July 4, 2011 By Bill Schrier
Desktop computers are dead.
Desktops are soooo 20th century.
"The desktop computer is going the way of the fax machine" Or, to be really nasty about it … "going the way of the IBM Selectric typewriter." (Congratulations, IBM, incidentally, on your 100th birthday!)
Tolling the death knell for the desktop computer certainly seems to be "in vogue" during this year of 2011 although its death has been predicted for many years.
This news fad gains additional momentum from the recent rise of the tablet computer. And - please note this -the tablet really has, "risen from the dead" itself, as tablet computers were developed a number of years ago.
News fads run in cycles, and in this case I prefer to paraphrase Mark Twain: "Reports of my desktop computer's death have been greatly exaggerated."
Desktop and laptop computers are far from dead and will be around for a long time to come. Certainly tablets have some advantages. They:
They also have some disadvantages:
For me, the preferred road computer-weapon of choice is the trusty netbook running Windows 7 and the Office Suite. Touch-typable keyboard built in, Wi-Fi, long battery life (8 to 10 hours), replaceable battery for longer life (eat horse dung, non-replaceable iPhone and iPad), instant-on capability anywhere (I'm writing this on a Metro bus commuting home from work), USB ports (and lots of them), DVD drive, and so forth. And the thing is light and rugged. For those of you with a religious bent, Apple makes some pretty good netbook-equivalent devices too.
Even the netbook has limitations - and specifically if doing graphics and photography work, or other heavy duty apps, which require the power and larger screens of a desktop computer. But neither desktop or netbook make a good e-reader or electronic scrabble board.
Will tablet computers eventually and completely replace the desktop? Maybe, although I'm skeptical.
Will tablet computers themselves eventually go the way of the slide rule and abacus?
Perhaps. But for the time being I think the tablet will become one more tool - one more device in a pantheon of devices from mainframes to mobile smart phones - which people use to make their lives happier and more productive.
But I’m not dancing on the grave of the desktop computer just yet.
[Credits for photographs: IBM 7074 computer courtesy IBM Corporation, IBM PC-XT, Apple I-Pad with Scrabble (trademarked and copyrighted) application photo by Bill Schrier]
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