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Micheal Hirasuna

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Will any of these new computer save the PC as a relevant consumer platform?

While the PC will remain the dominant platform in the workplace, there has been a shift away from the PC in the consumer market. Portable tablets and smart phones are expected to pass PCs this year. Wearable devices, like Google Glass, will continue the trend away from PCs. Will any of the new cool human interfaces save the PC in the consumer market?

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  • Jul 14 2013: We have to define what is exactly a personal computer. If you define PC as a desktop computing device, then apparently many usage such as gaming, telephoning and shopping would be mostly shifting to hand-held devices. However, mant larger devices such as the cash registers or graphic designer or large data analysis and many control devices in cars and airplanes would not be replaced by hand-held gadgets anyway. Actually they would be expanded further into robots-like machines to be used for human services.
    Now the PC for individual s as an multiple use all-in-one probable will last quite a while yet. Personally I am just unaccustomed to input some text like this post on TED by these no keyboard devices, because they would increase my input time by at least 50% or more. Also, I am using a 20" monitor on the PC so as to see clearly the input text on it. So that's my personal problem. One PC can do all these things and more, and it costs less than some of these gadgets.
    In summary I am reasonably certain that most of the cashiers, data handlers, and secretaries would prefer to keep their PC like devices, except in some slightly modified versions, with no need for portables..
    • Jul 14 2013: I was referring to consumer PCs, where the primary use is web browsing, email and light use of office applications. The portable devices do all these well, plus photography and navigation which are not done with the PC. Keyboards are optional on portable devices, so touch typing is not an issue. Also voice input is getting pretty good on the portables. Cost may actually favor the portables as the tablets are becoming a commodity item. I just got a Sero7 Pro from Walmart for $150 and it has more features than an iPad mini.
  • Jul 9 2013: I still use a PC to create content, but that is mostly by habit. I recently got a Chromebook, which like a tablet with a keyboard. All production tools are in the cloud and eventually it could replace the PC.
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    Jul 7 2013: Pradyumna's waste argument is valid. It however doesn't address Michael's original question and no, these new slew of non-PC devices won't solve that problem -they may actually make it worse - for one thing the replacement cycle for non-PC devices is shorter than for PCs.

    As to Michael's original question - will these save PCs? I do agree with Pradyumna - The PC doesn't need to be saved. Human's will just use the best device for the job and that is OK

    a) Google glass for ubiquitous, unobtrusive things like look up manuals while doing repairs, navigating etc
    b) Smartphones and tables consuming content on a couch
    c) PCs for the hard core things like content creation. I'm willing to bet that there isn't a serious content creator that depends exclusively on non-PC devices in the digital age.
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    Jul 5 2013: Although right now we cannot imagine a world without PC, we need to ask ourselves the question - " does PC needs to be saved ?". Just as spent nuclear fuel cannot be degraded to bio-compatible products, the materials which make up a PC are also equally non-biodegradable. In a world where PC sales are touching millions per day, we have to ask ourselves what we will do with all the junk the same PCs become, just 3-4 years away, created in the name of technology upgradation/improvement. In-built obsolescence in PCs is shrinking by the day and users are forced to upgrade for a newer technology leading to colossal amount of waste generated from outdated PCs. What domestic plastic products such as water bottles/covers did to environmental damage, PCs have worsened the situation, with a speed which is scary to imagine. Developing countries are the worst hit as they neither have the technology nor the resources to tackle PC waste. If portable tablets and smart phones lead to a reduction in PC waste, it will be a boon to the environment. However, the flip side is that in a house having one PC, there will be at least 5 cell phones, on an average. Are we moving from the frying pan to the fire ?
    • Jul 6 2013: Five smart phones are still smaller than a single PC. Smart phones are also easier to resell. But you have an interesting point, I had not considered the waste aspect before.