Updated on March 7th, 2019
As technology continues its never-ending ascent and evolution, there are some trends that stand out as unavoidably common.
The increasing importance of the internet is one of these trends, as is the growing emphasis we put on networking capabilities. What we want to look at today, however, is the growing trend of portability in tech devices.
How do we quantify this development, which avenues have been the most explored, and what are the natural end-points of this advancement?
1. Decreasing Emphasis On Desktop Computing
Desktop computers had long been the defacto method of personal computing due to the technical necessities of the past. Older hardware took up much more space and, because of this, it was much more difficult to offer a system capable of performing the same feats in a mobile system.
The first viable portable computer (before the term laptop arrived) was the Osborne 1, released in 1981. Weighing around 23.6 pounds, this came with a tiny 5-inch screen and no battery. Costing $1,800, which would be $5,240 today when adjusted for inflation, this computer was revolutionary, but it was far from a suitable replacement.
Following the turn of the new millennium, however, the technology had finally reached a point where it had become a practical alternative for a great many uses. Much of this came down to the ubiquity of computers as work and study systems, and the increased convenience of being able to carry and maintain your own personalized setup with a laptop system.
Eventually, tablets would also take a dent out of the PC’s domination. Rather than operating as serious and feasible work alternatives, these tablets took the place of many computers as entertainment systems. Easy to use, and even more portable than laptops, devices like iPads have increased user-friendliness, which made them perfect not just for smaller spaces, but also for children and the technologically uninformed.
Looking at some numbers from Statista, we can see that the worldwide shipments of desktop PCs in 2018 had dropped to 94.4 million units. During that same year, tablets shipped 150.3 million units, while laptops shipped 162.3 million.
2. Playing The Part Of Streaming
It is also important to note that, during the last few years, the popularity of tablets and laptops has decreased, though not as rapidly as with desktop computers. The reason for this comes down the supremacy of streaming and the methods which are now possible in utilizing this increasingly common technology.
In terms of playing music, smartphones are now the king. Having the user-friendliness and efficiency of older mp3 players, mobile phones have now long existed as a strong alternative to traditional portable music hardware. These don’t just work as a storage media either, as their Wi-Fi and data connections allow them to easily stream online music, and from systems cheaper than any available before.
The other side of the equation comes from the benefits of modern smart-televisions. While it used to be the case that special boxes had to be utilized to stream, or that desktop or laptop computer had been used as a basis for streaming services like Youtube or Morpheus TV, this is no longer the case.
A modern television cannot only perform these tasks free of other equipment, but they can also connect wirelessly to home networks, offering a much simpler and more desirable method of access for many.
3. A Base Of Solidity, But For How Long?
Currently standing as a strong block preventing the utter dominance of mobile technology over desktop computers is the gaming medium. This occurs because running modern PC games like Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed Odyssey at the highest quality can only be achieved through desktop hardware.
Scaling this hardware technology down for laptops not only decreases its efficiency, but it also increases the cost, leaving desktops as the default system for serious PC gamers.
The issue challenging this dominance is the increasing prevalence and capability of the mobile platform, on multiple fronts. The extent of these systems’ spread, with around five billion users total and growing, means an enormous potential customer base, and increasingly more developers are taking notice.
In terms of AAA gaming, we have the likes of Fortnite and PUBG, two of the most popular games in the world, which have been making enormous profits in the mobile space (Fortnite mobile alone makes over $2 million a day).
The same can be said for mobile casinos like Betway, which offer hundreds of games and avenues of engagement from sports betting to live casinos. We also can’t forget more traditional mobile games like Angry Birds, which have gone on to become such big hits that they become a media phenomenon in their own right.
In the future, the mobile platform will go even further, with game streaming soon taking place alongside its already established video and audio cousins.
The current trajectory is undoubtedly one where increased portability will play an ever more popular part of the technological future. That said, the strengths of grounded equipment make it too important to ever vanish completely.
As great as wireless opportunities are, they are not flawless or entirely reliable. Combine this with the increased security that comes with a system protected from the outside, and we a have a world with room for both portable and desktop systems.
In short, we do expect the future is very much one where portability will play an even larger part than it does today, meaning a more connected and efficient future for everyone.