Support from Gartner for the 'PC lives on' argument

Desktops and laptops have taken a bit of a klcking over the last few years but things are looking decent for 2018

It might be time for the PC is dead brigade to finally move on and find another technology to obsess about as the target of their ire shows no sign of giving up the ghost.

Despite a constant wave of negative predictions and questions about the state of the PC market over the last few years the technology has not gone away. The market might have shrunk and there have been movements at various times by users towards other form factors, but the laptop and desktop remain a feature of most offices.

The analyst houses are also changing their view of the market with Canalys using its Channels Forum event in Venice earlier this month to talk up the hardware space and Gartner also forecasting better times for 2018.

That change in narrative will come as a positive to those in the channel still selling and servicing PC technology.

“These latest predictions from Gartner highlight that laptops are here to stay. Indeed, while mobile phones do offer greater flexibility, the truth is they cannot completely replace PCs," said James Longworth, solution architecture manager at Insight UK.

Customers are looking to change their approach but for the laptop the ability to provide mobility is going to remain a key attraction.

“When it comes to enterprises that are looking to refresh their tech portfolio for the year ahead, there is more to decide on than between mobile or desktop. The rapidly evolving technology sector has allowed organisations to leverage disruptive technologies to enhance their workforce productivity and ensure a secure working environment wherever they may be. This means that even when choosing a laptop over a mobile phone, businesses must also consider whether the cloud solutions they have in place are best for supporting multiple devices, allowing employees to work in a secure, collaborative way," said Longworth.

“We expect enterprises to continue moving towards mobile-enabled devices, however with the rise of flexible working, this must be done in tandem with organisation streamlining their cloud strategies, enabling safe and mobile collaboration. Organisations are beginning to realise that if they want to remain competitive, they must consider a digital transformation strategy that has mobility and flexibility at its heart, even when it comes to PCs," he added.

The Gartner research indicated that the PC market, which includes desktop, laptop and ultramobiles, would deliver higher shipments next year than 2017.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said that there was a misconception that everyone was now using smartphones and the traditional PC had been eclipsed.

"Our latest online end-user survey shows that users depend just as much on PCs or tablets as they do on smartphones," he said.

"Forty percent of respondents said that they use mostly a PC/tablet for certain daily experiences, such as reading and writing detailed emails or watching videos, while 34 percent mostly use a smartphone for its convenience while on the move," he added.

The analyst house is forecasting growth of 0.8% next rear with the Windows 10 upgrade effect still working its way through the market.

"Despite the fact that prices have been rising due to higher component costs, Windows 10 replacements have kept the PC market relatively stable through 2017," said Atwal.

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