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Is Mobile Dead?

Since PC and Tablet sales slowed over the last few years, there have been a million articles written about the death of the desktop in particular.

So presumably the news that mobile handset growth is slowing to single figures must mean that we’re about to have a deluge of predictions that mobile is over?

It’s in a new report from IDC. They predict the total shipments 2015 will amount to a 9.8 percent increase compared to last year, or 1.43 billion units. According to the firm, growth has slowed in the Asia Pacific region, Latin America, and Western Europe. Apparently China is saturated, so the big places for growth now are in Africa and the Middle East – and Wired predicts that this is all good news for Apple as consumers will start to trade up for a more premium product (The subtext is that apparently only iOS and Android will be worth worrying about).

Mobile-is-dead

A quick Google search for ‘desktop is dead’ points to this article by Gizmodo back in 2009. At that point, the desktop was in a death spiral due to the rise of laptops. It also stated that PC Gaming was dead.

I should point out that 6 years later, Steam has 125 million active users, and has had as many as 12.5 million people playing concurrently. Xbox Live has around 48 million, PlayStation Network 110 million (65 million active monthly), and one of the most popular mobile/tablet games Clash of Clans had around 8.5 million daily players.

One day I dream that hardware makers and analysts will finally accept that there is no ‘one device to rule them all’. I know this, because in the last 24 hours I’ve used my laptop for work and streaming some television, used my tablet to check in on Instagram and Clash of Clans, and had a quick go on both by Xbox 360 and Xbox One. And browsed the latest prices for a new desktop PC purchase after Christmas (Primarily for work and video/photo editing, but potentially also for iRacing).

I’ve also used my mobile to check in at various places, send texts and updates, and for navigation – and even caught a few minutes on a traditional television set.

Perhaps the best example of refusing this logic is Microsoft. First Windows 8, and then the Xbox One interface, which tried to be an entertainment hub but does a worse job of it that the Xbox 360 version.

I might occasionally watch TV on my Xbox One, but the primary reason I bought it was to play videogames, so that’s what it needs to do well. Just like I want a desktop capable of handling 40,000+ line spreadsheets and editing big video files, a laptop which can handle most tasks, and a tablet that can serve entertainment, lightweight games and possibly a presentation or two. I don’t need my mobile to do any of that at the expense of a decent camera, battery life and connectivity (including a decent GPS).

There are plenty of stats about how people now use their mobile more for a variety of tasks, but I’d be interested to know if that’s because they prefer it, or because they don’t have access to a better option. I’ll use my mobile to view TV or for eCommerce if I have to, but not if my tablet is nearby. And I’ll use my laptop if possible.