As Casual Users Turn Away From The PC, Can Metro in Windows 8 Help Keep The PC Relevant?

As tablets and smartphones continue to steal away users that previously would have gotten their Internet ‘fixes’ strictly from the PC, there is a bit of debate as to whether or not the PC is a dying animal.

Sure, it isn’t going anywhere for many business professionals, IT types and even just power users and gamers. What about the casual crowd? Is there any reason for them to own PCs anymore?

I believe this is a question Microsoft has probably been pondering on for a while, and likely a reason why they are taking a gamble with the Windows 8 Metro interface. I’ve given this some serious thought. Yes, many casual users are more than content with a tablet and smartphone for most of their daily tasks.

Personally, I have little use for tablets. My wife loves her tablet and barely ever gets on a PC, this works for her. I like a keyboard, I like the control that that kind of setup allows me. Of course I am both a writer, a PC gamer, and a power user so that really isn’t much of a shock I suppose.

The truth though is that as much as my wife loves her tablet, she does still get on the PC about once every other day or so. Why? When it comes to checking her bank account and other accounts that require complex passwords and the like, she still prefers a keyboard and mouse.

I have talked to several friends of mine that use tablets almost constantly and yet still feel the same way about personal finances and other such ‘important data’. They’d rather use a desktop for that, for whatever reason. Then there is families and the need to write reports, so you’d need a PC for that too.

Not to mention, there are times when a big screen for that YouTube video or game is what you are looking for, and so you’d rather use a desktop or laptop than you tiny tablet devices. Of course this point is less relevant for some, thanks to micro-HDMI.

So, are PCs really dying? I don’t think so, and least not exactly. The idea of a multi-computer house probably is, though. Back in the 90s you only had one computer in a household, for those lucky enough to afford them. By the early 2000’s it started to become more normal for there to be 2 PCs or more. Now, with tablets, I think we are going back to one family PC and multiple tablets/smartphones for individuals in a family.

This is likely a similar conclusion to what Microsoft drew, and so their solution was to try and create a universal style and appeal across all its devices so that it would make the transition between multiple tech-devices easier, and keep “Microsoft” in the consumer’s mind.

Is this a strategy that will work out in the long run? Hard to say, but I think it was a very good move. I also have to really compliment Microsoft for bringing a Metro-like experience to the Xbox, this was brilliant. Having a Metro-esque experience with the 360 before Windows 8 even comes out with soften Xbox fans to Windows 8, and could really help sell tablets, desktops, and even Windows Phone.

Apple has proven that a consistent, uniform (and largely closed) platform is actually very attractive for many users out there. If today’s consumers become accustomed to having the same experience everywhere they go, they will want the same OS (or at least UI) on everything – TVs, consoles, phones, PCs, tablets, etc – and this is what Microsoft is hoping for.

If they can keep consumers craving a unified experience not only will it make users more interested in its non-PC products, but it will continue to allow the PC to be relevant in a world where it isn’t the go-to platform for Internet access anymore.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

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