PCs still more prevalent than tablets on college campuses

The price of tablets could be a barrier in higher education adoption.

The future in which every college student is armed with a state-of-the-art tablet computer is seemingly still a long way out.

Eight in 10 students, in a survey conducted by professional services firm Deloitte, said they owned a laptop or desktop computer, while just 18 percent owned a tablet.

The overwhelming preference for what has become traditional campus technology shouldn’t come as a shock to educational technologists, said Brent Schoenbaum, a partner in the retail practice at Deloitte.

“The combination of smartphones and laptops makes the tablet redundant for students,” he said.

A central reason for students’ preference for PCs could have to do with a tablet’s purpose: to access apps, play games, and watch movies – not write lengthy research papers.

“Unless you’re shooting for a degree in Angry Birds, tablets are a horrible back-to-school purchase,” said Louis Ramirez, senior features writer on DealNews.com.

Price could also be a barrier in widespread tablet use on college campuses, according to Deloitte. An iPad Mini sells for $329, while a desktop PC can be had for $200.

Most tablet owners earn $75,000 annually, according to a report published in July by the Pew Internet Research.