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The Death of the Personal Computer

June 9, 2012

Personal Computers are dying, it’s a slow death but within a few years they will be extinct apart from a few machines needed to run specialist hardware (license keys for old software). I Still use a personal computer for most of my day to day work but it won’t be long before I do all my work on a powerful server via the network. This is a harsh reality I think a lot of people are failing to see and as such will cause them a lot of greif when their business model goes out the window…. albeit slowly.

Google shares this vision they released the Chrome book to get everyone off using expensive desktop hardware and instead use a cheap laptop with lots of battery power, always on 3g and wifi to connect to the net and only one application Google Chrome their web browser. This device might not have great market penetration just yet but that’s partly because internet speeds are not amazing everywhere just yet with many places still struggling with ADSL connections or latent 3g connections.

Server Virtualization is another key factor in getting people off desktops, desktop virtualization infrastructure (VDI) which can run on virtualized servers allows one who already has significant investment in a virtualised server environment to add multiple desktops to the system at low overhead and get rid of supporting pc’s with multiple and mixed hardware that fails all too regularly.

Microsoft will soon be releasing a new version of their windows server operating system which has increased support for virtualization no doubt they will also add comprehensive support for desktop virtualization in it and upcoming releases as well. This is a typical trend with Microsoft they get caught behind the eight ball so they are frantically trying to catch up now to the likes of Vmware which is arguably the market leader in the server virtualization space.

Australia’s NBN will no doubt help to move people off desktops as well, with a 100mbit internet connection there is no need to run a desktop at home if you want to transfer a file, for instance a 600mb movie to your isp hosted VDI machine it will take at most a couple of minutes. This will only get shorter as time progresses and the NBN speeds increase to gigabit and beyond.

Smartphone’s are now a way of life, within a few short years (since the release of the first of the iPhone in 2008) they are now the norm. Pricing is reasonably low so anyone can afford one especially with carrier funded contract arrangements. Ubuntu linux is already running on smartphones and it won’t be long before we simply dock our phone into a display dock which has a keyboard and a mouse and entire desktop will be on the device or connectable over the network.

At this stage Laptops and Desktop computers will be obsolete, if you need something quick on a larger screen than your phone you will check your tablet but if your at your desk you will simply dock your phone into the screen and keyboard. Everything will be wireless and hopefully everything will be easy!

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