Wintel, Not Quite Dead

Despite the explosive growth of small cheap computers not running Wintel, IDC predicts the hardware under Wintel will struggle on for years to come.
“Going forward, IDC expects that tablet shipments will surpass desktop PCs in 2013 and portable PCs in 2014. In 2013, worldwide desktop PC shipments are expected to drop by 4.3% and portable PCs to maintain a flat growth of 0.9%. The tablet market, on the other hand, is expected to reach a new high of 190 million shipment units with year-on-year growth of 48.7% while the smartphone market is expected to grow 27.2% to 918.5 million units.”
see Worldwide Smart Connected Device Market Crossed 1 Billion Shipments in 2012, Apple Pulls Near Samsung in Fourth Quarter

I don’t think so. People are buying smartphones and tablets because they are on retail shelves and they do what needs to be done. Very soon people will stop guying those legacy PCs because they are not on retail shelves and they don’t do what needs to be done. That will really send them to the grave. I am not claiming legacy PCs will die out completely. It’s just that very few of us need a super-computer on the desktop when a small cheap computer will do. Typing is the most popular use of a desktop/notebook PC that ordinary people have and they can do that with a smartphone or tablet merely by buying a keyboard with USB or Bluetooth connectivity.

Wintel is about to have a severe adjustment in attitude. No one wants or needs monopoly on retail shelves or on the desktop. The world is routing around that.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to Wintel, Not Quite Dead

  1. ram says:

    Actually, those who need serious desktop computing and supercomputing are overwhelmingly using Linux. Intel’s very economical line of NUC boxen, and their smaller servers (not to mention their larger ones) are all designed for Linux.

    The Linux boxen used in Linux clusters may not represent all that many “seats” but does it ever use a fair fraction of the hardware boxen. Hence, the emphasis by chip manufacturers on lower power consumption, lower heat emissions, and lower prices.

    With Linux, if you need more power, you can just strap on another box or two. No need to replace your existing workstation, it just gradually becomes a terminal to a backend cluster.

  2. bw wrote, of consumers purchasing smart thingies, “to augment use of traditional PCs or Macs.”

    Certainly there will be some segment in that category but it will be a small proportion of the whole pie. The day is gone when Wintel controls most of the pie whether on smart thingies or legacy PCs and servers. There is a huge slice who own smart thingies but not legacy PCs especially in Asia and emerging markets where price is key to accessing IT. A smart thingy can be recharged by sunshine while Wintel usually needs a generator or be on the grid. Hint. Mobile is off-grid. So are many poor/young people in every corner of the globe.

    I have a smartphone now but I doubt I would connect a keyboard/mouse to it. Still, I can do everything but blog regularly using the tiny gadget. I can access GPS, camera, my web-applications, the rest of the web, my e-mail, etc. using just the smartphone. The residual use of the legacy PC, blogging, does not require me to buy a new PC more often than once a decade… I can see Wintel shrinking to a fraction of present volume, probably less than 50%.

  3. bw says:

    “I don’t think so”

    I do. People are buying tablets and smart phones to use as adjuncts to conventional computers. Perhaps there are a number of people for whom the tablet and/or phone suffice for all of their needs, but there are a very substantial number who merely use them as a convenience to augment use of traditional PCs or Macs.

    Your own statistics show that internet usage of computers continues to be dominated by PC or Mac access, in spite of the huge number of phones and tablets already in use. That has been the case for years now and it seems clear to me that any sort of change is a very slow evolution that will not become a revolution over time.

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