Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

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End of Desktop PC Era?

May 4th, 2005 · No Comments

[via Sadagopan] Mark Cuban writes:

The desktop is boring.

All the fun is happening with portable devices. Phones, Ipods, gaming consoles, PDAs, digital cameras, even hard drives and flash drives. All the good stuff is coming in small packages.

Remember the frustration of shopping for a PC in the 90s. Every couple months the PC would have something new and cool in it, and the price would drop. It was tough to know what to buy and whether you should do it now or wait.

Thats exactly what is happening in the portable.mobile device market. My Ipod, My Sidekick, my hard drives,my PSP, my Xbox even my laptop all have overlapping features. Each is getting closer to each other in feature set every day.

Which means that the war for my pocket is on. Which is going to allow me to only fill one pocket rather than the 2, or 1 plus beltclip that Im filling now.

Its a fun time for portable.mobile devices. Its the 80s and 90s for desktops all over again. Every time I go into CompUSA or Best Buy to see what new stuff is on the shelves that I can play with, every phone has a new feature. Every hard drive is smaller, cheaper, faster. Every PDA has new features and software.

Michael Gartenberg counters: “Mark Cuban goes on a rant about the death of the desktop PC and how mobile gadgets will replace it. I think mark’s a little off here. While he correctly notes the overlapping nature of his various devices, he ignores the secondary functions are often mediocre. My phone is a poor camera, my camera a poor mp3 player and my mp3 player a poor PIM. The key is context. When walking in SF on Tuesday and struck by a moment, I was able to snap a pic on my cameraphone but when I go on vacation you better believe my digital rebel will be along. Its not convergence, its context. Likewise, on the plane I needed to create a presentation, respond to a few hundred emails and write a several reports. In theory I could have used my Treo for that but it wouldn’t have been productive or pleasant…As for the desktop? death Well my “desktop” at home has half a terabyte of disk space, serves up content to three rooms in my home as well as my mobile devices. The pc isn’t gone… It just morphed into a new role and still handles the other stuff it did in the 80s and 90s better than any other device. My laptop has only a fraction of that capacity or horsepower.”

Sadagopan adds: “The PC is no doubt facing massive challenges – challenges in the form of raise of pervasive devices, advances in telecom bandwidth and consequently the advent of hosted solutions as a serious option( Gates has not touched upon this) and we are not seeing any fundamental changes in the PC operating systems and collaboration is taking new forms which Windows family is not able to catch up with. Most of the criticism about the PC comes from the operating system’s fundamental instability and poor reliability. I think that PC’s continued use depends to a large extent on the speed and featured in future windows rollout and to an extent the increased reach of the functionalities of the mobile and the PDA. Afterall the PC sale volume is very less compared to the mobiles which are selling several times over. The quick rate of change in these products and how they are sold, will completely alter both how the products are sold, and how we expect to buy them.The PC is not going to go away any time, it will continue to get faster, more powerful, and smaller, then eventually when we’re all on broadband, I think we will go back to the days of dumb PCs that run applications that are hosted online. Want to write a document, a “web browser” opens that enables you to do your word processing, and stores the document in your personal web space on some server farm in cyberspace. Enteprise applications are already going heavily towards web based, and more and more home applications will continue to as well. Desktop applications may be dying, but the role of desktops in accessing our applications would remain valid for some more time to come agreed handheld devices shall dominate moving forward.”

Tags: Thin Client-Thick Server

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