2013 was a year that resounded with harbingers postulating the demise of tech (the PC being the whipping boy) and the rise of tech (fondle’slabs with Apple iPad leading the charge predictably) as never before in a totally compromised digital ecosystem, the latter point coming as no surprise to those in the security industry and the general consensus being it was about time the message went mainstream!
The venerable PC, that stalwart desk hogging passive piece of plastic and tin that the marketer’s would have us believe received a head shot from the Tablet brigade in 2014. Woe for Microsoft being the follow-up story on the theme and predictions of a Phablet’ous Fondle’slab future for all, led by none other than the Apple fanbois and the freebie brigade Google Spyware platform ‘Android’ community.
How refreshing the turn of a New Year can be, articles heralding a bright future for PC’s when reflecting on the real world insights from 2013. ‘Why tablets aren’t replacing the PC anytime soon’ echo’s of what we have been seeing in the business space. PC’s have not disappeared, they have simply been overshadowed by the preferential spending of consumers on Tablets and Smartphones and their reverse entry by the back and side doors into Enterprise IT. As Enterprises have held onto budgets off the back of some hard economic times, the desktops have simply not enjoyed a customary refresh. OK partly stimulated by the market hype around tablets which may have had IT procurement sitting on the fence sweating PC asset waiting to see what Tablets actually meant for the enterprise.
The outcome I believe is, business as usual, albeit there is now a new kid on the block, the touch tablet class of computing interface that will remain largely an Information Consumption and email/text/Video Communication device with limited information creation value confined to the type historically familiar to Kiosk based terminals. Yes there will always be the minority who to prove a point (and obsession) will incur RSI (repetitive strain Injuries) in their lengths to prove Tablets can replace a PC.
CONSTRAINED TABLET PLATFORMS WILL NOT IRRADICATE THE MULTITASKING POWER REQUIRMENTS OF THE PC DESKTOP!
The PC will exist in a Tango with tablet devices (ranging from the iPad class through to the Slab Phones). Users have demonstrated this over and over during 2013. Tablets are purchased and complement the PC, they are not replacing it wholesale as some headlines would have us belive.
The Hybrid device is still to escape repeated birth pangs. Having myself test driven few, I find myself back to a PC/Notebook and Tablet/Smartphone. Hmm… yup that is x4 principle compute devices. The combination provides well for my principle work modes:
- Road Warrior / Hot desk Office worker – Notebook & Smartphone.
- Home Worker – Desktop PC & Tablet.
- Day trip client site visits – Tablet & Smartphone.
- Recreation – Games console.
OK the last one is not work, but it does reinforce a serious point across this whole debate, ‘horses for courses’. I have given up gaming on PC’s because of the fallout games have had on the PC performance/stability when I then need to rely on it for productivity work. Tablets being a closed system offer greater recreational stability and convenience but will remain platforms for utility games as they don’t get near the horse power for the class and quality of serious gaming experiences.
To summarise therefore I see the majority of business people still demanding a PC experience, and the Windows 8.1 starts to get close but its lack of a fully featured independent desktop configuration keeps it chained to the uncertain future of the Hybrid device. If I was to take a guess I would say the hybrid device will remain a niche prospect, so roll on Windows 8.2 with the prospect of a proper return to Desktop computing for Windows users.
On the device side, serious IT users will demand the power and dexterity of a PC desktop PLUS the kick back ease of information consumption and recreation of a Tablet class device.
Modern IT requires the two to tango and it will be that harmony of experience across them that I think Microsoft has the best chance of getting right. As for the rest, Google has a pumped up smartphone platform and Apple continuous with its proprietary control freakery that will continue to frustrate users who are becoming more IT savvy, demanding greater freedom with their system.