back to article Tablets will overtake consumer PCs, says Fujitsu CTO

Content consumption rules for consumers and tablet sales will overtake consumer PC and notebook sales. That's the view of Dr Joseph Reger, Fujitsu's chief technology officer. Reger thinks tablet sales are going to cannibalise consumer desktop and notebook sales, because consumers want to consume content more than they want to …


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  1. Cameron Colley

    Good luck using an iPad without a Windows or OSX machine.

    The pretty screen asking you to initialize it gets dull in the end.

    That kind of thing aside -- how good are Android tabs at interfacing with cameras and the like? How are people going to quickly update their Flicaramio photostreams otherwise?

    Not that I think he's completely wrong, but I think things will have to change quite a lot before most households can do without desktop PC and/or laptops entirely.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      iOS 5 'cuts the cord'

      @Cameron Colley: "The pretty screen asking you to initialize it gets dull in the end."

      One of the features of iOS 5 is the ability to work - from start to finish - independently. There will be no need to connect with a desktop/laptop *ever*. And iCloud is (finally) designed to allow documents etc to be shared effectively without the constant syncing pain.

      I think this analysis is spot on, and not just for home use. Conventional workplace equipment with Windows and Office are way over the top (in features, power, and cost) for most business requirements. Most Office users barely scratch the surface of the software, and the hardware spends the bulk of its time idling.

    2. Richard 45
      Thumb Up

      Asus TF101

      I have one of these, with the keyboard dock. Also, being Android, it has USB sockets in it so I plug in my card reader and transfer JPGs off my D200's CF card and upload to Flickr. The raw NEF files I process on the laptop.

      The keyboard is also good enough for touch typing. So far it's lived up to my expectations and replaced about 90-95% of the time I'd otherwise spend sat in front of the laptop, thus prolonging its life. Video editing is possible under Android, but obviously nowhere near as good as Sony Vegas under XP. Ditto it has Photoshop Express, which is perfectly OK for basic retouching.

      Oh, and Asus pushed out the Android 3.2 update for it this morning.

    3. marc 9

      Not so...

      Purchased a iPad yesterday and the bloke in the Apple store initialised it for me, meaning I dont have to install iTunes at all. I think iOS 5 will also address this.

  2. Skippy


    Shall we just whip up a standard article?

    "<Company> claims <insert random device> will kill off desktops!"

    It'll save everyone a lot of time and effort.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For other occasions, we can add...

      "<Company>'s <storage method> will kill off rotating media!"

      I think we have that one every couple of years.

      And, of course, if you want to go to automotive, there's always "In five years, turbines will overtake internal combustion!"

  3. pompurin
    Thumb Down


    Give me a mouse and keyboard any day. I can't stand those tablets.

    1. Thomas 4

      When a tablet

      ...can run Deus Ex: Human Revolution smoothly, has a keyboard from a 20" inch laptop and can fit a gaming mouse, then we'll talk. Until then, this guy is talking out of his arse.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge


        When a tablet can be used by multiple users without all of their browsing, emails, files etc all being in one place at the same time. Even if I could get two or three tablets for 1 desktop I wouldn't as it would be yet more devices to maintain and charge.

        1. Ru
          Big Brother

          When a tablet can be used by multiple users...

          You'll buy one tablet per user and support our economy and like it, you godless communist.

          1. Handle This

            Thank you, Sir!

            I haven't been called a godless communist in years - that felt so good! And without having to leave the house and show up to laugh at the Tea Baggers, um, I mean Partiers.

            It's nice to be able to return to your roots once in a while . . .

  4. Paul Shirley

    stating the bleedin' obvious

    It's not that 'consumers' aren't creating content, it's that most of the content they're creating is either best done on their phone (Twitter) or being done on the go where carrying a tablet is a poor option. Unless social media dies no-one needs more than a T9 keypad and a phone camera for all the content they're ever likely to 'create'.

    What that means isn't so much that the desktop is dead but that laptops are endangered. Laptops of course have seriously impacted desktop PC's already, so I question just how much scope there's left for tablets to replace them.

    Other than that he's been paid to state the bleeding obvious.

  5. Tony Paulazzo


    Once the masses are locked into once more paying over the odds for content being streamed to their tablets, the music and film industries will leave the internet alone - hopefully.

    Tablets at this point will only be able to access Facebook, a government sanctioned Baidu, and, of course, the iCloud. News and other content will be delivered in paid for apps by son of Rupert and there won't be a website browser as such.

    Long live the dark side.

  6. juice Silver badge

    That seems optimistic...

    Sure, tablets are great for consuming media - but they make a lot of things very difficult. Tapping out a quick message on Facebook is easy enough, but I'd hate to try and use a full-blown word processor on a tablet. Similarly, reviewing and tweaking photos/video is a lot more difficult (and effectively impossible with the iPad, unless you spend more money on a SD card reader - and even then, the functionality is limited, especially when it comes to video codec support).

    Music management is just as bad - I've not experimented much in Android, but the media player on the iPod Touch is completely reliant on a PC-hosted copy of iTunes; aside from the fact that you can only import songs via iTunes (barring any you buy via the iTunes app on the device), unless I've missed something, you can't create new playlists, edit existing playlists or delete songs.

    And don't get me started on video processing - it's a bit of an edge case, but with 48 hours of footage going onto Youtube every minute of the day, there's a fair number of people waving video cameras around (myself included).

    Sad to say though, Joseph is probably right in the long term: tablets are "good enough" for most people, and so will end up becoming dominant - it's notable that both Apple and Microsoft have made moves to make their desktop UIs look more like their handheld UIs - the WM7 interface has already been ported over to the Xbox 360's Dashboard, reducing it's functionality in the process. Quite why a UI designed for a small handheld screen is deemed appropriate for a device hooked up to a large 1080p screen is beyond me (albeit the screen resolutions are scarily similar). But I digress...

    1. Tim Almond

      Media Consumption

      <i>Sure, tablets are great for consuming media</i>

      If I'm watching a movie on a TV, it's 32" in size, widescreen and in stereo. I can sit back, open a beer and enjoy it. With a laptop, it's 15" in size, I can put it on a desk, adjust the screen and watch it. Not quite so comfortable, but it's OK. With an iPad, it's 10" in size, and I've got to either hold it, or use a stand.

      I keep being told it's a great media consumption device, but I don't understand how a tablet is the best of those options. What am I not understanding?

      1. Paul Shirley

        @Tim Almond

        Tim Almond:"I keep being told it's a great media consumption device, but I don't understand how a tablet is the best of those options. What am I not understanding?"

        I spend an hour or so catching up on news and assorted browsing each morning *before leaving bed*. I've tried it with my laptop and it was a PIA finding space for it and my breakfast and not much fun getting my lap toasted! It's been a lot more pleasant using my phone, when I find the excuse I expect a tablet to do better.

        What you're missing is how much the desktop/laptop form factor affects how and where you 'want' to use them. For pure consumption tablets are just that bit easier to use on a sofa, armchair, in bed, or flipped on their side while you lie there. The idea of sitting in front of a laptop to watch media would never occur to me, slobbing on a settee would.

  7. Meerkatjie


    At least it will be easier for me to throw the tablet out the window when it does something inexplicably stupid and frustrating.

  8. dz-015

    What absolute rubbish

    1. We aren't all mindless zombies who spend our time catatonic in front of the TV when we're not at work. A lot of us use our technology to create photographs, music, writing, etc. outside of our day job.

    2. An iPad isn't just for content consumption. It also has a load of creative content-producing apps for music, photography, etc.

    So utterly wrong for two reasons.

    1. Synonymous Howard

      @We aren't all mindless zombies

      You might not be but there are billions who are ... I've seen the movies and its not going to be pretty when they rise up. Now if it means giving them all slabs to stop them ripping my arms off then I'm all for them (slabs not zombies).

      I could never be a zombie, I'm a vegetarian.

  9. Geoff Thompson

    Shifting ground

    Affordable laptops have probably displaced desktop sales as much as they are likely to, so I don't see tablets making much inroad there. Business will continue to use PCs because they are cheap, ergonomic and secure (no, not IT secure, less nickable or droppable.) To date I would guess tablets have augmented desktop/laptop sales, but I can see that multi-laptop households might have fewer laptops/netbooks and more tablets. I also think tablets have an appeal even if someone owns a good netbook. My prediction is that 7" or 8" variants will become favourite, because they can be stached easily and used in a confined place, such as the tiny area modern trains cram people into.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shifting ground

      In the early days computers were for hobbyists, geeks if you like. People who would build and repair their own kit, stick in non standard parts just to see what happened and how far they could push their creation. Oh, and not forgetting, write their own programs. As with any new technology these people spent relatively vast amounts of money which brought prices down, I think we would all be able to buy an off the shelf machine that would knock spots off our original ones and for a fraction of the price. With the lowering of prices your ordinary punter started to show interest in this, to them, new technology and this is when the ground started to shift. As with anything, once the price is within reach the target market changed from hobbyist to general consumer and manufacturers atarted to build machines for the masses.

      From the very first day that Joe public started buying computers, even though they didn't know what to do with them, the writing was on the wall. Very few people really need a computer and all that has happened is that manufacturers have streamlined a big bulky piece of equipment into something that will do for most consumers, call it evolution or if you must intelligent design, sorry, marketing. The desktop will once again be used by those who need one so there is no point in crying out "over my dead body" will I get a tablet, other people want them and they will be more popular. Big deal, let them be, carry on doing whatever with your PC and to hell with them.

      The only danger is that with a smaller user base prices will rise and some of your favourite apps might fall by the wayside especially if there is no profit to be made. The following may be an unpopular concept but it may be time for the freetards to start paying for those apps now otherwise they will disappear.

  10. EddieD

    close enough

    Most people are consumers - throughout the history of the home computer, they've been bought with the excuse of learning technology, but end up being used for games (80s and 90s) and web browsers in the noughties.

    The social media explosion has given a new use for home machines, but the screenboards are enough for telling everyone that you're going to the loo.

    Beyond that, bluetooth mice and keyboards are not hard to find (and most folk I know with tablets actually lug both round with them)

    Games - the obsession we have with farmville, bejewelled blitz, angry birds etc, shows that lavish, multi-dvd games that require bleeding edge hardware are of interest to a minority only (and current phones/tablets aren't particularly short of processor power anyway)

    They all now automatically work with things like airplay/dnla, so streaming to your telly/audio device is not an issue, and easily setup, so you can enjoy the torrents you're consuming on your plasma telly, not the 7" screen.

    The only real issue is the lack of local storage, and most of Joe Public have no problems with cloud storage, and it will only be refuseniks like me that sync to a local nas-box, but again, this is not tricky.

    Yep, I can easily see the benefits, and can easily see that they will take over, and sooner rather than later - I'll probably keep my current set up for a few years, but will get a tablet soon, and I'll bet large sums of money that it will rapidly become my primary device.

  11. Scott 19
    Paris Hilton


    You offer Monkeys a cardboard box with a banana in it and a cardboard box with selotape on it and a banana in it I know which one people (sorry i mean monkeys) will go for.

    Although games consoles have been around much longer offering banana's to monkeys so it's not like apple bumbing down technology is anything new.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Almost right, but for the wrong reasons

    It may yet be a few years off, but sooner or later all our PC usage will be powered from our mobile phones as a general computing platform and they will simply dock and morph into our work stations, flat screen TVs or any other convenient display and interaction device. It certainly won't be the death of mouse / kb tho - voice tech and motion control is simply too exhaustive to use all day.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      exhaustive would be using all day and all night, i would guess.

  13. Brent Beach


    The number of people who are crazy about ipads, a device that I am it looks like most people responding to this column hate, continues to amaze me. However, I am also amazed by the number of people who think the cameras on phones are worth using. Or who can watch a video on an iphone.

    As the article states, there will be several ipads around the house and only us nerds will be using a keyboard and a mouse to generate content. The rest will find that 140 characters is the upper bound on their creativity and will be happy with iphones and ipads.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Don't write this off

    My mother who's in her late 60's is going to get a tablet when she replaces her current desktop computer. She's already made this decision based on seeing my Acer Android tablet.

    The main reasoning behind it is :

    She only uses it to check the odd web page here and there and send the occasional email

    She doesn't want to keep an ugly computer desk anywhere in the house really - right now it's tucked away in one of her spare rooms. A tablet will fit nicely in the magazine rack and doesn't require it's own furniture.

    I think they need to sort out some nice wireless printer options for these tablets and they will become a lot more popular.

    Just for good measure, I'll add this : I would never buy an Apple product, ever !

  15. system11

    Too difficult...

    It's too difficult to type more than a couple of words on a phone or pad. At that point you probably want to dock it with a keyboard and mouse, and probably a usably sized screen, and then - what was the point of having a tablet in the first place? You've just created a workstation.

    I know quite a few pad owners, and they all use them for the following two purposes:

    1) To watch films or show photographs on the move.

    2) To show people what a cool gadget it is.

  16. Quotidian

    "...only time will tell." You think? Oh my.

    Not sure if "time will tell" because time does not have a mouth but I know two other cliches: "Time marches on," and "We'll wait and see."

  17. Tom 13

    Well, it looks like

    it is time to short Fujitsu.

  18. Gil Grissum
    Thumb Down


    If I can't run ProTools on it to record, mix, master, and store my music, I won't be using it. My used Panasonic Toughbook cost less than a Tablet. A new Laptop with full features and capabilities cost less than a tablet. You can have your content consumption device. The work I do and the video games I play don't run on any tablet. No thanks. I'll be using a PC for work and play, primarily.

  19. Jeff 11


    "They would no longer need to go a special room in the house where the desktop PC is located, with tablets just left lying around and fetched whenever you needed to use one."

    What, is this guy living in the last millenium? Laptop sales eclipsed desktop sales almost a decade ago, IIRC.

  20. AnoniMouse

    They said the same about ...

    It's only a couple of years ago that netbooks were going to overtake PCs, Windows, mouse traps, etc.

  21. b166er

    Not yet Mr Fujitsu

    When it fits in your pocket and has full peripheral availability, THEN you'll be right, but not until then.

  22. Dropper
    Thumb Up

    I agree

    Definitely these things are awesome and as soon as they come with a monitor (or some sort of heavy book-end like device to prop it up), keyboard, mouse as well as the ability to upgrade the RAM, video and sound I'm jumping right on that bandwagon.

  23. GrantB

    Already there

    Gave up on PC gaming ages ago - not worth the expense of maintaining a gaming PC for the odd game, so play Killzone/GT5 etc on my PS3 in the lounge on a 40" LCD.

    About once or twice a month I use the home computer (sitting in the study) for printing or creating documents, and at work I have a decent laptop, but I find the laptop tends to be used more and more as a desktop & I rarely undock it these days. My wife and kids use the home computer a little more (online games in Flash being one reason) but Android tablets do that as well.

    For pretty much everything else, such as reading/interacting with TheRegister/Slashdot/newspapers etc, I find tablets more useful. I can flick on the iPad and immediately read email or flick to a site to check for an update. I can't think of much I can't do; and people thinking you can't do light weight image or video editing on an iPad should take a look at some of the apps on iOS.

    Compare that to my newish HP ProBook running Win7; arrived at work late the other day, flicked it open to check which meeting room I had a meeting in at 9:00am .. crl-alt-del, finger print check, flick to Outlook, found some issue with it still thinking it had multiple monitors so would not show, try Win-P to revert screen display, try closing and restarting Outlook, fail, restart windows.. taking ages to close down running background tasks, ... in the end at least 3+ frustrating minutes to get from opening the lid to Outlook 2010 actually showing the calendar. That is not that uncommon experience, in particular crusty Windows machines after a few months or years of software and patches installed.

    So yes, tablets won't totally replace PC's - and the Fujitsu guy didn't claim they would, but for large number of people, most of the time, they do fine. Issue for MS is that I see no need to upgrade my home PC - its still running XP and other than hardware replacement when it fails, I can't see any reason to replace it with Win8 or anything else as tablets do 80 or 90% of the work.

  24. Tony Paulazzo


    >I know quite a few pad owners, and they all use them for the following two purposes:

    1) To watch films or show photographs on the move.

    2) To show people what a cool gadget it is.<

    Dream diary (always on, no need to find a pen as you desperately try to recall the dream before fully waking up), ecomics, ebooks, various games, surfing, listening to music, watching media, two spreadsheet projects on the go, idea's database, emails, address book, food shopping list (automatic downloading to phone and PC with those last three via Google), keeping the kids quiet, keeping your mum quiet, showing it off to your mates down the pub - oh yea, Facebook, Twitter and, hopefully soon, a Guardian app with lovely formatted pages, but until then we've got Flipbook which lovingly formats all your RSS, Facebook and Twitter feeds for you.

    Shockingly enough, it's the photo app which is the weakest part of the ipad, you can do very little with them and have to install them via iTunes (and I guess, your camera). What should've been the ipads strongest feature is severely lacking.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Point, you missed it.

      You missed the point. User's don't use it with:

      >Dream diary (always on, no need to find a pen as you desperately try to recall the dream before fully waking up), ecomics, ebooks, various games, surfing, listening to music, watching media, two spreadsheet projects on the go, idea's database, emails, address book, food shopping list ...<

      They use it in a Starbucks (or on the move) to look at films or photographs, or demonstrate what a cool, neat, hip gadget they have. This is the difference between capabilities and actual use.

      If they are replacing Netbooks, sure I could see that, but they are not close to replacing PCs, and Notebooks. They are overgrown smartphones, without the phone part.

  25. Sirius Lee

    Customers want to consume content, not produce it...

    ...until they do.

    I'd love to use some kind of tablet. It would be convenient, not take up much space, be cheaper,...

    However, I can't because I want to do things the Android/Apple devices are not designed to do. And I want to have a large screen not one with a resolution I ditched 20 years ago.

    An option would be to have a tablet for the occasions when that would be useful. But then I'd have my laptop, tablet and smart phone. The time consumed ensuring all the software is up-to-date, that contacts are shared is too much. And anyway, the smartphone does enough in the small form factor.

  26. Bob. Hitchen
    Paris Hilton

    laptops are ok on holiday

    I haven't much local use for anything that is not a desktop. 28 inch screen can do multiple thinks at once; don't need a magnifying glass and if it goes wrong can replace the bits easily. Even when I go on holiday with a laptop I use a separate screen keyboard and mouse Oh and a photo printer. Laptops tablets and phones have one major weakness - they use batteries which won't last the day out. I thought dem pads were for people watching a minature Paris in the small room whilst getting a good grip of the essentials. I've heard they have crap cameras front and back - the mind boggles!

  27. ThinkNauts

    Attention S-Mart shoppers: That is why you fail

    "users continue to shift from being content creators to content consumers"

    Umm. You see where this is heading right? Please tell me you at least SEE it? Oh I don't expect anyone to have the balls to actually put down the remote and the bag of chips and get up and do anything about it.... like actually invent or build and produce anything.. that would be too much work.. But for the love of money, tell me you Know and Realize that you are walking into the showers.. thats all. just admit it. then you can go to sleep. I won't judge you. quitters.

    Your salvation lies.. and tells the truth.. watch ThinkNauts on YouTube

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