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It's Official: The PC And E-Mail Are Dying

They are SO 2003.
They are SO 2003.
At the end of 2009, according to a Morgan Stanley report, the world was just starting "the mobile Internet cycle." That followed mainframe computing in the 1960s, mini-computing in the 1970s, personal computing in the 1980s, and desktop Internet computing of the 1990s.

A later 2010 report predicted that by 2012 the amount of smartphones would exceed PCs. Well, it's happened sooner. This from Fortune Tech:

Smartphones have passed PCs in global numbers. Today's IDC numbers have Smartphones climbing to over 100 million units for the quarter with Nokia (NOK), RIM (RIMM) and Apple(AAPL) bringing in the majority of those unit shipments.

That's 100 million smartphones compared with 92 million PCs. As the "Fortune" piece points out, the big gainers are not Apple, Nokia, and RIM (Blackberry), but companies at the cheaper end of the market, HTC and Samsung -- mostly running Google's Android operating system.

In more the-thing-we-know-and-love-is-dead tech news, if you look at the user demographics, it seems e-mail could be well into its golden years. Alexia Tsotsis, writing in TechCrunch, breaks down a new comScore report on 2010 digital trends:

Innovative social messaging platforms like Facebook and Twitter as well mobile communications continue to dominate our online time, and web email begins its steady decline. Total web email usage was down 8% in the past year (YOY), with a whopping 59% decline in use among people between the ages of 12-17. Cue Matt Drudge -style alarm.

Usage was also down 1% among 18-24 year olds, 18% among 25-35 year olds, 8% among 35-44 year olds and 12% among the 45-54 demographic. Because oldsters are continuing to migrate online in droves, web email use actually saw an uptick in the AARP-eligible sector, with 22% gains among 55-64 year olds and 28% among those 65 and older. Obviously this was not enough to offset the decline in youth usage.

So perhaps e-mail will be taken to a baby-boomer grave, or will limp along for a while longer: in a few years, to receive an e-mail on your birthday (instead of someone writing on your whatever-replaces-Facebook Wall) will be as old-school and incongruous as receiving a birthday card these days.

The one thing that might keep it alive for a while longer is corporate e-mail, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon. Although from looking around our office, all the Millennials are communicating with each other through Gchat and Facebook Messages (discussing story ideas no doubt).