Over the past 6 years there has been a monumental shift in the design of electronics and mobile devices, and one cannot walk down the high street now without seeing at least one tech junkie with a smartphone seemingly glued to their hands. Unlike on a traditional mobile phone, smartphone users aren’t texting people or calling their friends, they are updating their Facebook profile and their Twitter handle. With WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, 3G and 4G now common connectivity features within smartphones, it makes no wonder given their portable size that in December of 2012 Business Wire reported that Social Media usage on smartphones takes up one-third of total online time spent.
As smartphones become a more pleasant experience and their features and apps continue to advance, so will the amount of time that consumers spend on them. Whilst the success of the smartphone is rather obvious, though, the humble PC has seen a decline in global sales and just today the IDC released a report which led to Microsoft‘s stock status being downgraded to sell, with the major reason being that Windows 8 which was designed to turn the tide and give laptops a fighting chance against mobile operating systems had failed to captivate the market.
With such bleak news for PC sales, and such good news for smartphones all round, it is easy to write-off the PC and continue to use your smartphone most of the time around the house. But is it actually better for the one thing that one-third of time spent on a smartphone consists of, social media? Let’s take a look.
Smartphones have had the upper hand in access to apps, but Windows 8 offers this too
No matter what smartphone you buy it will have access to an app ecosystem. Android has Google Play, iOS has the App Store, BlackBerry has BlackBerry World and Windows Phone has their App Marketplace. All of these stores play host to hundreds of thousands of high quality apps which allows consumers to access almost every single social media platform. Thanks to the nature of the touch screen display, apps are wonderfully interactive and offer a form of interaction that a PC can simply never match, or at least up until now. Last year Microsoft released Windows 8 and PC vendors have since released hybrid laptops and touch screen desktops. Together with the Windows 8 App Store, users of PC’s can now merge the best parts of a working desktop environment with the playful nature of an app filled one.
Even with the largest smartphone displays, a laptops display is much bigger
Smartphones may have the advantage in direct access to social media, but laptops and PC monitors are much bigger, and give users a better social media viewing experience. Even a small 11.6-inch Macbook Air offers a better social media experience than a 5.5-inch smartphone, so long as the end user finds the form factor of the laptop convenient at the time. In the same way that a larger display can work for the laptop, it can work against it too though. Laptops are not convenient devices to carry around and require a separate bag or to be physically held whereas smartphones can simply be slipped in to a pocket. Perhaps that’s why increasingly PC vendors are seeking to create hybrid devices such as the HP Envy x2 which doubles as both a tablet and laptop.
Overall it is incredibly hard to argue the case for the laptop when it comes to competing against the smartphone. For sure, smartphones and even tablet computers are not yet at the stage where they can be used for real-world work, however they are far more convenient to use when it comes to social media and even the most innovative laptops will never offer the level of interactivity that smartphones do. Even as Microsoft promotes Windows 8 and Intel pushes the Ultrabook, research shows that consumers are simply not interested in the latest folding box versus the latest sleek glass and aluminium smartphone.