DON'T LOOK NOW, but the longtime slump in PC sales might be coming to an end.
The simple fact is, what we define as a PC has changed and when you look at the figures in that new light, the future is starting to look brighter.
Take for example Chromebooks. At present, our usual market share source, Net Applications' doesn't include machines running Chrome OS in its stats. But they're as valid as, say Linux machines. And then there's form factor. Yes, the traditional PC paradigm might be dwindling, and tablets reached critical mass some time ago, but the 2-in-1 is flying off the shelves.
The difficulty comes as the lines continue to blur between the traditional form factors. Take Windows 10 for example - Netmarketshare has it at over 25 per cent of desktop computers, but how many of those are two-in-ones or Xboxes or IoT devices? And is it still over 25 per cent when you allow for Chromebooks?
In real terms, it means that the analysts are having a rough old time of making a consensus, and so, on one hand, you've got IDC claiming a 0.6 per cent rise year-on-year, the first time that's happened in five years, but on the other, Gartner is saying OC sales have dropped by 2.4 per cent.
It all comes down to the fact that technology is changing. Notebooks and desktops are a tiny part of a much bigger picture and the landscape is shifting all the time. We learnt last week that Canonical has abandoned plans for its Unity interface that would have allowed Ubuntu to run simultaneously as a phone and when plugged into a keyboard and monitor, as a full PC.
How the heck do you class that? Ubuntu may be out of the game but Microsoft is still banging on about Windows 10 Continuum, while Android variant Remix OS is set to launch Remix Singularity, an alternative ROM for existing mobile devices that makes them into hybrids.
The people at the top want answers about the direction of the industry, but the answers are not black and white anymore, and so whatever way you look at it, take it with a pinch of salt. And pepper. And a squeeze of lime. And ketchup. And a jalapeno.
Or maybe it would be more appropriate to find some sort of relish that combines them into one amorphous blob. µ
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