With all of the new smartphones and tablets available, I get this question a lot. Personally, I don’t think that computers (desktops OR laptops) are going away anytime soon. It’s true that tablets and phone have some amazing functionality – if you can think of it, someone has probably written an app to do it. For example, I use a free app on my smartphone to measure wireless signal strength and detect wireless networks. This app has replaced the need to use a laptop for this purpose, and previous handheld devices to do the same were very expensive. Now, I have a free app with more functionality. Amazing.
Tablets are also impressive pieces of technology. They have pretty much all of the functionality of a laptop in a pound-and-a-half package that you can toss in your purse or briefcase, with double-digit battery life and amazing screen resolution. Impressive.
Tablets and smartphones have one thing in common – they are great content browsers. You can surf the Internet, read a book, play a game, watch a movie, listen to music, get directions, view a map, etc. They are not good content creators. If you want to create a spreadsheet, or write a letter, or edit a picture, or layout a newsletter, you will be most comfortable on a laptop or desktop with a real keyboard, real mouse and a big screen. No one is going to write the next great American novel on an iPad (ok, cue the universe – someone prove me wrong!)
Because of this simple fact – laptops and desktops are best for creating content, phones and tablets are best for browsing what others have created – I believe laptops and desktops will be with us for a long time to come. They may look different than they do today, the programs we run on them will undoubtedly look different, but they are not going away.