Will desktop computers be joining typewriters, rotary phones, floppy disks, and cassette tapes in the technology graveyard anytime soon? This question has been the subject of debate for several years, much to the dismay of some people. You do not have to search the Internet for long to find convincing arguments both supporting and refuting the idea that the desktop computer is slowly dying and will soon find its way to extinction. Whether you are team desktop or not, knowing both sides of the argument can be beneficial when your business needs to replace computing devices or add new ones.

Why Some People Think the Desktop Computer’s Days Are Numbered

Some people are adamant that it is only a matter of time before desktop computers become obsolete, replaced by the ever growing offering of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. When stating their case, they often bring up the following points:

  • Desktop computers simply do not provide the portability that the majority of people desire nowadays. On the other hand, mobile devices give users the freedom to access emails, run apps, and browse the Internet whenever and wherever they want. At the end of the day, we cannot say the same thing for desktop computers.
  • Desktop solutions take up much more space than mobile devices. Although desktop computers and their monitors have gotten much smaller over the years, they are still much larger than mobile devices.
  • Mobile devices are becoming more capable and powerful. Despite their small sizes, mobile devices are more powerful than ever, thanks to hardware and software improvements, enhanced graphics, and boosts in memory capacity. According to industry experts, top-of-the-line smartphones and tablets can be as powerful as mid-range desktop computers if the mobile devices have multicore processors, large amounts of RAM, and powerful graphics hardware.
  • Desktop computer sales have been steadily declining in recent years. In 2010, companies shipped 157 million desktop computers worldwide, according to Statista. In 2020, less than 62 million shipped—more than a 40% drop in sales in just 10 years.

Why Some People Think Desktop Computers Are Here to Stay

Some people cannot be convinced that the desktop computer is going anywhere. They have several reasons for believing it will stick around for many years to come.

  • It is easier to customize desktop computers than mobile devices. For example, desktop computers often come with many USB and other types of ports, enabling users to easily add peripherals. Similarly, most desktop computers offer features such as memory card slots so that users can increase the machines’ memory capacity. Few mobile devices offer these options of ports and expandable storage.
  • Most companies still use desktop computers. According to a 2018 Spiceworks study, 68% of businesses are using desktop computers as their primary computing device. Only 1 percent are using tablets for this purpose.
  • Desktop computers typically last longer than mobile solutions. Thanks to their fairly sturdy construction and repairability, the average life expectancy of desktop computers is 4.5 years. In comparison, the average life expectancy is only 2.5 years for smartphones. However, the Spiceworks survey found that companies tend to use both their desktop and mobile solutions longer in real life. Seventy percent typically use their desktop computers for 5 or more years and 24% use them for 7 or more years. As for smartphones, 42% use them for two years or less and 41% use them for three to four years.
  • Mobile devices sometimes do not have what it takes to effectively run many apps. All apps are not created equal. Some apps (e.g., business apps, gaming apps) need to run on a high-performance machine to work properly. There is no dispute that mobile devices are getting more powerful. But experts agree that desktop computers have the performance edge because electricity, not batteries, power them. Plus, some apps are easier to use on desktop computers because these machines have large screens, external keyboards, and other convenient amenities.

The Bottom Line

When you compare the reasons why some people think the desktop computer is nearing extinction to the reasons why other people think it is here to stay, it becomes evident that there is currently no clear-cut evidence indicating that one group is right and the other wrong. And that is a good thing. It means you can concentrate on what is really important instead—finding the computing device that best meets the needs of your business.

Cardinal Technology Solutions is here to do just that. Are you a small business owner near Winchester, Virginia or the surrounding area? We would love to help you find the desktop or mobile solution that makes the most sense for your business. We will help you weigh the pros and cons of the available options, so you can feel confident in your decision. Contact us today!