How PCs became giant smartphones

We are all familiar with the pandemic sales of toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

You can also add PCs to this list.

According to Christopher Mims at The Wall Street Journal, quarterly PC sales are up more than 50% from 2019, as remote working has become the norm.

Smartphones have conquered the world …

… But the PC – with a bigger screen, a physical keyboard, and no Candy Crush apps – is the best option for productivity.

And, to be really useful, PC makers try to incorporate the best parts of the smartphone experience:

  • Longer battery life
  • Thinner and more portable sizes
  • High quality cameras (for Ugh Zoom meetings)
  • And, soon, direct connection to the cellular network including 5G

While the changes are nice, we are adamant against all attempts to turn laptops into foldable tablets.

Apple pushed the industry

Mims writes that Apple’s decision to build its own PC (M1) chip is forcing its competitors to catch up.

By tightly integrating software and hardware, Apple laptops and desktops are blazingly fast.

Intel’s unique approach, which still powers around 80% of laptops, is changing. PC makers are embracing the new philosophy by bringing in chip designer Arm and manufacturers like Qualcomm and MediaTek for custom chips.

The big winner could be Google

“Thanks in large part to the rapid adoption in the education market,” writes Mims, “[Google’s] Chromebooks as a percentage of PCs sold have exploded over the past 18 months.

Among the more affordable options are Chromebook laptops, built around Chrome OS and browser-based productivity.

Even with Google’s gains, the entire market is growing for the first time in a decade, and there is a price worth fighting for.

Just in time for the madness: Microsoft will announce its new Windows PC operating system on June 24.

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