As laptops dominate, desktop PCs face obsolescence – reports Reuters:
The age of the desktop PC appears to be over as its more portable cousin, the laptop, surges ahead with consumers clamoring for light-weight computers in funky designs for use at home, in cafes and on the train to work.
Not a single desktop model figured on online shopping portal Amazon.com’s top 10 selling PC and hardware list the weekend before Christmas, while seven laptop models made the list.
OK, I get it. Laptops outsell desktops – nothing new there. But let’s not bury desktops just yet – not if you value your health. Laptops are unhealthy. Well, that’s an understatement. They are crippling us. It’s really simple, says the Harvard Medical School:
“When the keyboard is in the proper position for the wrist, the screen is not in an adequate position for the neck and vice versa. Using a laptop is a trade off between poor neck/head posture and poor hand/wrist posture.”
Working Well Ergonomics explains:
In “A”, the laptop is too high and distant, with the user’s arms raised and outstretched, resulting in unnecessary fatigue in the shoulders, neck, back, forearms and hands. In “B”, the user has the laptop in the lap, which facilitates good arm position, but the user’s head is dropped, causing muscle tension in the back, neck, shoulders and chest. In “C”, the laptop is on a “standard” surface that is too low and close for comfortable viewing, and too high for upper body comfort. Notice that the hands are higher than the elbows, the wrists are resting on the edge of the worksurface, and the low back is not supported. This position increases risk for injury to the neck, back, elbows, and wrists.
Of course there are solutions like raising the screen (i.e. the entire laptop) on a stand / docking station or using an external display and keyboard at a proper position, but they are quite expensive. If you tend to work a lot at the same desk, nothing beats the convenience and power of a desktop with a large screen – or two:
(Photo Credit: Fog Creak Software)
(Photo Credit: Gabor Cselle & Xobni)
Interestingly enough I see the newly fashionable trend of Netbooks as life-extension for desktops. Why? Because they are not replacements, primary all-purpose notebooks.
At these price levels Netbooks will promote the trend of using multiple, purpose-oriented computers: desktop for the office, notebook for mobility, Netbook for short term extreme travel (air travel, small package, conferences..etc where light weight and small size are the key criteria). Of course this is a lot easier if we use Web-based applications, since neither our apps or data are tied to any particular machine: we have achieved device-independent computing.
So yes, desktops are here to stay as part of the mix of computing devices we use. But they don’t have to be bulky, noisy, require myriads of cables for attachments added as an afterthought when they should have been seamlessly included in the first place. It’s great to see Apple is no longer the only one to bring classy desktops to the market:
(Photo Credit: Gizmodo)