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[Discuss] Future of Personal Computers

On 3/12/2012 10:07 PM, markw at wrote:
> My friends and I were arguing about what the future holds for computers. I
> think we all agree that the desktop is dead, but there is some
> disagreement as to the fate of the laptop. Does anyone think that this is
> an interesting discussion?
> Here are my assertions:
> The desktop if largely dead like cobol. It will linger, but never return.

I don't think the desktop is dead. It will remain as a choice for 
high-end users like professional developers, graphic artists, and 
serious gamers - people who need the maximum amount of processing and 
graphics power and/or lots of screen real estate. Hooking up two or 
three 20" or larger displays is never going to be be a convenient thing 
to do with a laptop, and if your computer use includes non-portable 
input devices like scanners the advantage of laptops goes away. It is 
likely to fade away (though not die) as a mainstream device. I suppose 
it might get largely replaced by desktop-replacement laptops, but I 
don't think of any system weighing over 7 pounds as a true laptop anyway.

The laptop certainly won't die for a while, if ever. Many tasks work so 
much better with real keyboards; for example, I can't see professional 
writers ever adopting tablets as their primary writing device. We might 
see hybrid devices like the EeePad Transformer make some inroads, we 
might see tablet-like OSes like Windows 8 or Ubuntu/Unity or actual 
tablet OSes like iOS find their way onto them, but the basic laptop form 
factor will endure and gradually become mostly smaller/lighter systems 
like the MacBook Air and ultrabooks.

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