Multi-Device Era

Red Herring Blog writes that the “PC is no longer the center of the computational universe”:

This change is as important to understand as the shift from mainframe computing in the 1980s. PCs are just one of the devices in users lives that they expect to be intelligent and to perform a variety of functions on their behalf. In order to do this, PCs must be able to handle a wider variety of file types, especially media files, and recognize what to do with those files in different contexts. For example, just as people would be disappointed in a television that didn’t recognize a video signal, their expectation today is that the PC needs to be able to handle incoming video and the metadata that describes what is in the video.

All the guidance and interface functionality that has been developing on the web and in the personal video recorder market is converging (theres that word again), but the PC itself is just another conduit, like mainframe computers became in the enterprise when the PC was first introduced.

Convergence, it turns out, is a distributed phenomenon, not something that will happen within the narrow confines of the computer and television.

The real action is at the edge of the network, in sleek consumer electronics on the shelf at home or in the dashboard of a car and the palm of the hand. By migrating computational power into these systems, Microsoft is hoping to make the PC the hub of the personal media environment.

But Intel, which has squeezed profits out of the increased power in the CPU based on the well-worn ratios described by Moore’s Law, needs to invest more heavily in winning real estate in this new generation of devices in order to embed more of its application programming interfaces (APIs) into the media stream. Without those API hooks for developers to build on, Intel quickly will become obsolete on the desktop, because its chips will not be enablers of the media stream.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.