That’s a question being asked – almost daily – across the world. Many of the world’s top tech writers – even non-tech ones – are quick to point out that mobile devices are growing exponentially in power and popularity, matching the PCs of not-too-long-ago: they say that almost everything you can do on a PC, you can do on a tab or Android mobile.
The PC. they say, is dying.
From a developer’s – and a journalist’s – perspective, the world is split into two types of people. The creators and the consumers. There are people who build content and people who browse it. Take anything you desire – a web site: a movie: even Google itself. A creator is a program-writer, an author, a video-editor, a reviewer. A consumer is the person to whom these things are directed – a user, a browser, the guy who reads up every new thing there is on tech.
Now I’m not going to ask “When was the last time you wrote a novel on a tab?”
“Or when was the last time you wrote a program on your mobile?” because in this world, there’s bound to be someone jobless – or pressed by the circumstances – enough to actually do this. Just like you can read a review on your PC and your mobile, you can write, draw, code on a mobile device. I’ve blogged off enough mobile devices already. But there’s one thing I can tell you with certainty – for the act of creating content, there’s no better thing than a PC.
It’s not the processing power that defines where you do what you d
o. The Samsung Galaxy S4, for instance, can boast an octa-core processor running circles around a Pentium 4, but nobody’s going to use it to create a 3D models or a web page. The luxury of having a large screen in front of your face: a keyboard: a discrete pointing device: an efficient multitasking environment: these are what make the PC what it is.
For consuming, a mobile device is often better than a chunky desktop computer. I agree. Music. Youtube. Light gaming. And here’s the crux of the matter: most of the world’s people are consumers, not creators. When it comes to tech, they read more than they write, watch more than they direct – they’re the audience. Out of the billions of people on the internet, only a small fraction actually have a hand in building those legions of webpages and content and code. For those who don’t create – exempting the gamers, of course – a tab or high-end mobile might prove more than enough.
However, being the majority doesn’t make the minority dead. There will always be people creating content. There will always be bloggers, musicians, digital artists, reviewers, coders, forum moderators, and people who make YouTube videos. Even if every Joe Average tosses their PC and buys a tab, they’ll be browsing content created on a PC.
Technology, you say? Technology isn’t going to replace the PC: it’s simply going to augment it. Touch-screen displays give new ways on inputting content. Smaller fabrication processes make the form factors smaller. Processor improvements give faster, beefier computers, which developers then exploit to create better and more power-hungry software. People predicted that mainframes would die out, but they didn’t: they turned into supercomputers and now they’re turning into the Cloud. Likewise, the PC won’t die – it’ll just get better over time.