The PC Isn't Dead ... Yet

Word coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show this year is that the PC has been rendered obsolete by newer, shinier gadgets at this year's show. Tablets like the Apple (NAS: AAPL) iPad 2 and (NAS: AMZN) Kindle Fire and others have captured not only the media's attention but that of consumers as well.

Some think that these developments will render Intel (NAS: INTC) and Microsoft's (NAS: MSFT) domination of the PC business obsolete. But we're far from the extinction of the PC.

Tablets for everyday use
As a writer, I'm constantly on my PC, a device that's hardly been rendered obsolete by the tablet. In fact, for many business applications the PC is simply indispensible. Spreadsheets and word processing are still the PC's bread and butter, and tablets can't yet compete with the same efficiency or ease of use.

It's true that the replacement cycle of the PC will slow, but the overall market is holding steady worldwide, even with the new competition. During 2011, global PC sales were flat with 2010 as more people around the world gained computer access.

The PC always reinvents itself
Since becoming a household item in the 1980s, the PC has reinvented itself many times. There was the all-in-one Apple II, the desktop and tube monitor, the flat-screen LCD monitor, the laptop, and now the superthin ultrabook. What hasn't changed is its increased usage in the world and our reliance on the basic PC.

The PC may just have to take a new form in our lives, with the lines between television, computing, and communication devices becoming more blurred. As that happens, maybe the PC becomes something totally different.

What could replace the PC?
When Apple comes out with its Apple TV (or whatever the company will call it), what I'll be watching for is a potential PC replacement. Are the days of a dedicated monitor going by the wayside? Will I soon be mounting a 50-inch TV in my office and just connecting a keyboard and mouse to it for my daily writing?

I hope so, but the death of the PC is a long way off. There are just certain capabilities a tablet or a smartphone can't replace, no matter how cool they are.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorTravis Hoiummanages an account that owns shares of Intel, Apple, and Microsoft. You can follow Travis on Twitter at@FlushDrawFool, check out hispersonal stock holdings, or follow his CAPS picks atTMFFlushDraw.The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel, Microsoft,, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Intel, Apple,, and Microsoft and creating bull call spread positions in Apple, Intel, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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