Since IBM invented the first portable computer in 1975, the IBM 5100, people have loved the idea of taking their computer with them. Well, perhaps I shouldn’t really say it was portable, the thing was huge. And it cost $8000-$16000, but that’s beside the point. Laptops have become a staple of our society. We can easily pick up our work, games, hobbies, really our whole lives, and take them with us wherever we go. Our fast paced, on-demand lives wouldn’t exist without them. But do they have a future?
Every day tablet and phone sales increase, and traditional desktop and laptop sales decrease. In fact, Digitimes has forecasted a very aggressive sales increase for tablets. They predict a 38% increase in tablet sales this year, reaching 210 million units. This would overtake laptop sales if correct. Although no one is sure if these predictions are accurate, I don’t think anyone would be shocked if they turned out to be completely true.
The traditional laptop as we know it is becoming less and less popular. The main competitor is the obvious Tablet. A touch screen based computer, that although is slightly limited in functionality, are becoming more impressive and useful every day. Applications created and sold on the app stores for both Apple and Android are only getting more remarkable. Phones have many of the same apps and capabilities, but the smaller screen size and huge diversity of devices tend to make them less useful as laptop replacements. Dual laptop/tablet devices have also become very heavily marketed, especially alongside Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS which is obviously designed for a touch device.
While all these devices may serve a purpose and even have some benefits over a traditional device, I think a market will always exist for laptops. You can’t underestimate the value of a well built, high powered, well-spec’d laptop. Power users like programmers, designers, gamers, and engineers will always go for the higher powered device. The tablets and other touch devices just don’t have the power to keep up with the work that some of us do.
So are laptops going to disappear? No, not for a long time they aren’t. But they are going to become rarer, and that will impact how we do business. You are going to be expected to share data over apps, bring a tablet to meetings to use certain planning applications, and other things of that nature.