As Phone, Tablet Sales Dip, Computers Sales Will Rebound

By Charles Kelly, President, Computer Exchange

The great Windows 10 migration of 2015 to 2016 appears to be complete (although users can still obtain the upgrade, free of charge for now, even though the technical free upgrade date has passed).

Microsoft has an enormous amount of resources devoted to moving customers to Windows 10, so we predict that the upgrade path will remain in place for quite some time. Windows 7 and Windows 7 Pro products are still available and for many of you in the business community, you simply have to use Windows 7 or 7 Pro to run your software.

Tablet sales have leveled off and many tablet users are finding the lack of functionality a force driving them back to desktops or full-featured laptops. Has anyone typed a report on a tablet lately? If you have, it’s probably one of the convertibles that has a keyboard attached.

Smart phone sales are predicted to dip in 2017, which will free up dollars for consumers and businesses to spend on IT products. Again, we find ourselves tapping out email responses and squinting at small screens while our monthly bills for these devices top $200 in some cases.

These factors, along with the fact that many companies have simply put off replacing desktops or laptops until after the Windows 10 migration was complete, will lead us to an actual uptick in sales in the desktop/laptop category for 2017. This same effect was felt in 2014 when XP was officially retired and we had the best new system sales numbers we have had in years.

If you are reading this you probably own a desktop or laptop that has some age on it, running either Windows 7 or Windows 10, but the average age of these systems across the U.S. is higher than ever. That means we are set for a busy year in 2017 and our fall selling season has already begun with a steady set of orders.

What that means for you, the computer owner, is that you should be monitoring the age of your system and be ready to decide what operating system you will need when that time comes to replace it. As I always say, a planned migration is better than an unplanned one.

Take a quick inventory of the programs you will be using and have a plan in place, so you can make an informed decision if and when something fails. Ideally, though, you should not have a failure, you should simply migrate to a new computer on a regular schedule, every three to seven years.

We need fewer computers than we did a decade ago because so much of what we do has migrated to the computer in your pocket. In fact, we now categorize desktops and laptops in pretty much the same category, which is a testament to how much things have changed even in the last five years. It becomes desktops and laptops (the things with keyboards) measured against everything else.

What has not changed is that the articles written for the Buzz on Biz were written on a computer, the bridge spans designed in the CSRA were designed on a computer and my doctor pulls up my medical records on… a computer.

If you are like me, you head for old faithful, the always on, always ready computer standing silent, but ready to do research, or record the pages of a novel or a business letter. There is no substitute for a full-sized desktop computer with a full -sized keyboard, for our aging hands and a large monitor for our aging eyes. When serious work is done, it is done on an actual computer.

My main computer is now seven years old and has lasted longer than I predicted. It still does a tremendous amount of work every day, but I know it’s a matter of time. I am waiting for fall weather to plan my upgrade. The only reason it has lasted this long under such a heavy work load is that I chose good components and, in fact, I will use the same chassis, (housing) for my new system. It is a brushed aluminum unit that sits in an audio rack and in fact, you would think is a stereo component. When I build the new one, it will be built to last for five years, but I hope I get seven.

When the time comes for your new system, get a good one that will last a long time and work well for you for years to come.

Charles Kelly is President of Computer Exchange, with four locations in the CSRA: South Augusta, North Augusta, Martinez and Grovetown. Computer Exchange specializes in computer solutions for home and business. For answers to your computer questions, email him at charles@computerexchange.com.

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