The Death Of “The Death Of The PC Era”

The Death of “The Death Of the PC Era”

For months, we have seen news reporting the impending doom of the personal computer. This prediction is somewhat unnerving for those who grew up in the era when we bought our first pickup trucks for less than the cost of a popular pair of “athletic shoes”.

Market forces are accelerating the supposed end of the full sized pickup as well. It should be pointed out that the days of the pickup truck being Detroit’s biggest revenue source seem to be coming to an end. Modern pickups are more plasticized and computerized than the tough and simple trucks of old, but they remain an irreplaceable tool for countless applications. The pickup will become less popular for day to day personal transport, a job for which they are suited but not the best choice.

The so-called “death of the PC” is based on the increasing popularity and usefulness of mobile devices and cloud computing. It is sexy and fun to have all of your data at your fingertips, and an amazing amount of work can be done with a smart phone and a WiFi hub or any other link to the Internet. If this is truly is the Information Age, then communicating data is the highest of arts, and that is what mobile devices do so well.

As tablets and smartphones become more universal, it would seem as though laptops and desktop computers will be considered clunky dinosaurs. Remember that before the desktop personal computer became a necessary tool for high school kids to update their social media, even before they allowed a generation to complete their Beanie Baby collections on auction sites, personal computers were a tool for business, for work.

As the ‘net becomes ever more pervasive (there are applications that help you control your home lighting from a smartphone- lightbulbs with their own IP address) we will see an increase in the number of devices we interface with on a daily basis. As more tools become available, we will learn to select the best tool for the job at hand. A smartphone or tablet may be an ideal device to read a blog or business report, but actually typing the blog or generating the report (to say nothing of creating the software) is better accomplished on a full sized computer.

The growth of cloud computing is making the mobile revolution possible, but it is far from killing off the personal computer. The cloud actually makes desktop machines better computers. Workers who use mobile demand the best devices for work, and rarely is that device one that tries to be a universal machine.

By Pete Knight

2 Responses to The Death Of “The Death Of The PC Era”

  1. I have migrated a significant amount of my general day to day management tasks to my tablet.  In meetings, in a pinch, I can pull out my smart phone.  As an MSP, the idea that I could deliver my services with the quality and speed that I get from a PC / Server environment is laughable.  For purely business administration tasks, email, documents, even webinars, I am more than happy to use my tablet.
    For intensive use, there isn’t a tablet or phone on the market that can equal even the most basic PC.
    Don’t believe me?  Go find yourself an architect or geologist and try to get them to switch from gaming platform equivalent systems that they use to a little itty bitty screen and ditch the 2 – 4 screens, or the 50′ Plasma screens (no joke) that they have become accustomed to using.

  2. Good points, Pete, about the shift from PCs to handheld computing devices (mobile phones and tablets).  Further, academic (higher ed) friends have bemoaned the same point you are making–tablets are for ideal consuming media, not creating or  complex “content.” They’re fast (and fun)– I have an after-market keyboard for my Galaxy Tab, but tablets are not suitable for writing long reports. (Ambient Insight’s reports clock in somewhere between 20-170 pages–no way I’m doing that on my tablet.)
    What’s interesting, however, is how smartphones are leapfrogging PCs in developing economies. Look at the Asia region for example: Laos, Cambodia, and Mongolia have more than 100% mobile penetration; Singapore has 152%; and Vietnam has 155%. Further 93% of Internet users in Nepal access the web ONLY via their mobile devices. Mobile Learning is canabalizing eLearning across the planet.

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