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Are you ready to give up your desktop computer?

A guest entry by FCW Editor-in-Chief John Monroe

In recent months, we’ve heard several people beating the drum for a mobile-first computing strategy. The laptop, the tablet, the smart phone — according to some visionaries, these and similar products are slowly overtaking the desktop computer as the preferred personal computing platform.

Case in point: The Defense Contract Management Agency plans to save $5 million by 2014 by ditching all but 1,000 of its 13,000 desktop computers, according to a recent report by the Federal Times. And in a recent request for information, officials at the General Services Administration said they envision creating an “anytime, anywhere, any device” IT infrastructure, capable of supporting its teleworking employees.

Personally, I haven’t worked on a desktop PC for quite a few years. I don’t even bother with a flat-screen hookup in the office anymore, having adapted to the laptop screen. So it’s a seamless transition when I work at home or go on the road.

People equipped with tablet PCs or smart phones have an even easier time of it, being able to check their e-mail and work with documents (and even stream Netflix videos) without hauling out the laptop. More and more, the expectation is that people will be readily accessible no matter where they might be working at any given moment.

Understandably, organizations looking to cut costs are bound to wonder if it is necessary to fork out money for desktop PCs in addition to all the mobile devices. Making the switch is not a viable option for some employees, but perhaps it is for many.

But is there a catch here? If you work on a PC now, what would you miss if forced to trade it for a laptop? And then there’s the cost. Laptop computers cost considerably more than many desktop systems, which might make organizations think twice where mobility is not a high priority.

What do you think?

Posted on Jun 30, 2011 at 12:18 PM

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Reader comments

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 John Scott

I think laptops or hybrid low powered desktops are fine. I think the days of the big boxy desktops are behind us. Laptops can be used on the desktop very easily. People who don't like their Touchpad's can easily add a mouse. They can also be connected to a bigger monitor for desktop use. Still saving money and energy. The drawback to laptops is upgradability and lifespan. I believe desktops still hold a advantage in life. Because their not subject to the stresses of portability, smaller electronics and more heat. Still the advantages of portability and energy savings far outweigh the negatives.

Wed, Oct 5, 2011

It would be interesting to see the demographic information for those who want laptops and those who only want desktops. Younger workers who have used laptops for years are probably more comfortable with the laptop and docking station setup at work.

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 WorkFromHome

I hate using the laptop keyboard. That is reason enough for not having a laptop. I have seen some setups with a standard keyboard connected to a laptop. I could go with that. Another reason for keeping a desktop is that as it is not portable, the chances of it being stolen or lost are much less than with a laptop taken from place to place.

Mon, Aug 1, 2011 phyllis

No laptop for me at work, need the big screen, ability to adjust it, move keyboard over here, screen over there...double screens...move the keyboard as far away from the screen as I can...seems like you are getting into the one-size fits all mode...not for me

Wed, Jul 6, 2011

When I can get a mobile/portable device that allows me to leave a dozen windows open as I navigate between several cutting/pasting/copying/sorting/reviewing tasks (did someone say virtual office displays?) and continue to be productive will I even think about giving up my desktop, either of them! Try editing image files, modifying web pages, or create complex queries on the puny screen of any portable device.

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