Kiss Your PC Goodbye

PC laptop in the trash
Your desktop -- and maybe even the shiny new laptop that you bought a few months ago -- are dinosaurs.

There's been plenty of evidence suggesting that folks aren't warming up to PCs anymore. The "good enough" computing revolution that has nudged consumers-on-the-go toward smartphones and tablets is taking its toll on the box business.

We saw it on Tuesday when Dell (DELL) reported a 14% drop in PC revenue. It was confirmed a day later when Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) followed up with a 10% dip in PC sales.

Excuses, Excuses

Box bulls will argue that the global slump in PC sales is tied to the soft economies around the world. Once things start to turn around, companies will begin ordering more PCs.

Don't bet on it, investors.

If the global economic malaise is the scapegoat, why are smartphones and tablets selling so well?

Another excuse for the industry's slide is that potential buyers are waiting for Microsoft (MSFT) to push out Windows 8. The buzz is strong on the new operating system, and traditionally PC sales spike when a new version of Windows hits the market.

Well, don't bet on that either.

What makes Windows 8 so special is that it's Microsoft's first platform developed with tablets and other touchscreen devices in mind. Even Microsoft is jumping into the tablet fray, planning to introduce Surface tablets later this year running on two different Windows 8 platforms.

Bye Bye, Ol' Ball and Chain

Obviously, the PC isn't going away overnight.

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There are still plenty of people who prefer the larger displays available on laptops and especially desktops. There's also the sheer computing power that hardcore computing enthusiasts, professionals, and diehard gamers crave, which can't be satisfied by a tablet saddled with a Bluetooth keyboard cover.

However, a lot of people who do own PCs are just using them to surf the Web, check e-mail, and fire off the occasional letter. For these casual users it doesn't make a lot of sense to be anchored down by a desktop or to lug around a laptop when new smartphones and tablets can do all that with the convenience of portability.

The trend will continue, and that's bad news for both Dell and HP.

7 Products, Concepts, and Ideas That Won't Exist by 2025
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Kiss Your PC Goodbye

I can almost see teenagers across America, as well as white-collar workers on Wall Street, foaming at the mouth because of this statement. I admit, I'm not an energy drink buyer, period, but I can understand their mass appeal now. What I feel will do them in will be the ever-broadening scope of the Food and Drug Administration. At the moment the FDA is working its way under the tobacco industries' skin and could find its way into regulating the certain aspects of energy drinks including safety, ingredients, and manufacturing, within the next decade. That could be a crushing blow for energy drink giant Monster Beverage (NAS: MNST), which generates more than 90% of its sales from its energy drinks.

Come on, you knew there was going to be at least one no-brainer in here! Chances are that if you own a smartphone, the camera in your phone has a higher resolution than the digital camera you own. This is one reason Eastman Kodak bit the dust (one of a dozen may I add) and is another reason why it's crucial to pay attention to camera display sensor companies like OmniVision Technologies (NAS: OVTI) that are driving camera innovation in devices from both Apple (AAPL) and Samsung. With new smartphones sporting 8MP cameras, and resolutions increasing yearly, why wouldn't digital cameras go extinct?

Personally, I'm surprised 3-D televisions still exist now, just two years after debuting on the market. Of the seven things listed here, this is the fad of all fads, and is one of the primary reasons why Best Buy (NYS: BBY), which bet big on 3-D TVs, has been in a downward spiral in recent months. There are plenty of reasons that 3-D TVs are staying out of people's homes, including high price points, the need for ridiculous glasses, and frankly, very little content is currently available in 3-D. Lower 3-D set prices could bring a short revival of sales in the future, but the likelihood of 3-D content expanding dramatically amid already tepid sales makes this technology's survival a long shot.

Sure, there will be a die-hard few who live in caves and refuse to relinquish their platinum miles card from their wallet, but the trend over the coming decade will be a move from plastic to near-field communication inspired modes of payment using mobile devices. NFC payments are faster, more secure and more convenient for users. Two companies that could benefit in a big way from this movement are Dolby Laboratories (NYS: DLB) and NXP Semiconductors (NAS: NXPI). NXP makes the chips used in NFC-enabled mobile devices while Dolby Labs' subsidiary, Via Licensing, owns all NFC patents. This means big royalties anytime NFC technology is used in a mobile device. Keep your eye on these two names.

Blame email or blame smartphones, but one way or another the post office is on its way out. The USPS defaulted on a required $5.5 billion payment to the postal workers' pension for the first time in its history earlier this month, and for the third quarter, the USPS lost a staggering $5.2 billion, or $57 million per day. That's an unsustainable government loss that's only expected to widen over the coming years and will prompt whichever party finds itself in office over the next decade to give the USPS the ax. FedEx, UPS, and other shippers have a few years to figure out how to pick up the slack before the USPS tips over from a stiff breeze.

All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't solve the eurozone debt crisis if they threw everything they've got at it! After years of gross budgetary mismanagement, Greece has accepted nearly $300 billion in aid from the EU to buoy its collapsing economy, Spain recently accepted $125 billion in aid for its banks, Ireland took $113 billion in aid, and Italy could be on the verge of needing assistance with its lending rates hovering around 6%. EU leaders can continue to kick these problems further down the road, but at some point they are going  to flush to the forefront all at once -- and the EU as we know it will not exist by 2025.

Though some disagree, the United States' days as the world's most important nation are numbered. That doesn't mean the U.S. won't hold its lead in innovation and manufacturing, but China is well on its way to dethroning the U.S. in countless other categories. China already lays claim to the world's leading manufacturing output, energy consumption, and steel usage, and should, based on its current trajectory, easily surpass the U.S. in total GDP, retail sales, and imports by 2025. Simply put, people will be looking toward China to dictate global growth in the future, not the United States.


Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft.

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