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Post-PC Hype: How many of you find it inevitable ?

This is a discussion on Post-PC Hype: How many of you find it inevitable ? within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; For a significant portion of the last few years, there seems to be a unanimous push to killing off desktops ...

  1. #1
    Registered User manasij7479's Avatar
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    Post-PC Hype: How many of you find it inevitable ?

    For a significant portion of the last few years, there seems to be a unanimous push to killing off desktops for its own good.
    I've not used much of those 'mobile' devices (other than a cheap android phone and an iPad ), but It seems that I'm completely missing the point.
    Even putting the programmer/power-user mindset away for a while, I simple can't use them as a "media-consumption" device without serious issues.

    Want to enjoy a movie with some friends at your home? ..the small screen can be a PITA.
    How about reading an ebook (not all-text) or viewing a website ?.. the panning and zooming becomes cumbersome to me. (When mobile versions are available, they typically make things more difficult or impossible to do in exchange of a simpler interface.)
    Writing something feels like playing an old typing tutor game !
    Speaking of games, I tried out some free ones. (Much of the enjoyment came from Pokemon FireRed on an emulator, though..).
    PEBKAC, PICNIC problems gain new degrees of freedoms with these modern devices.
    I'm not into much music, so I don't have opinions about it, but that is the only field such devices seem to shine.


    I think all this feels like unifying a toaster and a refrigerator into a single Chernobyl-made device. (can't remember where I heard that analogy.)

    Adding to that closed ecosystems, mutually incompatible 'cloud' services and stores, the future looks dim to me.
    Last edited by manasij7479; 05-05-2012 at 05:46 AM.
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  2. #2
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    I don't think it is inevitable that desktops will die out.

    There will continue to be some things that require more screen real estate and a wider range of user input devices than the current smart phones or fondleslabs can physically support. Even if you assume wireless connections to everything, there are distinct physical limits on how much electromagnetic or other types of energy can be pushed through the atmosphere without presenting a hazard to people. Those limits are much more severe than what is possible with various physical connections (fibres, cables, etc).

    I suspect that desktop devices will continue to evolve to support some of the better "usability" features offered by the personal devices. But there will continue to be a place for desktop devices (and big-iron servers, even if those machines are less visible to end users or, even, "App" developers). If, for no other reason, that the power of personal devices relies on their being computing capacity provided by other devices. And because, as more people get used to personal devices, they will start demanding greater functionality. That means both the personal devices themselves will need to become more technically capable, and they will need more support of other devices. Which mirrors what happened with desktop devices: a PC of today has many functional capabilities that a PC didn't support 20 years ago.

    It is not an accident that recent tablet-style devices are offering features (larger screens, ability to interface to larger systems, bigger touch screens that can emulate keyboards). The reason is that it is easier to support greater functionality and greater capacities (throughput, etc) in physically larger devices.

    Over time, interoperability will need to improve, simply because consumers will increasingly resent potential loss of data if their chosen cloud service goes out of business, or having to pay repeatedly for media (e-books, songs, Apps, etc) if they want to change devices. That will pose a threat to the monopolists with their walled gardens, so they will have continue innovating (offer new and better features to both maintain their fanboi enthusiast communities and avoid resentment of lay-people when they are forced to update when their devices go obsolete) or cause the suppliers to embrace less closed approaches. If a monopolist reaches a point where it can't (or won't) continue innovating, then consumers will be disillusioned, and vote with their feet - by going to another monopolist that is still innovating, or to some more "open" offering. That is what is happening now.

    To make the more "open" offerings more attractive though, there will need to be more innovation in that space. Somehow it will be necessary for (say) the open source community to adapt, and provide much more usable products - those with less reliance on specialist technical knowledge to be able to use the products. Because, like it or not, usability is the main frontier where monopolists have the edge over community-based efforts.

    All it will take will be some pungent abuses of personal data for various attitudes to privacy to change as well.
    Last edited by grumpy; 05-05-2012 at 07:53 AM.
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  3. #3
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    Want to enjoy a movie with some friends at your home?
    Before my rant, this is actually one of the few reasons I like concept of imminently portable devices as a media device. Sure, as I enjoy it, it means jumping through some hoops. (Of course, there is the obvious fact that a television and a "DLNA" compatible device must also be available.) Even with those limits, I love using my telephone as a media host and controller. When that isn't an option, absolutely the small screen is an issue.

    There will practically never be a "post-pc" hype because you'll never see a time that is "post-pc".

    The next major consoles are rumored to be taking a step backwards in sophistication. The crazy gamers of the world will continue to power the desktop market for decades. People are always talking about "tablets getting more powerful". This is true but it completely misses the obvious: the desktop is getting more powerful as well. There is also the inescapable fact that "touch" interfaces are completely unsuitable to a lot of game types and escaping that means turning a tablet into an expensive monitor.

    It is virtually impossible to do any real development on a tablet even when you have a development desktop slaved. I have such a setup and a "Bluetooth" keyboard for my tablet. It is awful. I use it only when I absolutely have to use it.

    Soma

  4. #4
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    It is exactly what you say it is: hype. Tablets are not going anywhere, PCs are not going anywhere, consoles are not going anywhere. They may change somewhat but they will still all be valid devices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VirtualAce View Post
    It is exactly what you say it is: hype. Tablets are not going anywhere, PCs are not going anywhere, consoles are not going anywhere. They may change somewhat but they will still all be valid devices.
    I would hate to wake up one day and find my Xbox is now an invalid device :-(
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Hopefull you will wake up one day and it will be the next XBOX so we can move forward with graphics tech instead of spinning in place with 10 year old tech.
    Lesshardtofind likes this.

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