Death of the PC?)

By 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide.

It’s a great time to be a tech enthusiast (and gamer)! The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the Consumer Electronics Show(CES), once buzzing with the latest, greatest desktop and laptop technology, now buzzes to a cacophony of tablets(such as the iPad), smartphones(such as my already-dated HTC Incredible) and other mobile technologies. They quote a statistic by Gartner, a market research company:

According to Gartner’s PC installed base forecast, the total number of PCs in use will reach 1.78 billion units in 2013. By 2013, the combined installed base of smartphones and browser-equipped enhanced phones will exceed 1.82 billion units and will be greater than the installed base for PCs thereafter.

While I agree with the conclusions the WSJ writers were drawing, I can’t help but wonder where most of those devices will be located geographically. It reminded me of an NPR story in which the commentator, who recently moved from India, noted that when he first moved to India it had just 3 million cell phones and by 2007 it was adding 7 million new cell phones every month; this was back in 2007! I wholeheartedly agree that the “face” of computer is changing, but I don’t think it is changing in the U.S. quite as fast as it is in developing countries. It is certainly the age of the Tech Enthusiast, but I don’t think we will see the “death” of the PC for many years – certainly not by 2013.

A few more predictions from Gartner  to chew over and discuss in the comments:

  • By 2012, 20 percent of businesses will own no IT assets.
  • By 2012, Facebook will become the hub for social network integration and Web socialization
  • In 2012, 60 percent of a new PC’s total life greenhouse gas emissions will have occurred before the user first turns the machine on.
  • By 2014, over 3 billion of the world’s adult population will be able to transact electronically via mobile or Internet technology


  1. mike

    I find gartner’s first prediction the most interesting but also least likely to happen. Printers anyone??? There’s also the clash of personal privacy vs corporate security that arises when company information starts living on employee owned machines.

  2. Dwight

    Thanks for the feedback, Mike. I definitely see your point about the printers – that was one of the things I thought about, too. More and more offices are going paperless though, so I could certainly see it as a possibility, depending on how they define a business.

    The real issue for me, is believing that a business of any substantial size could succeed without owning IT assets. How would you ensure the productivities of your employees if you have no control over the technology they use to get their work done?

    I found Gartner’s predictions very though-provoking – I’m glad you did, too.

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