Is The Desktop Really Dying?
We've been hearing the death knell of the desktop for several years, as pundits pontificate about the rise of smartphones, tablets and laptops. But what do real people think, outside the ivory towers and echo chambers? Let's take a look at the numbers…
And the Survey Says...
Desktop PCs are still the best computing platform, according to the latest edition of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Household Appliance and Electronics report. Tablets are rapidly losing their appeal, and laptops are slipping, too.
Overall satisfaction with the three main types of computing platforms declined for the third straight year, dipping 1.7% on ACSI’s scale of 100. The ACSI surveyed 2,945 customers in the second quarter of 2015. The chart below shows the four-year trends of customer satisfaction with desktops, tablets, laptops, and their combined ratings.
Desktop PCs had the highest score in the 2015 survey (81). Tablets tumbled a whopping 6 percent, to 75. Laptops continued a steady long-term decline, tying tablets at 75. “As large-screen smartphones become more popular, they’ve made tablets somewhat redundant—caught in between the mobility of a smartphone and the power and functionality of a desktop,” explained Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder, in a summary of the results.
That may be true, but when I look at that chart, I see buyer's remorse. I see people buying into the notion that a 10-inch tablet or an 11-inch laptop could do everything they did previously on a 24-inch desktop rig with a real keyboard.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, in other news reports, thinks that tablets will replace desktops “in some homes” (but not his, he adds). If all you do is surf the Web, check email, watch Netflix, and control your Internet-enabled coffeemaker, a tablet may serve just fine.
Let's Get Serious
But for serious work or gaming, there’s nothing like a big screen, full-sized keyboard, high-performance processor, and the myriad of applications available for Windows. Can you connect multiple monitors, a printer, an external hard drive and a mouse to a tablet? Can you manipulate a large document or spreadsheet on a tiny screen?
I think there's zero chance that the tens of millions of desktop computers in corporate settings will be replaced by portable devices. Aside from the productivity and utility concerns mentioned in the previous paragraph, you'd be dealing with a new set of issues, with learning curve, theft and breakage at the top of the list.
Satisfaction with the computing industry overall has declined in every metric that the ACSI measures, a trend that seems more worrisome than competition between the three platform categories. One of the biggest declines – 3 points since 2014 – has been in “ability to keep system crashes to a minimum.” Satisfaction with “processor speed” also fell 3 points, from 82 to 79. An industry that can’t keep these fundamental numbers up is definitely in trouble.
The lowest satisfaction rating by far – 70 out of 100 – went to the computer industry’s call centers, a statistic that should surprise no one. The highest satisfaction rating (84) went to “design in terms of size and visual appeal.” So new toys look pretty even though they crash and tech support is abysmal. Wonderful.
The ACSI survey also rated vendors. Apple has ruled customer satisfaction for over 10 years now; its latest rating is 84. Dell is the only desktop maker that improved over 2014, rising 3 points to 78. Acer took last place with a satisfaction rating of 70. ASUS, Lenovo, Toshiba, and HP all scored in the mid-70s.
The full 2015 ACSI report also covers household appliances, TVs, and DVRs. It’s free to download in exchange for your name and contact info.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 2 Oct 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Is The Desktop Really Dying? (Posted: 2 Oct 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved