Are Desktop Computers Going To Become A Thing Of The Past?

The desktop PC. You may not think of it as anything you can live without if you use it for work. And we’ve been chained to our single-location workstations for years. But will this

traditional computing companion soon become an entry in the annals of tech history? Some say that the advent of more powerful computers in smaller and more mobile packages will result in the extinction of the desktop computer.

Those who are of the opinion that we will soon not need desktop PCs aren’t saying so without reason. After all, the rest of our devices have gotten smaller, whether you’re talking about the remote control for your television set or your home phone. These days, you can get desktop-quality storage space and RAM speed on what seems like an impossibly-small device. So it seems like a natural evolution would be taking place if the desktop PC were slowly to fade from mainstream usage.

Desktops by the Numbers

According to sales analysis, laptops are the focus of up to 80 percent of today’s computer sales. But interestingly, almost ninety percent of the households in the United States still use a desktop computer, while only fifty percent use laptops.

And the reason why is as interesting as the numbers. It seems that most people see their household desktop computer as the hub of all of their computer activity. Not only is it shared by all members of the household, but it’s also the location where all things valuable are stored, such as music and photo collections.

As well, having a desktop computer means that it’s easier to keep an eye on young users, especially if the computer is located in an area of the home where there is always a lot of activity. Laptops seem to be mainly used by household members when they want to listen to their own music or check out different things online than their family may be checking out.

Is The Role Of The Desktop Getting Smaller?

Some say yes, citing new technology as the reason. Seemingly every service how gives us the option to sync our home computer files and programs with our other devices, making it easier for us to use those devices when we need them than to go back to our desktop computers when we need a piece of information.

There seems to be a trend toward web-based development, despite the doubts some users are having about the safety and security of cloud and other remote services. Not only can we access home files from our devices, but web-based services like Mail2Web make it possible for us to log in to our ‘home’ email accounts from any device we wish.

The interfaces we use also seem to be moving away from the traditional mouse and keyboard; think touch-screens and accelerometers, which allow for the manipulation of data by the moving of an entire device vs. a point and click method.

The Other Side of the Coin

Those against the desktop extinction theory say that desktops will not go away, simply because they fulfil a role that no other device or technology can replace. This camp says that there are some activities which only the desktop can handle with the utmost efficiency. Desktops are, after all, faster and more powerful than their smaller and more mobile counterparts, meaning they can handle calculations, displays and processes that these other devices simply cannot, such as simulations and design.

In addition, it is often much less expensive to upgrade a desktop PC than it is to upgrade a laptop. Desktop PCs can be upgraded bit by bit, where if you need more speed on a laptop, you have to buy a new device.

The bottom line is this: like your parents may have said, don’t believe everything you read. There may be a lot of hype about the next big thing to come on the market as far as new technology is concerned, but taking a look to see whether your desktop can do it better may reveal that there is still a ways to go before your home computer becomes obsolete.


Guest author Linda Gregory writes on a variety of topics, particularly related to technology.