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PC sales decline in Japan November 10, 2007

Posted by Al in : computers,interesting , trackback

As PC sales decline, slowly but steadily, in Japan I am wondering how long it will be before the rest of the world starts to follow this trend. I think there are a number of issues at play in this decline, and although having ready alternatives, such as mobile phones and games consoles, is definitely a contributing factor, I think the lack of advancement in PC architecture and power is also to blame, along with an improvement in component life.

I’m currently writing this on a PC that is 4 and a half years old, and it still does everything I want it to do. It’s got a 2.53GHz Pentium 4, with 1GB RAM and a 120GB HDD – which was top-spec in 2002, but is not too bad a spec even now. I’m starting to worry that the hard drive will fail soon, but I have everything backed up, both locally and online, and I have plans for a new PC next year. What’s different now is that 4-5 years ago you would have to upgrade your PC every other year in order to be able to use the latest software, or play the latest games. Now, whilst my graphics card would not give anywhere near the same performance as a modern card, I could still run a modern game at a reasonable resolution to be playable, and productive software hasn’t required any enhancements for many years.

As PCs last longer, and specs fail to improve at anywhere near the levels they used to, I can see PC sales declining around the world. As mobile broadband technologies, such as HSDPA, start to roll out then their prices will come down, and soon Internet and email access on your phone will be commonplace. Once it is, I cannot see PC sales holding their current volume, as user will had little or no need to upgrade.

I’d also like to point out that new Linux distributions, particularly Ubuntu, are giving life to old PCs, which once again will reduce sales of new PCs. I have been using Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) for a month now, and I almost prefer it to Windows XP. When I build my new PC next year I will install Ubuntu first, and then run XP or Vista in a virtual machine. This will give me the best of both worlds, and will allow greater security and flexibility. It will also require less expenditure as I won’t need to buy the latest, and most expensive, graphics card or motherboard.


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