With Windows XP support ending soon for millions of PCs, many companies are considering a variety of replacement strategies.  The adoption of smartphones and tablets is clearly on the rise.  According to IDC, PC shipments are expected to decline by 6% in 2014, and that trend is expected to continue.  Meanwhile, shipments of tablets surpassed shipments of PCs in 2013 and are expected to outpace shipments of PCs by 2015.  Does this mean death to the PC?  Likely not, here is why…

The Case for Smartphones and Tablets

The portable form factor of smartphones and tablets allows users to access corporate applications and their data at home, while traveling, and out in the field.  Because of the touch-screen interface, they are operated easily without the need for a keyboard or mouse.  This makes smartphones and tablets ideal applications for employees who are standing or travelling without access to a desk.  Because these devices typically connect via WiFi cellular network and run on battery power, they don’t have the wires, cables, and plugs associated with a PC.  Tablets and smartphones find their way on retail counters that may have limited workspace. They may also be easier to clean when they may be exposed to biohazardous materials, dust, or dirt.

Smartphones and Tablets vs. the PC

If you require a large monitor to view spreadsheets, create powerpoints, or edit documents, a PC may be right for you.  While many touchscreen smartphones, tablets, and convertible PCs connect with a keyboard by using a variety of interfaces, such as bluetooth, there are clear design tradeoffs for office productivity and mobile productivity.  PCs and laptops, combined with keyboard, mouse, and monitor, increase the productivity of your workforce while in the office.  Accountants, writers, and designers will quickly choose a Desktop PC or Laptop with a monitor to get their work done efficiently and effectively.

Because Windows XP support will quickly end, millions of PCs will retire in the coming months.  Many cash registers, factory controllers, and other industrial devices running Windows XP may quickly be replaced by tablet computers.  Other laptops and some desktops may be replaced by tablets, smartphones, or convertible PCs with touchscreen interface.  Some workers may find themselves with multiple devices that connect to one another via Cloud Computing.  This trend may not accelerate the growth of the PC to the heights of smartphones and Tablet PCs; however, expect both the desktop computer and tablet to have a place in our IT infrastructure for a long time to come.

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