Will the PC Go the Way of the 8-Track and Does it Matter?

Deloitte Predictions says that by the  end of 2011, more than 50 percent of computing devices sold globally will NOT be PCs. Smartphones, tablets and non-PC netbooks are taking over the market at a rapid pace and it’s their growth, rather than the PC’s decline that Deloitte claims will make the difference.

Deloitte says the old PC will continue to be the workhorse that powers the dataflow for a good portion of the world, but we’re a mobile society and if we can grab our email and go, we’re going do it. We are doing it.

One of the big signs of a global shift is the decline in software profits and the rise in application sales. Remember the days when you could walk into an Electronics Boutique and find ten new boxes of software a week? Back then I was playing Roller Coaster Tycoon on my computer and wishing for a better graphics card so I could play Star Wars. Now I can play complex games on my phone while I’m waiting in line at the bank. Oh wait! I don’t even have to go to the bank because I can scan my checks with my phone and have the money credited to my account.

Star Trek has arrived. We can now carry around whole encyclopedias of information in a computer the size our hand. How can the PC compete with that?

So suppose it’s true. Suppose that in another ten years, PC’s have gone the way of the 8-Track player and only nostalgic geeks keep them on their desks so they can play “vintage” games. What does that mean for marketers?

For one thing, banner ads as we know them will probably disappear do to the lack of virtual real estate. Most non-PC screens are smaller than PC monitors which means we’ll no longer have webpages that are 25% content and 75% advertising. It could mean a return to single sponsor advertising (which has been making a comeback on TV) and more branded content. We’ve already seen a move in this direction and I believe it’s going to become even more important in the next few years.

The big difference between PCs and ‘anything but’ is the size of the bite and I don’t mean byte. Smartphones and other portable computing systems are designed to give you what you need in a quick, clean, compact way. PC’s, on the other hand, give you pop-overs and sliders, automatic video players and ads that literally dance and sing. As we move forward, the smart marketer is going to have to find away to capture an audience without all the hoopla. Easy? I doubt it if for no other reason than because change is hard, but we’ve got to do it. We have to start now, creating marketing that delivers something of value to the consumer be it information, entertainment or financial.

What do you think? How will the rise in non-PC computing devices change the way you market your product?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dg96tefnEU psikeyhackr

    Maybe the powerful laptops will disappear.

    And the people that want lots of power or cheap power will have a smartphone and desktop and netbooks will take over the schools.

    Why carry a heavy laptop when the smartphone is good enough and there may still be occasional things not used to often where the phone just ain’t big and powerful enough. Do you want to do video editing and special effects on your smartphone ven though the video was recorded with the phone.

    But a used two year old desktop with a new hard drive could do the job. Used computers are so cheap. Hard drives too.

  • http://arcanasphere.com/ AndrewJ

    I really don’t see the PC disappearing for a lot of uses. Gaming enthusiasts who enjoy gutting and rebuilding their devices will always hope to do so. As long as we have GUIs, we will need people to design them. I just don’t see even the best iPad screen replacing a good Wacom tablet any time soon. We will also need programmers, data entry, and some way for our hands to quickly interface with our devices.

    I love my android phone, but can’t see myself writing thousands of lines of C++ or even PHP using it. QWERTY with real plastic keys will always rule the day.

    I can’t really draw an analog at this moment, but I can’t say the way of the 8 Track. I view it more as the tables turning: portables become more all-purpose and the PC more specialized.

    • Cynthia

      Actually, I think that Blu-ray over VHS is probably the analogy I should have gone with but I like the imagery of the 8-track better.

  • http://www.vdcardwell.com Vinay Cardwell

    I hate to say this but just like how VHS did it to Beta players, what is going to be the best way to view P@rN? If that’s the PC, expect it to stay for a long time.

    • Cynthia

      LOL – so true.