Thursday, April 11, 2013

Whither computers?

In an interesting juxtaposition with the previous article about hackers taking control of an aircraft (using an Android app), we learn that 'traditional' computers' market share is falling fast.  The Associated Press reports that "The ailing personal computer market is getting weaker, and it's starting to look as if it will never fully recover as a new generation of mobile devices reshapes the way people use technology".

I found this interesting in the light of Dell's views on the future of the personal computer market.  Forbes reports:

The era where the PC is dominant in IT is rapidly coming to a close as we move towards a future dominated by post-PC devices such as smartphones and tablets, and if your business is reliant on the PC to keep the dollars flowing in then you’d better start working on “Plan B.”

. . .

In a proxy statement submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to the company’s plans to go private, [Dell] outlines, in very clear language, that the PC train has hit the buffers.

Outlines are the “various risks and uncertainties related to continued ownership of Common Stock,” and it makes scary reading for anyone operating within the industry, or who holds stock in the company. These are listed as:

  • “… decreasing revenues in the market for desktop and notebook PCs and the significant uncertainties as to whether, or when, this decrease will end…”
  • “…the overall difficulty of predicting the market for PCs, as evidenced by the significant revisions in industry forecasts among industry experts and analysts over the past year…”
  • “…the ongoing downward pricing pressure and trend towards commoditization in the desktop and notebook personal computer market…”
  • “…a shift in demand from higher-margin premium PC products…”
  • “…the increasing usage of alternative PC operating systems to Microsoft Windows…”
  • “…the increasing adoption of ‘bring your own device’ policies by businesses…”

What is clear from these statements is that while Dell is a PC business today, it is unlikely to survive if is remains a PC business. And if Dell is predicting a rough road ahead, then other companies need to do the same.

There's more at the link.  It's interesting reading, particularly when it discusses specific computing companies and how they're struggling to find a way forward.

I have an interesting datum point to add to this - my acquisition last week of a Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphone (referred to, curiously, as a 'phablet').  It's got a very fast processor and a lot of internal memory.  I need a keyboard and a large screen due to the amount of writing I do, both for forthcoming books and for Internet publication;  but there's no reason in theory why a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and an external monitor, couldn't be attached to the smartphone.  Given that additional hardware, plus LibreOffice (a full-featured office productivity software suite) ported to Android, plus cloud computing and storage facilities, my smartphone could certainly take the place of my notebook computer for most, if not all, of my computing needs.

Welcome to the future.  We'll be doing things differently here . . .


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sadly my company is the maker of those laptop/desktop cpu. My group just recently was transitioned from designing laptop/desktop cpu to something akin to phone/tapble microprocessors. If we're switching over our focus it means the change is already here.