Survey: 25% of computer users debating on going tablet-only

By on December 20, 2012, 6:33 PM

Although some reports of the so-called "post-PC era" have been greatly exaggerated, there's no denying that we're amidst a shift where many people are ditching their desktops and laptops for less capable, but more mobile solutions. For a certain chunk of users -- around a quarter of them according to a new survey -- devices such as smartphones and tablets are functional enough to meet their daily computing needs.

Conducted by the Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz, the survey asked folks how likely they are to replace their PC after it stops working, given the features offered by today's mobile devices. In reply, 4% said they definitely won't buy a new computer when theirs fails, 6% said they're unlikely to replace their PC and 15% said they might not replace it -- a total of 25% who are at on the fence about future PC purchases.

A little over half of the people who plan to drop PCs said they'll do so for the mobility offered by tablets, 38% say tablets let them do almost everything they did on a PC, 34% say tablets are easier to use than PCs, 26% find tablets more comfortable to use, 22% think tablets are cheaper, 19% are interested in mobile apps and say tablets are more functional (this isn't explained), while 15% say they're cooler or more stylish.

On the flip side, three-quarters of respondents said they plan to replace their current computer with another PC when the time comes. Among these users, 66% say PCs are more comfortable to use than a tablet, 58% require a bigger screen than tablets offer, 56% need the extra performance of a full-fledged computer or a mouse and keyboard, 43% rely on PC software and 25% worry about the security of other devices.

Center for the Digital Future director Jeffrey Cole has predicted that tablets will become the primary computing device in the US over the next few years, but he notes that they aren't yet as established as PCs when it comes to productivity. "The tablet has yet to prove its full functionality," Cole said.  "As more ambitious work on a tablet becomes possible as software choices grow, more users will move to tablets."

Of note, this report coincides with a PC Gamer article that highlights the growth of the enthusiast PC market. The write-up includes a quote from Nvidia spokesman Ben Berraondo, who notes that sales of  desktop GTX graphics cards are growing -- "massively" so when it comes to the GTX 660 and higher models. However, Berraondo also acknowledged that tablets are replacing sales of entry-level computers.




User Comments: 35

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1 person liked this | ikesmasher said:

I find it hard to believe that 25 percent of people that use computers care about the differences between a tablet and a PC enough to contemplate for days and days whether or not to go completely tablet.

2 people like this | Guest said:

Where does it say they contemplated anything for days? They were asked a question and gave a forward-looking answer that was uncertain in most cases. In other words, it requires more thought before deciding, or they're debating on it. Assuming they're halfway sane, it's probably not on their mind 24/7, but the question will be revisited when necessary and their previous answer may or may not prove true.

4 people like this | Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They forgot to mention that they polled a bunch of hipsters standing in line outside an Apple store.

1 person liked this | learninmypc learninmypc said:

Personally, I'd rather have a laptop than a tablet unless the tablet screen was 15", then ok. Of course I can't afford either, so I'll continue dreaming.

2 people like this | Guest said:

Wanna bet that those 25% are going to say all the time "Can I borrow your PC?".

misor misor said:

May be a "hybrid tablet"...dock it in your desktop pc for charging/syncing/secondary monitor.

sff pc can be "docked" at the back of monitors so a tablet can be made to dock at a desktop pc.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'd be willing to bet more than 25% have no need in anything more than a tablet. That doesn't mean we should abandon everything non-tablet.

Guest said:

Maybe kidddies but not core gamers.

mizkitty said:

Unfortunately for most it's simply a matter of economics. They can't afford both...and most already think their monthly cell phone bill is too expensive.

Desktop PCs seem like overkill when all they want to do is check Facebook while lying on the couch in front of the latest "reality" show.

Plus...they have to pay the "apple tax" premium or they can't brag to their friends about having the latest iFad.

Guest said:

Who relies entirely on tiny screens nowadays? That's a question.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Who relies entirely on tiny screens nowadays? That's a question.

Thats why there are docking stations for tablets to be connected to larger displays.

Guest said:

The way I reading is: at least 25% users only using their PC for running simple program/task and for viewing internet contents which is can be performed by ARM based tablets

Lionvibez said:

When they say 25% your talking about apple users right?

People that actually do real work on a computer won't go tablet only.

1 person liked this | Butch said:

If all you ever do is browse the web, watch Netflix or Facebook then I could see people doing this. But for people that game or use PC's for business this is obviously not an option. I cannot imagine not having a PC for home use and as much as I would love to dump my work laptop I can't work without it.

1 person liked this | supertech supertech said:

At the end of the day it depends what you're needs are and what is ideal for the end user.

Why buy a tablet of you need to work with QuickBooks? Why buy a pc if you're simply going to check email and use Facebook?

It's important to match your needs with the wonderful choices in the market and get the best bang for your hard-earned dollar.

ikesmasher said:

Where does it say they contemplated anything for days? They were asked a question and gave a forward-looking answer that was uncertain in most cases. In other words, it requires more thought before deciding, or they're debating on it. Assuming they're halfway sane, it's probably not on their mind 24/7, but the question will be revisited when necessary and their previous answer may or may not prove true.

I was exaggerating.

"BUT THEN, wheres doz it say they gives teh straight fowardz answer?"

p51d007 said:

I guess if you are the "average Joe 6 pack" that surfs the web, sends email, watches youtube....a tablet would be enough. But for me, I need the power of a laptop, for photoshop.

Tygerstrike said:

I havent had a home PC for almost 7 years. A lovlely family member had so infected my PC with visits to innapropriate websites, that I vowed to never own another PC. That was untill I found the tablet market. I personally have a Motorola Xoom. 10 inch screen,ect,ect. Its perfect for what I use it for. Checking emails, looking up websites, light paper work. Now I personally will keep supporting the tablet market because I do believe that Tablets at some point are going to replace PC/Laptop at some point in the future. The tech has no where to go but up. Eventually I will be able to play games like WOW or someof the FPS on a tablet. Will tablets ever replace pc prolly not.

lmike6453 said:

At the end of the day it depends what you're needs are and what is ideal for the end user.

Why buy a tablet of you need to work with QuickBooks? Why buy a pc if you're simply going to check email and use Facebook?

It's important to match your needs with the wonderful choices in the market and get the best bang for your hard-earned dollar.

This guy^ "gets it"

ikesmasher said:

I havent had a home PC for almost 7 years. A lovlely family member had so infected my PC with visits to innapropriate websites, that I vowed to never own another PC. That was untill I found the tablet market. I personally have a Motorola Xoom. 10 inch screen,ect,ect. Its perfect for what I use it for. Checking emails, looking up websites, light paper work. Now I personally will keep supporting the tablet market because I do believe that Tablets at some point are going to replace PC/Laptop at some point in the future. The tech has no where to go but up. Eventually I will be able to play games like WOW or someof the FPS on a tablet. Will tablets ever replace pc prolly not.

with that mentality, tablets will become just a prone to infection as a PC is, correct? there are already reports of viruses appearing (although quickly disappearing) on mobile OS's.

I just don't understand why people would rather move their hand 6 inches to tap something rather than 1 inch. how is that faster. is beyond me.

Tygerstrike said:

@Ike

Which mentality are you refering too? I only speak of my experiences. I chose to not spend the money on a home PC because there is no need for it currently. I choose to use my tablet instead of dropping an insane amount of cash for a home unit.

How exactly is my preferences in electronics going to translate over to more moble devices being infected by viruses? Pls explain how you arrived at this conclusion.

ikesmasher said:

@Ike

Which mentality are you refering too? I only speak of my experiences. I chose to not spend the money on a home PC because there is no need for it currently. I choose to use my tablet instead of dropping an insane amount of cash for a home unit.

How exactly is my preferences in electronics going to translate over to more moble devices being infected by viruses? Pls explain how you arrived at this conclusion.

I dont know why I threw that mentality in there. What I meant was as more people switch to tablets they will be much much more prone to infections and viruses. People that program viruses tend to attack the bigger markets. Which is why windows has many more issues with viruses than mac or linux (I should say, more problems with the average joe accidentally downloading viruses. There are simply more viruses for windows than other OSs)

And I also believe that theres some miscommunication among consumers that desktops are insanely expensive. for 400 bucks you can build a nice desktop, or get a trinity laptop. thats cheaper than an ipad or other "higher end" tablets.

Tygerstrike said:

@Ike

Thank you for clairifying that. You are correct in one major aspect. There will be more viruses comming out for hand held devices. However, the major platform designers work very very hard to stomp out as many viruses as they can. As soon as one virus gets smashed down some other enterprising hacker will create another one. Such is the game of technology.

You may see $400 bucks as "affordable". My tablet cost me nothing really as I had to sign a 2yr contract for the cellular service so I got it for nothing. A DECENT gaming laptop is going to run $500-$700. A home unit may be a bit less, but still pricey when you factor in that the retailer will want thier money upfront before I walk out the store lol. There is the big difference between the two mediums. Laptop/PC requires a large upfront investment of cash with periodic equiptment updates. Where as a tablet in general may only need a new memory card (if your lucky). Its the harsh reality that I either use my smartphone or my tablet to access the web and give up on PC gaming right now. Or I could try and "Keep up with the Joneses" and put myself and my family in debt. For now atleast my stance will be that Tablets are great for webbing, atleast until I can afford to buy something powerful enough to run games at a decent fram rate.

ikesmasher said:

@Ike

Thank you for clairifying that. You are correct in one major aspect. There will be more viruses comming out for hand held devices. However, the major platform designers work very very hard to stomp out as many viruses as they can. As soon as one virus gets smashed down some other enterprising hacker will create another one. Such is the game of technology.

You may see $400 bucks as "affordable". My tablet cost me nothing really as I had to sign a 2yr contract for the cellular service so I got it for nothing. A DECENT gaming laptop is going to run $500-$700. A home unit may be a bit less, but still pricey when you factor in that the retailer will want thier money upfront before I walk out the store lol. There is the big difference between the two mediums. Laptop/PC requires a large upfront investment of cash with periodic equiptment updates. Where as a tablet in general may only need a new memory card (if your lucky). Its the harsh reality that I either use my smartphone or my tablet to access the web and give up on PC gaming right now. Or I could try and "Keep up with the Joneses" and put myself and my family in debt. For now atleast my stance will be that Tablets are great for webbing, atleast until I can afford to buy something powerful enough to run games at a decent fram rate.

Dont know what defines a "decent" gaming laptop, but my laptop costs 400 dollars and can run skyrim on medium and BF3 on low quite comfortably.

Anyway, a 2 year contract is acceptable to some people, but you end up paying your share for it in the end...just not all at once. Which is fine, assuming people decide to do the math first.

However tablet updatability is also becoming a new big thing. There are now noticeable differences in how what tablets run what they are supposed to run. Many android tablets cannot run 3d games that others can. Tablets from 3-4 years ago are already outdated and struggle running more powerful android apps.

In the end it all comes down to portability and power. If your tablet completely satisfies your needs thats fine. But in the end everyone who switches to tablets is giving up power, and until ARM progress stops that sacrifice, im sticking to desktops.

Guest said:

Techspot is biased and very obviously takes bribes.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Techspot is biased and very obviously takes bribes.

It's that obvious is it? What exactly give it away?

How can you say TechSpot is taking bribes, when most of the articles are cut and paste from other sources?

treetops treetops said:

If you don't game or do work on your computer, why not buy a tablet the next time you need a new computer?

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"how likely they are to replace their PC after it stops working" Please realize modern PC's are pretty reliable, more so then laptops, consoles and tablets combined. So take it with a grain of salt when someone says on the spot that they will replace their PC with a tablet. You never know how long that desktop will last and when it does fail in 3 to 4 years maybe you'll already have a tablet and understand that a PC is still something worth having in the house. Yes a tablet is a fun little toy, but its just that, a toy. Also, just imagine what tablets are going to be in 3 to 4 years. Probably comparable to PC's right now, or at least the average PC right now.

jonjonjon said:

If you think you can replace your computer with a tablet then you are not a REAL computer user. sorry.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If you think you can replace your computer with a tablet then you are not a REAL computer user. sorry.
What constitutes a real computer user?

I'm sorry but when I see tablets and even cell phones doing more than any PC did back in the 90's, I have no choice but to disagree with you. You seem to be raising the stakes of what constitutes a real computer user, simply by looking at top end of computing power. And to further my argument a real computer user uses what they need at the time to get the job done regardless of computing power.

veLa veLa said:

Let me know when I can install Photoshop and Sony Vegas on a tablet. Oh and let me know when that tablet is going to let me render 1080p videos as fast as my i7 does.

I hope everyone recognizes my sarcasm.

PC nerd PC nerd said:

Hell no. I have my desktop for gaming. Laptop for work stuff, HTC Wildfire for phone.

I've used tablets before and I can honestly say, they're not the all-rounder technology which will replace everything. They're useless for gaming, typing and spreadsheet work. They're also useless for any kind of 3D modelling or web design.

They're nothing but play things for kids, Adults will always use desktops/laptops.

Guest said:

This is based off the 25% that only use a pc for internet and social media, there is no way that you could fully replace a pc for gaming, you'd get sick of tapping, and mistapping...

TJGeezer said:

Techspot is biased and very obviously takes bribes.

Where's my bribe? I want a bribe too.

Guest said:

" But in the end everyone who switches to tablets is giving up power,..."

I agree w/that. Been looking 4 a laptop w/dedicated graphics card and was amazed at the prices. Between that and the new trend in no cd player, I see that they want us all to load up our files to the cloud and have just dumb terminals eventually. They control the vertical and the horizontal. No thanks. It's bad enough they now charge by the year for programs when before you bought and owned them permanently. I see our choices slowly being taken away, bit by "oh that new gizmo!" bit.

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