Mobile Computing: Is This the End of the Desktop?
We all remember our first computer. It was bulky, slow, and aesthetically indifferent. Still, it was a major breakthrough at the time, and personal computers changed our lives for good. Computer technology has made strides ever since, equipping new models with more processing power, more memory, a variety of special features, and –most notably– portability. With the ability to perform a wide range of computer-based tasks on a laptop, tablet PC, or mobile phone, who needs a desktop anymore?
Portability is a huge advantage in the battle between desktops and mobile devices. The ability to carry their computer with them allows users to work, play multimedia files, and connect to the Internet no matter where they are. Furthermore, it enables small-business owners to use their personal laptop as their main workstation, which is far less expensive than having to buy two separate computers. A laptop is much easier to store due to its small dimensions, which makes it ideal for people living or working in small spaces. The fact that its smaller size has a negative impact on its screen size is no longer a problem, as most new-technology TVs can be connected to portable devices, thus serving as PC screens.
There are certain qualities, however, that laptops and mobile phones simply cannot beat. Full-blown customizability is one of them. The days when compatibility was a real issue are long gone, and there is a huge range of products to choose from. From eccentric cases, LEDs and other visual aspects to quad-core processors, 3D graphics cards and endless memory options, the user can choose what his machine is “wearing” top-to-bottom. Additionally, repairs and upgrades are easier to perform on desktops, even by people with little experience with computers. Dropping the case at the repair-shop may be a hassle but spare parts usually cost less, and the repair itself is cheaper.
No matter how convenient or powerful laptops have become, it is hard to imagine certain types of professionals, like graphics designers and web-developers, depending entirely upon them. The same goes for any profession that requires a fast, dependable system with abundant processing power. Gamers are also likely to hold on to their desktops, as they can easily upgrade them to keep up with the latest games’ requirements. Super-laptops that –slowly but steadily– make their way into the market sound promising, but they are prohibitively expensive for the average user, and they have yet to prove their abilities.
At the end of the day, choosing between desktops and laptops is a matter of personal needs and preferences. Some people find the freedom that portable devices offer more appealing, while others value desktops for their versatility and the endless options in hardware and peripherals. Laptops seem to have gained ground in the computer market, but the extinction of desktops is still well out of sight.