It’s Not Just Marketing. IT Is Experiencing A Shift To Mobile. Real Mobile.

"Early adopters tend to leave the home laptop in the bag and are abandoning the home office in favor of the lounge room couch or bedroom to do online activities in a more comfortable environment using a tablet or smartphone. This early adopter trend is becoming mainstream consumer behavior. Consequently, technology and service providers are faced with no alternative but to innovate for mobility. If they do nothing, they face a potential train wreck as consumers abandon gadgets, services and applications that do not fully support changing mobile lifestyles."
see Gartner Says Mobility Is Reshaping Consumer Gadget Spending and Behavior

Along with this shift is a total stall in adoption of Wintel. Households with a desktop PC are stuck at 60% as the old machines cling to life but are not replaced. Meanwhile the mobile gadgets have a huge share of households. There is some life in notebooks but they grew just 37% while tablets grew 500%. This year, the contest will be over. Between the tablets and the smartphones, few will have a need for a Wintel PC. ASP has come down 12% for desktops and notebooks in one year. There’s not much room to decline further without M$ taking a big hit. Obviously the high-priced Ultrabooks are not making a dent.

Last evening I tried to do a lot with a smartphone. I had difficulty working a web-application to insert data or to query a database but viewing the data was not a problem even on a tiny screen. I scrolled. I zoomed. … while I sat in a stuffed chair in front of the TV. That took care of that. I can’t read a screen anyway. I needed particular numbers and paragraphs of text. A smartphone works. A tablet works better. A tablet with a keyboard works better than a desktop/notebook PC idling.

This shift is not a blip or something temporary. It is here to stay and it means */Linux finally is taking huge share of client PCs of all kinds. No one can say that FLOSS is not mainstream because there already hundreds of millions of units in place and growing rapidly.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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8 Responses to It’s Not Just Marketing. IT Is Experiencing A Shift To Mobile. Real Mobile.

  1. bw says:

    “The number of teenagers and ordinary citizens who buy a desktop or notebook PC so they can work at home is tiny.”

    I think the number is huge, actually, although the buyer is usually the teenager’s parents. In my extended family there have been multiple purchases in the past few years of new laptops for school use by this age group, along with several iPads used sometimes in lieu of iPhones for personal communications.

    “who wants to put up with….”

    You are out of date on this subject, we have previously verified.

    “Businesses who do most of the data-entry stuff can easily use thin clients…”

    Only if you are willing to accept a significant change to the way people are used to doing things, which is something most businesses want to avoid. A business that is on the rocks and desperately needs to save some money might consider such a thing, as some governments have done to compensate for lower tax revenues, but such enterprises are not very good candidates for success to begin with.

    “The network is the computer!” has been bandied about for close to 20 years now and Linux was the answer even back then. You can tell how excited companies are with this idea and how they have been pushing to get into line for it. It probably gets at least 1% of the available business.

  2. bw wrote, “the data entry intensive tasks still remain such as lengthy posting to forums , taxes, application forms, and the day to day activities of most businesses employing “information workers” who sit at PC screens and conduct some enterprise’s daily business.”

    The number of teenagers and ordinary citizens who buy a desktop or notebook PC so they can work at home is tiny. After school or a long day at work, who wants to put up with malware, slowing down, re-re-reboots or anything else to do with M$? Businesses who do most of the data-entry stuff can easily use thin clients and GNU/Linux PCs for most of it. Data-entry is listed as low-hanging fruit by IBM and others who coach migrations to GNU/Linux.

  3. bw says:

    “My son who owns both has not fired up the legacy PC in ages”

    Perhaps he is just not telling you, afraid of the consequences? “Let sleeping dogs lie!” is the wisdom of the ancients.

    I do agree that people today, not just youngsters either, are using phones and even tablets for email, tweets, facebook, and Google searches for odds and ends like theater times, restaurant menus, and other on-the-go info. But the data entry intensive tasks still remain such as lengthy posting to forums :-), taxes, application forms, and the day to day activities of most businesses employing “information workers” who sit at PC screens and conduct some enterprise’s daily business.

    Those tasks still need the “conventional” computer as I deem PCs to be and those tasks are not going away. I’m not seeing any ARM versions of PCs showing up very often. There are the Surface style of ultra thins and other convertible tablets, but those are rather rare even now.

  4. Der Balrog wrote a lot of stuff but this takes the cake, “Normal people who use Android-powered devices as desktop replacements: 0 percent.”

    I have seen in my own living room which has a wide-screen monitor, keyboard and mouse hooked to a PC, young people reach for their smartphone rather than the legacy PC. Wikimedia stats show that is true for a bunch, way more than 10%, so 0% is clearly wrong. Young people are highly mobile either going to school, shopping or going to work or play. They love Android/Linux on ARMed thingies. Some do not even own a legacy PC. My son who owns both has not fired up the legacy PC in ages.

    Instead of the concept, “Android replaces legacy PC”, think “legacy PC does not meet the needs of many”. People like stuff that fits in their hands as long as they have sharp eyes and nimble fingers. Along with the legacy PC goes the Wintel monopoly which has no place on the ARMed thingies. GNU/Linux on the other hand thrives everywhere.

    You may believe that Android/Linux is the only */Linux that thrives on ARMed thingies but Linpus is huge in Asia with GNU/Linux on ARM or x86/amd64.

  5. oiaohm says:

    Der Balrog I ask you a question where are using going to go when they get sick of Android malware.

    Notice a lot of companies are coming out with other Linux offerings. They are not wasting the work on the Android kernel either. Libhybris.

    Linux is a process of evolutions. Android got Linux with its foot in the door. Now the others will follow.

    Its the generation after android that is focused on pushing the desktop.

  6. Der Balrog says:

    No. Android (a brand soon to be abandoned according to reports) is taking a huge share.

    Fun facts:

    – Normal people who know Android is based on the Linux kernel: 0 percent.
    – Normal people who know Android is FLOSS: 0 percent.
    – Normal people who are interested in the source code of Android: 0 percent.
    – Normal people who use Android-powered devices as desktop replacements: 0 percent.
    – Normal people who get sucked into FLOSS due to Android: 0 percent.

    Well, that looks as bad for you as ever. Linux “dominates” but nobody gives a crap.

    Good times, good times.

    But don’t worry. At least the rise of Android malware won’t give Desktop Linux a bad name. (As if that were necessary.)

  7. lpbear wrote, “unless I have to carry one around for an emergency I really don’t like carrying a cell phone around at all.”

    I really like the idea of doing stuff on my LAN from anywhere on my property with a smartphone. I can

    • play music from the web
    • use my databases from my workshop or my den
    • document work on the landscape or garden, recording dates etc.
    • ordering parts for machines without going back into the house
    • dialing up a recipe from my database in the kitchen
    • be “competitive” with the youngsters when they pull out theirs…
  8. lpbbear says:

    That echoes what I am seeing as well. Friends and customers are moving some portion of their computing needs to smartphones and tablets. The PC had such a huge market initially because there were no other viable alternatives. A percentage of those who used the PC really weren’t “into” using it, they simply had no other choice. Those choices now exist and that percentage of users who really had no need for a dedicated PC are finding a smartphone or a tablet is really all they need for their computing needs. As that group continues to discover the capabilities of these devices that will result in a steady erosion of the PC market and lower revenues for companies like Microsoft.

    Microsoft made the mistake of thinking it could hang the anchor of Windows 8 around consumers necks by forcibly tying the crappy Metro interface into the GUI as a way to link their lousy tablet and smartphone products together with the PC. It has failed miserably because the majority of desktop users hate Windows 8, which is reflected in the terrible sales numbers for it, and smartphone/tablet users aren’t flocking to that set of products either.

    As for me I use Linux and prefer the desktop style of computing. I have zero interest in smartphones or tablets. I guess I am old fashioned but unless I have to carry one around for an emergency I really don’t like carrying a cell phone around at all. When I do have to carry one I generally leave it off unless I have to make a call. I am set for quite a while with a decent desktop system running Linux that did not contribute to the Microsoft Tax in any way. Unless it blows up I foresee no change coming for me.

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