Devices that we traditionally think of as PCs – towers, all-in-ones, and clamshell-style laptops with a keyboard and pointing device – are still selling by the hundreds of millions every year. After decades of steady growth, however, those numbers are now declining year over year, as consumers (and to a lesser extent businesses) choose tablets and smartphones as secondary devices instead of buying an additional PC.
The net effect? The overall population of computing devices is expanding tremendously, with the mix shifting toward devices that are more mobile and require less management.
That’s the environment into which Microsoft released Windows 8 last fall. In a world where mobility is king, the single most important feature is the ability to work well as a tablet, when a touchscreen is the only input device. But Microsoft and its partners are betting you want that same device to work as a PC when conventional input devices (and maybe a large monitor) are available.