1 in 4 tablet owners say it is now their primary computer

1 in 4 tablet owners say it is now their primary computer

Summary: One in four tablet owners now turn to their slates as their primary computer, and three out of four American enterprises are finding ways to make use of them. Surely the days of the PC are numbered? Maybe not.


There's little doubt that PC sales are flagging. All the currently available data points to the fact that people -- consumers and enterprise alike -- are keeping their PCs for longer. One of the reasons is that mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are competing for people's attention -- and cash.

An infographic drawn up by OnlineClasses.org pulls together data from a number of sources to show just what a powerhouse the tablet is, and how is appears set to take over from the PC.

There's a lot contained in that infographic that should worry PC OEMs. The first data point that caught my eye was how an incredible one in four tablet owners now say that their slate has become their primary computer. That's a huge shift considering that until 2010 and Apple's launch of the iPad, tablets were virtually unknown, both in homes and businesses. This adoption has been so rapid that within 18 months, tablets had found their way into 11 percent of U.S. homes, making their adoption faster than any other piece of technology in history.

Tablets are also gaining huge traction with businesses, with three out of four American enterprises adopting them in some way.

The adoption of tablets is increasing at such a pace, it is now estimated that their sales will surpass that of PCs by as early as 2016.

Much has been written about how PCs are dying. While I have no doubt that their importance is diminishing, I think that it is far too early to write an obituary. PCs -- desktops and notebooks alike -- continue to be the primary workhorses, and no matter how good tablets are currently, this is not going to change for some time to come.

PC sales may be down. This is because of changing attitudes towards how often they need to be replaced. But there's little to suggest that overall PC usage, along with their importance, is waning.

Image source: OnlineClasses.org.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, PCs, Tech Industry

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  • 1 in 4 tablet owners say it is now their primary computer

    Need more info like how many of those 4 have a computer and a tablet. For all these supposed tablets that are taking over the nation I still don't see them nearly as often as I should. People are leaving them home. Wait for this fad to pass.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • I guess

      this blog shook your world a bit.
      • It did?

        How so?
        Loverock Davidson-
      • Why is that?

        I doubt Microsoft cares whether they sell a Windows license on a tablet, or on a PC.

        I remember the comments and posts when Laptops sales where taking sales away from traditional deskotps. MS still made out either way.
        William Farrel
        • Microsoft should care if revenue is important

          Between PC and Laptop, Microsoft made the same amount of money on Windows and Office. However with Tablets, the pricing model is not the same and I hear they want to give away Office on Windows8 tablet. So for sure they care as their revenue will certainly decline over time.

          R Paul Singh
    • 1 in 4 tablet owners say it is now their primary computer

      I tablet is a cool and fun device, but compared to a desktop PC, it is no more than a toy. I would love to see a tablet analyze non linear microwave behavior, or simulate an MMIC oscillator design. If you job only required email, word, excel, and the internet, I would agree, but any job having to do with complex science, requires a PC. Even better with 2 or 3 large monitors. Also, what about people who want to build their own PC? I don't think a tablet would make it for them. A desktop PC is so upgradeable. A desktop PC gives you far more bang for the buck.
      • Exactly

        A tablet has some limited uses but for normal every day computing its just the wrong tool.
        Loverock Davidson-
      • Agreed!

        Honestly, these people who've shifted to the tablet as their primary PC are primary info consumers not power users or content makers. They are users who realized that a locked-down OS is more for them where they can minimize the damage and keep things simple.

        They've shifted to something more in line to how they used PC's. Youtube, email, simple apps as oppose to a more seriously enabled platform like a desktop. Programming, content authoring, office applications and other more demanding tasks will stay with the desktops.
        Those who hunt Trolls
        • Point to Tablets

          That is the point. The iPad lesson is not that PCs are dead, the iPad lesson is....

          Most users do not need the power of a PC for most of what they do.

          That does not make PC useless or passe, or dead. It just means they sell fewer units.
          • Very well said

            You hit the issue head on. It is not a debate about replacement in total but reduction in usage and hence sales of PCs compared to tablets. Magazines and Research are sold with sensational headings like this one but devil is in the details for which you have to buy the report.
      • Re: analyze non linear microwave behavior, or simulate an MMIC oscillator d

        Got a C/C++ toolkit for that stuff? You can run it on Android. And have it available in a lightweight package, easier to use on-site than a cumbersome Windows laptop.
        • ARM

          Cpu's don't really cut it, you still don't have multi monitor support. Shoehorning is a complete waste of time. Use the right tool for the job and you won't end up a limb short.
          • Re: Shoehorning is a complete waste of time.

            Funny, that's what the fans of "real" computers said when PCs started to become popular.
      • I say not just yet

        Myself, I wouldn't mind owning a tablet, but lloydkuhnle has a valid point; how about us who build our own desktops? Can one build their own tablet? I will stick with my laptops and desktops until they are totally obsolete and who knows, by then I may be just a memory?
      • need some advice

        I use primarily: Word, Excel, Outlook (which I need to as a compiler for about 12 email accounts), and Quicken. I would love to move to a tablet for more flexibilty, but unsure if it can do the job. thoughts? suggestions? The ASUS seems to be quite the tool with their keyboard with USB.
    • Come on Loverock

      Even you have to admit that you were flat out wrong when you called this a fad.
      • No I wasn't wrong

        It is a fad and I still maintain that stance. Like I said, I'm not seeing these in the numbers that ZDNet would have us believe. People bought them but aren't using them.
        Loverock Davidson-
    • what

      you got flaged for what. now tell who did you piss of now for giving your opion.this is still a free country and a free site . Although I do always agree with every one their opinion still maters. You don’t like it to bad till cnet tells I am doing some thing wrong then i will continue to come share my opinion and you can share too. All information is valuable even when it is the form of a argument. What you think that theorem taught in school was just being taught because one person said this is the way it is and every one OK. Fights went on for years till it was truly agreed on by a consensus as viable to be taught to others. Keep up the arguing who knows maybe I am a really anthropologist wrighting a book on social interactions of the 16 to 34 crowd online.
  • Of course

    Fanboys and doomsayers always have extreme views. There are only two fundamental questions here:

    What will the relatively steady state split end up being for mobile/touch screen computing (tablets and large screen smart phones) vs more traditional, powerful computing such as laptops and desktops using keyboards and mice? Voice recognition may over time slowly shift the balance towards the former.

    Where will the ultimate merging the of those two user environments and experiences end up and who if anybody will dominate/control it.

    I do not think the (coming) touch screen convertible portables have a very large role to play in the future. They will be too pricey and cumbersome. A tablet plus a thin and light notebook with or without a touch screen will be a better solution for most users who need/want both worlds.
  • And 9.5 out of 10...

    And 9.5 out of 10 Notebook owners say their Notebook computer is their primary device over a traditional desktop computer.

    Does this matter? No.

    It just represents a shift in the favored form factor; with tablets becoming more en vogue, but I fail to see how this has a major impact on both hard- and software producers alike. They move with the demand, like they always have.

    News at 11.
    Han CNX