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Good Question: Is The PC Dead?

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – From curved televisions to connected cars, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show has all the latest tech trends. But what you won’t find much about is the traditional personal computer.

That prompted a blogger with the Washington Post to declare: “The PC is dead.” 

But is it?

“It’s not, as in it’s going to fade away from existence, but the market realities are true,” said Arik Hesseldahl, a technology writer with Re/code.

According to Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company, the tablet market is expected to grow 47 percent this year as the PC market is forecast to drop by 7 percent.

Sales of tablets are expected to beat out PCs in 2015.  On Thursday, the lead Gartner PC researcher wrote: “We think the U.S. PC market has bottomed out.”

“Even the laptop is too bulky, especially if you travel a lot,” said Lashaun Pruitt, who was visiting Minneapolis from Atlanta.  “The iPad has my life: my bank account, my job, my school, my everything.”

Hesseldahl thinks people will continue to buy PCs, but do so less frequently.  He suspects PC buying trends will be more similar to how often we buy televisions– every 7-10 years, rather than every 3-4 years.

“People are relying a lot more on their mobile phones and their tablets, and those PCs that they bought three, four, five year ago are still good enough to get the job done.”

Gabe Grulen, the executive editor of InfoWorld, agreed.

“Tablets aren’t replacing PCs, they’re reducing the amount we use our PCs,” he said.

As Gabe Fideleman of Seattle told WCCO-TV: “I know people who use a tablet for fun or recreationally, but I can’t see someone solely using a tablet for design work or writing.”

Hesseldahl says business demand for PCs is still strong, but declining as most young people are given their choice of technology.

“You will continue to see the traditional PC in the workplace partially because it’s a productivity tool,” he said.  “Any task that involves more than an hour or more, you’ll want to do that in a traditional stationary position.”

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