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Will the Desktop PC Live Forever? 625

Posted by Soulskill
from the there-can-be-only-one dept.
concealment points out a rebuttal from PCWorld of the increasingly common claims that we live in a post-PC world. "It's an intriguing proposition, but don't count on mobile devices killing off your desktop PC any time soon. While mobile gear is certainly convenient when you're trying to conduct business on the go, it's nowhere near as convenient as a desktop when you're trying to complete serious work in an office environment. Sure, your phone, tablet or even laptop might conveniently fit in your pocket or backpack, but all these devices are fraught with compromises, whether it's computing power, screen size, or, well, a really expensive price tag."
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Will the Desktop PC Live Forever?

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  • Yes (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @03:57PM (#41600093)
    That is all.
    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gman003 (1693318) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:07PM (#41600235)

      Indeed, this is a rare counter-example to Betteridge's Law of Headlines [wikipedia.org].

      • Will This Counterexample Mean The End of Betteridge's Law of Headlines???

        Read on for our exclusive take on this issue!

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jxander (2605655) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:10PM (#41600281)

      Basically this, with a few reasons

      As long as desktop hardware is cheaper than comparable laptop/portable hardware, it will have a niche. You can hook up all the docking stations and external monitors in the world to your tablet, but a desktop rig will have more storage, more memory, more GHz and better longevity (if only due to superior air flow) at a lower cost.

      That's not even getting into the ability to customize and replace hardware without a dozen proprietary bits.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770)

        As long as desktop hardware is cheaper than comparable laptop/portable hardware, it will have a niche. You can hook up all the docking stations and external monitors in the world to your tablet, but a desktop rig will have more storage, more memory, more GHz and better longevity (if only due to superior air flow) at a lower cost.

        Ah, but desktops don't have the advantage of shipping volume, laptops do by about a 2:1 advantage. What does that mean? That Intel sets their development goals to make Haswell a better mobile CPU, not particularly a desktop GPU. Since you mention RAM as an example, I find 2x8GB desktop memory for 734 NOK (includes VAT, so please don't compare to US prices) and 2x8GB laptop memory (SO-DIMMs) for 749 NOK. What's the price advantage? Zero. Sure you can get 32/64GB RAM in a desktop that you can't in a laptop bu

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:11PM (#41600303)

      These claims of a post-PC world seem based on the fact that the vast majority of the population is fine with the kind of walled-garden content consumption found on nearly all phones and tablets and has no need for the sort of content creation you have to sit down at a workstation for. OK, I'll stipulate to that premise.
      But if the shift of that group of people away from the desktop PC means we live in a post-PC world, then what did we have before that group of people started using PCs?
      They pretty much didn't come along until we had mainstream GUIs, the World Wide Web, and ubiquitous digital media--all of which came considerably after "the desktop PC".
      Their departure won't kill the PC any more than their arrival created it.

      • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:25PM (#41600465) Journal

        Kill, no. Mortally wound, perhaps. Think about it this way: right now, you can get cheap PCs for a few hundred bucks. Adjusted for inflation, computers in the mid-1980s ranged from about $3000-$6000 in today's dollars. Now think back to high school economics class and remember the discussion of economies of scale, then think about how few parts from modern tablets are actually used in a typical desktop computer.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by jedidiah (1196)

          When I was in high school you could buy a non-PC home computer for $300 and it ran circles around a kludge clone. The idea that you need a Lemming driven PC mentality in order to have sufficient economy of scale for home computing is just a Lemming fantasy.

          • In a post-Lemming, post-Apple v. Samsung world, what platform allows people to run both major-label applications and homemade applications that haven't been approved by the operating system publisher?
            • The same one that suffers from lots of malware.
              People who care about creating their own programs: 0.01%. (and that's being generous.)
              People who care about not getting malware: 99.99%.

              • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @05:38PM (#41601347) Homepage Journal

                People who care about creating their own programs: 0.01%. (and that's being generous.)

                In 2004, the U.S. population was 293 million (source [google.com]). By your estimate of 100 programmers per million, you'd expect there to be 29,000 programmers. But in that year, there were 760,840 people employed as software engineers in the United States, who made up about one out of every three engineers in the nation (source [wikipedia.org]). That's not even counting people who aren't programmers per se but whose job includes some programming, computer science and software engineering students, and hobbyist programmers. So I'd guess your estimate is off by two orders of magnitude.

                People who care about not getting malware: 99.99%.

                There are ways to limit the damage that malware can cause without forcing everybody who buys a computer to rely exclusively on a single application repository curated by the operating system publisher and subject to said publisher's ulterior motives. For example, a platform could use the Ubuntu/Android model of having multiple competing repositories. Or it could use the OLPC/Android model of limiting the capabilities [wikipedia.org] given to an application while still allowing self-signed software to run.

          • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

            by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @05:36PM (#41601311) Journal

            Even those $300 non-PC computers would be about $639 in today's dollars, which is still more than six times what the cheapest non-Windows netbooks cost today. And they weren't nearly as capable as PCs. Most of the cost savings (except for the CPU) came from ingenious hacks that reduced the cost of the hardware at the expense of maintainability and the ability to upgrade the design later. For example:

            • Commodore used software emulation instead of a real UART, which limited them to about 2400 baud and made them particularly challenging if the baud rate on the remote device was off just a bit.
            • The Apple II's NTSC output wasn't actually NTSC compliant (read "can't be safely recorded or broadcast") and remained so through at least the IIe. When they added PAL support, it required different graphics hardware.

            Now you can certainly argue that those things didn't matter, and for most people, you'd be right, but the same argument that says that the $300 computer was equal to the $2,000 computer in the 1980s applies to touchscreen tablets versus desktop computers today.

            Also, the only reason prices aren't $100k per CPU today is because of economies of scale. Today, one person could design a basic Verilog model of a 6502-compatible chip in a matter of days or single-digit weeks, and even at the time, it probably took double-digit engineer years. Today, an Intel chip takes engineer-millennia. The R&D involved is orders of magnitude greater, and therefore, the number of chips they have to sell just to break even is also much, much greater.

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:37PM (#41600615)

      At some point maybe. But I see the PC (including Laptops) to migrate dominance positions to follow the same patterns at the Mainframe (which are still not dead yet)

      1970's Mainframe was absolute King No PC to speak of.
      1980's Mainframe is king PC was a toy with a few Business applications
      1990's Mainframe is considered dieing PC's began to dominate small and midsize companies reducing the needs to big expensive mainframes. Used for Big companies.
      2000's Mainframes are still there, PC's are now indespensable and used by most businesses (the PC based servers has taken over the mainframe for most new task) Ultra Mobile Devices are appearing but mostly a toy with a few Business applications.
      2010's Mainframes are limited to a few Old Legacy Stuff (too expensive to move off) or some very detailed performance related stuff (Modern Mainframes) Mobile devices get more ingrained into the business and every day use....

      Now I see the PC moving away from the personal computer and to more of a high performance workstation usage. This will used mainly by software developers, and engineers for CAD and other high performance work. while the Mobile stuff will dominate every man Computing. As for the mainframe more old legacy systems will go away but still have a market for the really high performance needs.

      • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:48PM (#41600783) Journal

        No part of mainframes has *anything* to do with desktops. It does not correlate in any fashion.

        Desktops will always be in use in some fashion - miniaturizing technology only goes so far - so it's not a question of expense alone but also thermals and physical space. Since people tend to have to work on hardware you can't have it all be the size of a mobile SOC to do so or it becomes prohibitive. That's not just a "workstation" situation, but an "All PC's" situation.

        • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @05:33PM (#41601283) Homepage Journal

          No part of mainframes has *anything* to do with desktops. It does not correlate in any fashion.

          Desktops will always be in use in some fashion - miniaturizing technology only goes so far - so it's not a question of expense alone but also thermals and physical space. Since people tend to have to work on hardware you can't have it all be the size of a mobile SOC to do so or it becomes prohibitive. That's not just a "workstation" situation, but an "All PC's" situation.

          Right; some tasks are better done with a full keyboard and a screen bigger than the palm of your hand.

          Even if it's solely in a "docking station"* type capacity, desktop workstations will be around for as long as computers are.


          * Speculative Future Vision (patent pending) engaged: Come home from work, the computer in your pocket communicates wirelessly with the display/peripherals in the room you're currently occupying, and activates them accordingly. Kind of like Synergy, but with a full suite of features and, of course, fine location awareness.

      • by Kittenman (971447)

        ... 2010's Mainframes are limited to a few Old Legacy Stuff (too expensive to move off) or some very detailed performance related stuff (Modern Mainframes) Mobile devices get more ingrained into the business and every day use....

        Now I see the PC moving away from the personal computer and to more of a high performance workstation usage. This will used mainly by software developers, and engineers for CAD and other high performance work. while the Mobile stuff will dominate every man Computing. As for the mainframe more old legacy systems will go away but still have a market for the really high performance needs.

        I make my living off Mainframes, you insensitive clod!

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          I make my living off Mainframes, you insensitive clod!

          And some people make their living on restoring Model T Fords. Doesn't mean many people want to buy one at the showroom today or that it's a field ripe for growth.

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @05:01PM (#41600943) Journal

      That is pretty much the end of the thread right there, congrats AC.

      The only thing I would add is all the morons that are hyping "post PC" simply don't understand the consumer or the market. As someone who has been building units since the 386 and still has no problems moving systems i think I can shed some light on their misconception.

      You see people aren't "replacing" anything, they are ADDING to what they already have. What happened was the OEMs and MSFT got spoiled by a little blip in computing history called "the MHz war" where everyone pretty much had no choice but to replace all their systems every 3 years because the hardware was jumping in MHz so often and software following the hardware that a 2 year old desktop would be struggling to run the latest software. in one 4 year period I went from 600Mhz-900MHz-1.4Ghz-2.3Ghz, that's a pretty damned big leap in such a short period of time.

      But when Intel and AMD hit the thermal wall they decided to switch to cores, and that was a game changer. You see building software to take advantage of a faster single thread? not that hard, trying to build software to take advantage of multiple threads? VERY hard and there are many tasks that simply can't be broken into multiple threads. Now lets look at what I was selling on the low end FIVE years ago...Phenom I X3 or X4 with 4Gb of DDR 2 RAM and a 300-500Gb HDD. Now is they ANY task your average user does that won't run well on those specs? heck i have a customer running the latest Solidworks on Phenom I X3s and is quite happy with the performance. Even the gamers don't need to upgrade near as often, my boys and I are doing great on a couple of Phenom II X6s and a quad and with HD4850s we blow through any game we want to play and those chips are...what? 4 years old now?

      The PC isn't going anywhere, in fact I have yet to meet anyone that doesn't have at least 2 if not more. Hell my LOL customer Ms Pipkin has an Athlon triple for the kids, a Phenom II quad for her main system and a little AMD netbook for when all her family is over or she just wants to sit on her couch and chat. The problem is the OEMs got spoiled on the MHz war and didn't see that these insanely cheap triples and quads were just crazy overpowered compared to the kind of work average users like Ms Pipkin do, that's all. Hell I used to replace my system every year and a half like clockwork but now I have an X6 with 8Gb of RAM, the above HD4850, and 3Tb of hard drive space...what more could I possibly need? So X86 isn't going anywhere, my iPad and iPhone customers still have desktops and laptops, they simply use their iDevices on the couch or bed. All that is happening is that PCs won't be replaced until they die, even the gamers will be looking at only swapping every 6 or 7 years, simply because we have got insane amounts of power. this is why I supplement my business with HTPCs and home theater setups, still plenty of uses for an X86 system people haven't considered yet, you just have to show them the advantages.

      • Anyone that had a 386 desktop then is likely to have a desktop now. Desktops aren't going away for power users and businesses in any time frame that needs worrying about either.

        That said there are a lot of casual users that don't need the power of a desktop and are served well enough by a tablet. I have had a lot of customers replace (by attrition) their desktop machines with 17" laptops and a smaller amount get rid of an old desktop and go with an iPad. What we are starting to see in the market now is a sh

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @03:58PM (#41600121) Homepage Journal

    Nothing lives forever. The PC will die eventually... but not any time soon. I can see fewer and fewer desktops in the home, by notebooks and tablets, but there's little you can do in an office that doesn't demand a PC.

    • by ericloewe (2129490) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:03PM (#41600179)

      Workstations (i.e. where anything important or revenue-generating happens) will always be desktops in one way or another.

      What will probably happen is that your average office desktop will get smaller. We're already seeing this, with some desktops using laptop parts, some going as far as using the same power brick as the company's laptop's (HP does this, others too, I suppose).

      • I think, currently at least, what you're describing is more of a 'desktop' machine, not a workstation. Then the question is what did Soulskill mean when he said "desktop", did he mean "cheap commodity non-portable machines" or did he mean "ALL single-user machines with a console that aren't portable"? If the former, then I agree, they'll slowly be relegated to being no more than docking stations ultimately.
        OTOH if people are talking about actual WORKSTATIONS? Yeah, those aren't really using laptop parts. I

    • by xtal (49134)

      Talk to someone that works in a technical capacity. You'll take my 3 30" monitors from me over my dead body..

      Now, will they go back to the minicomputer era pricing? Probably.

      • by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:27PM (#41600479)
        I work in a technical capacity, have 2 big nerdy flatscreens, and my favorite keyboard and mouse. But it's not a desktop PC. It's a laptop in a docking station. That's how it's done in every gig I've had in recent years. I have identical setups in cubicles in two different cities and my home and only the laptop and I have to move between them.

        The #1 problem with the arrangement is the requirement for whole disk encryption on the company laptop. It really slows it down. Performance is always worse on a laptop but it's dismal with disk encryption.
    • Nothing lives forever.

      Yes, now. At first we were kept in balance by birth rate. Few of us were ever born, less than a handful each year. Then, I think, the Universe decided that to appreciate life, for there to be change and growth, life had to be short. So the generations that followed us grew old and infirm, and died. But those of us who were first went on. We discovered the Vorlons and the Shadows when they were infant races and nourished them, helped them and all the other races you call the First Ones. In time most o

    • by Hatta (162192)

      there's little you can do in an office that doesn't demand a PC.

      Anything you can do in an office with a PC, you can do with a VM with a thin client.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > Anything you can do in an office with a PC, you can do with a VM with a thin client.

        At which point you've got sufficient computing to just compute locally. Chances are your "terminal" isn't going to be any cheaper either. This stuff has been done and tried and abandoned once or twice already by now.

        It's like 3D movies...

    • "...but there's little you can do in an office that doesn't demand a PC."

      Today. I wrote about this not too long ago, and think people miss the point regarding the "post-PC" world. It's not, you see, that tablets are going to replace existing methods of doing existing work on existing computers.

      It's that more and more existing methods and jobs and tools are going to be restructured and modified and rethought so they can be done on tablets and pads and other mobile devices. Instead of sitting at a desk pluggi

  • Hybrid (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    We're going to see tablets that connect to monitors and keyboards. You work on them at your desk, then move around with them like a laptop. Or at least that's what I dream of. The iPad is close but not quite what I'm looking for. I think the MS's surface might fit the bill.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by grenadeh (2734161)
      That's completely retarded. So what you're saying is we're going to replace laptops, the superior device, with a crappy device, used to to do the EXACT same things the EXACT same way using slightly different connectors? Oh wait nevermind, tablets can't do the same things. Desktops will never be replaced. Laptops are simply not reliable and not repairable or modifiable by most people, even computer technicians who know how to replace laptop components would not willingly do so on their own.
      • by dgatwood (11270)

        Laptops are simply not reliable and not repairable or modifiable by most people....

        Maybe you should try spending more than $300 on a laptop next time. I just replaced my previous laptop after more than five years of reliable service, except for one dead hard drive, which was trivial to replace. And the only reason I replaced the machine at all is that it is an anachronism that won't run some modern software....

    • Re:Hybrid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:40PM (#41600677) Homepage Journal

      We're going to see tablets that connect to monitors and keyboards.

      At which point it's no longer a tablet, it's a PC.

    • When I compare what used to sit on my desktop in the '80s, to a smartphone today, it's really not too much of a leap to imagine a final form factor that will be very much like a credit card. Eventually, this 'CCPC' may have an integrated screen, but interim editions may drive a separate screen you keep in your wallet along with your extra battery capacity.

      These screens will only be used to lookup a phone number or to perform other 'console-type' functions. Screens of varying sizes will be everywhere. In

  • by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:01PM (#41600167) Homepage Journal

    I don't see how. Typically, a fan or the PSU goes out first, and given enough time the HDD begins to fail.

  • Historical anaolgy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mccrew (62494) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:03PM (#41600177)
    I am reminded of Stewart Alsop's [wikipedia.org] famous quote about mainframes: "I predict that the last mainframe will be unplugged on March 15, 1996." Mainframes are going stronger than ever.

    Discuss.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Mainframes did not die because they were good for the market they served -- profitable for the vendor, utilized productively by the customer. PCs are different -- utilized poorly by most customers, and not as profitable for the vendor as they could be (oh, if we could just find a way to not allow people to run their own software...). That is why PCs are in greater peril now than mainframes ever were.

      You'll still have a computer on your desk, with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse hooked up to it in 20 yea
      • by Lodragandraoidh (639696) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @05:00PM (#41600917) Journal

        Pretty dystopian view of things. Even if what you said comes to pass, I have faith that someone somewhere would find a way around the problem.

        I don't really see that outcome, as history teaches us that while there may be perturbations in the flow of progress, it still continues to move forward. Businesses are seeing the value of open systems - deploying more and more Linux into their network, and chaffing from the limitations imposed by 'black box' vendors - are seeing the business value of having options by casting off their vendor chains. In cloud computing - the freedom of general purpose computing is clearly a positive, as it now separates the management of hardware, from the operating system and applications - providing even more flexibility.

        While most consumers will be perfectly happy with the functionality of the tablet computer - there is still a very large minority of people who will pay for the flexibility of a general purpose desktop computer:

        1. Hardcore Gamers -- for gamers that play insanely complex simulations (FPS/Flight and combined arms combat simulations), there is no substitute for being able to build and tweak out their own game machine. Console game systems come nowhere near the capabilities of a tricked out game system; and for those who are highly competitive, having the technological edge is worth paying for.

        2. Technologists and Scientists - a number of people who program or otherwise work in depth with computers will want to have access to computer resources in real-time for their own personal projects at home. In the old days this was known as 'console access'. It better be able to run all sorts of complex simulations, crunch large amounts of numbers, and compile their latest monster program in nothing flat.

        3. Independent Developers - hobbyists and other small scale/independent developers currently can't afford the cost of server grade computers to do their development on. Given the need to provide professional grade systems, at consumer grade prices - this group desires a desktop PC that can provide the best bang for the buck. These are also the same people driving innovation in the marketplace.

        Even as small as this group is - they are worth multiple billions of dollars in revenue. If no one caters to their needs, all that revenue would be left on the table. I'm banking that doesn't happen. Given the drive that these people provide - particularly the small developers - for the economy, I don't see it being ignored for very long without serious impacts to the bottom lines of the larger companies who make their living off skimming the proceeds of that work.

        Maybe the discussion is all wrong anyway - maybe the form factor will change; maybe it won't be called a desktop (microserver maybe?) - but the functionality of a high performance workstation will exist one way or the other - and I would argue it will be an open system for practical as well as price reasons.

  • by Keruo (771880) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:03PM (#41600183)
    I'd like my cell phone to act like a thin client.
    Just pop it into charging dock and it gives you browser and email on big screen(s) and rdp client to access applications on server for those things your phone isn't powerful enough itself.
    The dock could even have external GPU for extra power.
    • by Extremus (1043274)

      Or having a tablet you could use with a proper video screen, keyboard and mouse. Actually, I believe that is the whole point of Windows 8: two different GUI environments intended for two working environments.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      I think we're going there eventually... I mean the CPU, GPU, RAM etc. keeps getting better - even smart phones have a gigabyte of RAM these days. They won't be doing anything heavy but for light workloads, the hardest is probably watching movies on YouTube but the latest generation of phones can already decode and stream 1080p to a TV like for example here [youtube.com]. How much more power would the average non-gamer really need? I've been thinking about replacing one of my parents' boxes with a zbox nano [zotacusa.com] which is prett

    • you can already do this, they tried to sell my wife this kind of setup when she bought her Motorola
  • by badford (874035) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:03PM (#41600193)

    Having 3 big arse monitors connected to a giant, lint-filled box humming noisily under my desk will always be a part of my life.

    I have ipads, androids, smartphones, netbooks and ultrabook and a bunch of game systems. don't matter.

    • by pla (258480)
      Having 3 big arse monitors connected to a giant, lint-filled box humming noisily under my desk will always be a part of my life.

      Kudos, you've won the thread. No, really, you made the single most important point so far...

      Screen real-estate.

      The "computer" itself may (and realistically, will) get smaller and smaller and smaller, until we wear them like cheap costume jewelry. The display device will become something like Google Glasses, or a spiffy holographic projector, or perhaps even a direct neural
  • by tpstigers (1075021) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:05PM (#41600203)
    And they will all be using Internet Explorer 6.
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:05PM (#41600205)
    The form factor is not going away any time soon. Eventually it will be replaced, I do not know with what, but it is likely that such a thing will not happen for a long time -- maybe not even within our lifetimes.

    The concept is already dying. The idea that you can own the means of your own computing, and not have it be controlled or dictated to you by someone else, is on its last legs. We have been watching it die a painful deal for the past few years, and by 2020 personal computing as a concept will be forgotten by most of society.
  • Gaming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alphax45 (675119) <kyle.alfred@NoSpam.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:05PM (#41600211)
    For now nothing beats a desktop for a gaming PC. I just built a new one and got Steam. Nothing else like it right now.
    • Unless you have a PS3 or Xbox 360 and buy games from PSN or Xbox Live. Same thing.

      • Re:Gaming (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmailCURIE.com minus physicist> on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:37PM (#41600625) Homepage

        Yeah, except that developers have been fleeing consoles and coming back to the PC market for the last 3 years because it's a declining market. More so because PC's are a booming market not only in the Americas but in Asia. And it'll probably be another 2-3 years before consoles catch up. Let's not forget that as it stands, PC gaming is limited by consoles right now...6 year old hardware.
         

      • it's no-where near the same thing, i have a ps3 that i occasionally turn on for tekken but it has nothing i would turn it on every day for.
    • I am no Apple fan, but there UNIX core OS make that a much more stable base for games. I would hope a free or at least open OS would be the future.

      It still amazes me the group think that gave us the MS-PC for business. Why do people use a gaming platform for work. Any group with an IT staff, shame on them from using such a OS. I understand smaller groups have to wait for more access to support.

      Many smart corporations have left the PC all ready. the two examples I know off the top of my head are G
  • by santax (1541065) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:06PM (#41600219)
    Let's face it, the pc is very efficient in some things. Like text processing, image editing, programming, all tasks that depend heavily on user input are preferable done on a pc or laptop. A device that has decent input options. Typewriters replaced handwriting and the pc replaced those, the pc will be viable until someone comes up with a clever way to do those input tasks in a matter that is just as reliable as a keyboard/mouse but faster. That someone will become really rich btw. Till that day, I'm keeping my pc.
  • by ADRA (37398) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:10PM (#41600287)

    tape killed records (effectively), CD's killed tape, InternetAudio is killing CD's
    VHS killed BETA, DVD killed VHS, VideoDisc killed nothing, BluRay clipped but hasn't kill DVD
    HD killed SD, 3D didn't kill anyone, 4K has yet to kill anything
    PC's killed the MAC classic / UNIX workstations, Laptops clipped (desktop) PC's, Netbooks killed nothing, Tablets have yet to kill anything
    really dumb cell phones clipped POTS, dumb cell phones killed really dumb cell phones and pagers, Smart phones killed dumb cell phones
    digital video cameras killed film video camera's (effectively)
    Video killed the radio star

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Digital video cameras killed film video camera's what?

  • PC didn't kill off the mainframe, just more PC's and cheapo servers took a lot of the market as well

    just like mobile won't kill off the PC

    • by afgam28 (48611) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:17PM (#41600379)

      And no one said it would. This is a really dumb article which totally misses the point of what the term "post-PC" means. If you click the first link in the article, it says it in black and white:

      It started last year...when (Steve Jobs) said that PCs are going to be "like trucks" in that they'll still be around and useful for certain work, but only a smaller percentage of the users will need one

      Somehow the author (and submitter) have taken that to mean a world "without desktop computers".

      Sure, desktops will have their place for a long time. But we're living in a post-PC world right now.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Steve made a shitty analogy.

        Most people like trucks. They are more useful. They have even been morphed into family cars that were a Detroit cash cow for awhile.

        No. PCs aren't trucks. They're just regular cars.

        Steve was just trying to denigrate PCs to distract from the fact that he's a scooter salesman.

  • I don't see why does it matter at all. New technology always wipes out the previous one, time it takes depends on marketing and social changes of people's life. Since people started to be mobile every now and then, mobile devices are rampant now, and I would not think that smart phones that ubiquitous if Telco companies didn't offer data services. On my first desktop i was playing games and now if I want to do that I have plenty of other options to choose from. It's just that technology has entered people's
    • by epyT-R (613989)

      yeah you know what? the day I need to use biometrics or some other bullshit involuntarily used to 'authorize' me to my devices and the vendor strings that pull them, is the day I quit using tech altogether.

      It matters because the concept of empower the user is being replaced by trapping the user into a platform. It's not just about the form factor, it's about the concept that spawned the PC. This is what really separates all those other gadgets from it.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:17PM (#41600373)

    Admittedly the "Post-PC World" comments involve quite a bit of hyperbole - but this was never about what happens in businesses, at least in those cases where someone's entire day involves inputting stuff into a computer (whether that's as a programmer, a web developer, or an office jockey). The concept of the post-PC world is more about what's happening in the personal lives of everyday individuals (which doesn't include most Slashdotters).

    The majority of people that have owned a home computer don't really use it for much more than browsing the web, email, and viewing photos or videos. For those folks, a tablet or a phone works just fine - and nowadays even their TV will let them watch YouTube or Netflix videos. They don't need a PC - heck, a PC is actually more inconvenient for their purposes than these other options are. And even if they take photos... they're probably just uploading them as-is directly to Facebook or Flickr.

    So yeah, the PC won't exactly be dying anytime soon... but fewer and fewer individuals will be owning one.

    • Bullshit. Total bullshit.

      First, you offer no evidence of what the majority of people do or don't do do with their PCs, only your - somewhat sneering- opinion.

      But most importantly, your claim that "most people's" interests wrt to computers is so unchallenging and undemanding that they'll have no reason to own a PC (and there will therefore be fewer and fewer PCs) is actually an attempt to predict the unknowable future. There can and will be apps which require the significant computing resources of a "desk

  • KVM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by labnet (457441) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:21PM (#41600421)

    The cornerstone of of any creative work:-
      CAD
      Photo / Video Editing
      Document Creation / Coding (to a lesser extent)

    still require KVM:-
      Tactile Keyboard (touch typing requires the feeling of the edge of keys for long term typing)
      Mouse (because it more precise than fingers which occlude the display)
      Large Hi Res MultipleMonitors.

    + USB to interface with odd devices such as cameras, serial busses (RS232, RS485, CAN Bus, MIDI, etc etc), tablet inputs etc.

    So while it does not need to be a big black box under your desk, the 'Personal Computer' will be with us for a while yet, until the boffins can tap replace the KVM/IO configuration.

  • Portable + dock. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by metrometro (1092237) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:23PM (#41600443)

    We'll have a phone-sized computer that can dock and provide a complete desktop experience from any compatible monitor / keyboard / charging setup. The upshot is that you can port your life around from place to place without actually carrying much hardware, with enormous rewards to the hardware firm who controls the most popular standard, because it'll be in every workplace, hotel, school...

    This has been tried and sucked. Same as tablets circa 2004. This will require some tight standards and UX design to make the transitions from mobile to desktop really stable and seamless, which points to a certain control-obsessed fruit company having a decent shot.

    Given hardware trends, we're less than 5 years away from a mass-market phone-sized desktop replacement.

  • So, no, the PC will not live 'forever.'
  • by Chemisor (97276) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:26PM (#41600475)

    It seems to be a trend these days to do things "on the go". The boss likes to know that you are working all the time, even when you are not at the office. You want to pretend you are this active guy who lives outdoors and has never sat down in a chair (because that's the type of guy that women claim to want want). Eventually we'll all realize that it is much more convenient to use a desktop on a nice big desk with a comfortable chair than it is to balance a tablet, keyboard, and mouse on your wobbly knees sitting in a lawn chair. We'll also realize that most of us are not "on the go" all the time. Most of us stay in one place and only go places for recreational purposes that do not require computing devices.

  • What sometimes gets lost in the mobile furor is the fact that many (most?) people that are buying mobile devices already have a desktop and/or laptop computer. This might not be true in some of the 3rd world countries but in 1st world countries I believe that it is true. Yes, mobile will be increasingly popular but for content creators nothing yet rivals the versatility of the full sized keyboard and large (or even multiple) screens that the desktop offers. For some tasks a mobile phone or tablet is great.

  • by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:31PM (#41600529) Homepage

    My main battle station uses two 22" display, one 24" display and one 15" display giving me 6486 horizontal pixels. I use them all. When I can do that with a laptop that I can easily carry with me I'll think about it.

  • ...is for my mobile device to have the entirety of my 'computing life' contained in it - even all the stuff like CAD applications and drawings, microcontroller development environment, etc, that I CAN'T normally use on a mobile device.

    Mobile devices should plug into docking stations that provide the HMI necessities currently provided by desktops - large/multiple monitors, 'real' mice and keyboards that actually support a day's serious work, USB ports, extended and backup power, wired network connections, et

  • by eyegone (644831) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:32PM (#41600545)

    Laptops seems to be moving in the "media consumption" direction, becoming less and less useful for actual work all the time.

    Try to find a laptop with a 16x10 display. I get that 16x9 panels are less expensive, but it blows my mind that no one makes a "premium" business laptop with a 16x10 display. (I specifically exclude Apple from the business category here, due to the lack of things like docking stations, dual external display support, etc.)

    It's incredibly frustrating for those of us who need to do real work while travelling.

  • I probably won't come as a surprise, but as the volume of desktop computers goes down, and the volume of mobile devices goes up, the price tags will likely converge more so that there is only a small mobile premium. The only limiting factor will be the screen size that differentiate a mobile device from a desktop device.

    If someone can solve this problem with some sort of projector or retinal imaging (not retina display, but imaging directly on the retina [wikipedia.org]) technology, that last difference will go away.

  • We'll never delegate our private voice messages to the cloud. That's why we all still have an answering machine next to our landline in the kitchen.

  • by cvtan (752695) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:36PM (#41600605)
    So I'm not going to watch TV/movies/slideshows (or do gaming) on a cell phone unless they are 27" across. Besides, Verizon is annoying.
  • by eexaa (1252378) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:40PM (#41600663) Homepage

    ...and will be for quite some time, because we don't have any more convenient platform to do actual work.

    I mean, did anyone try to do programming, system administration and/or serious graphics or writing on iPad and alikes?

    And it's not about screen size, it's basically ONLY about having input devices that don't make your wrists rot away if you use them more than 2 hours daily.

    PS. do you count traditional notebooks (15" and bigger screens) as desktop computers? (I do.)

  • I fail to see the difference in real terms between a desktop PC and a laptop with a keyboard and mouse hanging off of it. Likewise you can hook up a mouse, keyboard and external monitor to Android. You can also buy an Android tablet for a quantity of dollars down in the double digits. The high end classes of computing will always get eaten from below as the low end matures. The higher end stuff will always remain as a niche product, but for the masses it is always a race to the bottom.

    Portability is a plus,

  • by dcollins (135727) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @05:41PM (#41601377) Homepage

    - Books killed storytelling.
    - Movies killed theater.
    - Videos killed radio.
    - Arcades killed boardgames.

A rock store eventually closed down; they were taking too much for granite.

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