Mobile Computer Sales Continue to Surge; but Desktop Variety Still Has a Place and Don't Declare It Dead, Say Analysts

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Byline: Nathan Porter , THE WASHINGTON TIMES

New sales figures show slow the decline of the personal computer is accelerating, with consumers abandoning the desktop units in droves in favor of more portable devices.

New figures from the International Data Corp. show 1 million fewer PC shipments than tablets in the third quarter of this year.

Shipments for major PC vendors have declined for six quarters, and the first quarter of 2013 saw the steepest overall quarterly drop (13.9 percent) since IDC started tracking the PC market in 1994.

Meanwhile, tablet sales are soaring.

Tablets give you a nice interface for all the things you want to do but couldn't really do with a PC, said Jennifer Golbeck, director of the human-computer interaction lab at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The changing of the guard is the latest in a dizzying acceleration of tools, toys and technology over the past quarter century, covering everything from typewriters to Microsoft Windows, cassettes to MP3s, and VHS to Blu-ray.

Still, analysts say don't look for a world without PCs just yet.

While I think this trend will continue, there are still going to be many people who will need to use PCs, said Tim Finin, an engineering professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

PCs remain a staple of the global business environment and continue to offer a certain level of depth that exceeds the scope of a tablet. …