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Survey Shows Some Consumers Are Prepared to Replace Their PC with a Tablet


computer trashWe’re a prosperous nation with a car in every garage, a chicken in every pot and 77% of adults have a computer in their household. But according to the Center for the Digital Future, that last number may be going down, not up, as more people replace PC’s with tablets.

Given that tablets can do most of the same things as a PC, the center conducted a survey and asked this question:

When your current personal computer becomes unusable, how likely are you to replace it with another personal computer?”

  • 4% said they definitely will not replace their personal computer with another PC
  • 6% said they probably will not
  • 15% said they might or might not replace it.

Add it up and it says 25% of computer owners might cut the cord forever. That’s a pretty big number given that tablets are still things of wonder for most people.

Why are they interested in parting ways with their clunky PC? Mobility was the number on reason (54%). 34% said tablets were easier to use than PC’s and 22% said because tablets were cheaper.

Those willing to switch also said tablets were more comfortable, they don’t waste time booting up (I never thought about that but yes. . . so true) and 15% said tablets were cooler.

It’s interesting to note that 19% thought tablets had greater functionality and they wanted the apps. I wonder if the new app based Windows 8 format will change their minds about that.

The Loyalist

When you do the math, the majority voted to replace their PC with another PC when the time comes. Comfort and usability were the main reasons, with more than half saying they prefer the larger screen on a PC and that it was better for complex tasks or tasks that require a lot of keyboard or mouse work.

A quarter of those surveyed were concerned about security on a tablet and they didn’t like that you had to regularly back-up your data. Someone should tell those folks that they should be backing up their PC’s data, too.

Where We’re Headed

Right now, PCs are like the DVD player of the computing world but soon, they could be more like VHS.

Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism predicts that tablets will overtake the PC by 2014.

“Use of a desktop PC may well dwindle to only 4-6 percent of computer users — computer-assisted designers, heavy-duty number crunchers, full-time writers, and college students while they are in college — and laptop use will probably decline as well.

The tablet is an inviting gadget. The desktop PC is a ‘lean forward’ device — a tool that sits on a desk and forces users to come to it.  The tablet has a ‘lean-back’ allure — more convenient and accessible than laptops and much more engaging to use.  For the vast majority of Americans, the tablet will be the computer of choice by the middle of the decade, while the desktop PC and even laptops fade away.”

The only thing standing in the way are options. Right now there are still a few tasks that don’t work well on a tablet. For me, watching flash videos is one of them. I have access to several TV previews that I’d like to watch but I can only access them on my PC, not my tablet. That means I have to sit at my desk while I watch and that’s annoying.

I also find that my tablet is good for free writing and first drafts, but when it comes to finishing my articles, particularly those where I have to pull data from another website, the PC is the way to go.

I think that, for the average person, someone who uses their PC to read email, play games and browse the internet, tablets are the way to go.

Are you ready to cut the cord on your PC?

*Never throw computers into the trash. Take them to a recycling center or donate working computers to charity.