Digitimes Sees Diversification Ahead for PCs. I see GNU/Linux on Retail Shelves.

I am not the only one to detect a crack in Wintel.

see Intel, Microsoft may face strong challenge from ARM/Android (Digitimes).

Intel hedging with GNU/Linux and M$ dabbling with ARM are indications that Wintel is weakening. Intel no longer sees its future tied to M$ and M$ no longer sees its future tied to Intel. The world of IT does not see its future tied to Wintel. It’s all good.

Consequenses of this diversification are

  1. less up-selling in the mainstream of IT
  2. more competition on price and performance
  3. better software, and
  4. better hardware

Gone are the days when anything with Wintel in it would sell. Now folks look at other considerations like:

  • price,
  • size,
  • power consumption, and
  • speed

Two minute boot-times are no longer acceptable as are re-re-reboots and five fans in a box the size of a mini-refrigerator. All-in-ones, smart-phones, netbooks, tablets and notebooks all will be mainstream and will find a place on retail shelves regardless of OS or CPU.

This change which has now reached the consciousness of builders back in China will reach a crescendo by this time next year so I make a few predictions that would have seemed extreme only last year:

  1. M$ will see negative or very small growth in units shipped in 2011 in spite of increasing shipments of all kinds of personal computing,
  2. netbooks will have a resurgence as up-selling dies,
  3. smart-thingies will have more connectors to allow them to be replacements for other kinds of PCs,
  4. desktop and notebook PCs will fall in price because that’s the only way they can compete,
  5. GNU/Linux will have major retail space, and,
  6. servers, thin clients, netbooks, notebooks, desktops and tablets with ARM will be mainstream.

The basis of my optimism is that M$ would not be dabbling in ARM if it did not see the writing on the wall and was struggling to delay the inevitable. I would bet that M$ will be too slow to market a product for ARM. The explosion that happened in 2010 with smart-phones was just the primer for a much larger change in 2011. Wintel may be able to hold a few niches like business and USA but the rest of the world will dramatically change in 2011, limited only by production capacity and not monopoly.

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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5 Responses to Digitimes Sees Diversification Ahead for PCs. I see GNU/Linux on Retail Shelves.

  1. oldman says:

    “That’s why many competitors to the iPad have a USB port. People can add a hub and USB keyboard and mouse to them just as they can add another display. People are thinking the netbook is dead but it is far superior in this respect. Netbooks almost always have a couple of USB ports.”

    Actually the iPad has a full side keyboard with dock as an option. In theory the resulting system could be used as a full size computer substitute for those whose needs are minimal. I can not verify this as I don not yet have the extra software needed

    “People are thinking the netbook is dead but it is far superior in this respect. Netbooks almost always have a couple of USB ports.”

    Netbooks may be in the end victoms of their tween status. Too large for true portable use, too dinky for use as a full blown computer substitute. Personally I have never seen a netbook outside of the techno geek community that championed them, and even those had been paved over with hacked copies of OS X!

  2. oldman wrote:”Even typing a URL into the Web browser is tedious, and sustained typing into the built in note taking application is even more painful.

    That’s why many competitors to the iPad have a USB port. People can add a hub and USB keyboard and mouse to them just as they can add another display. People are thinking the netbook is dead but it is far superior in this respect. Netbooks almost always have a couple of USB ports.

  3. twitter says:

    Microsoft’s announcement may be damage control for Preston Galla admitting that Windows 7 was too fat for tablets and netbooks, but it is good news for the reasons you have given just the same. The Microsoft Party Line for Windows 7 has always been that Windows 7 is a “Linux Killer” because it does everything that Linux does. It won’t and can’t, so this is probably another vaporware announcemet to keep people from jumping out of Microsoft stock. It is obvious that world + dog can meet the world’s computing needs with $200 ARM, MIPS and other cheap hardware combined with free software. Microsoft has to pretend they are competitive on these devices, or at least that they will be able to wreck the companies making them through patents and other leverage that comes from Windows contact/contamination.

    If Microsoft really is moving to ARM then Microsoft is imploding financially, as predicted. Microsoft boosters periodically promise that Windows will run on ARM but the company never delivers because there is not enough money for Microsoft in a computer that costs $200 at retail. Vista’s user hostile digital restrictions and malicious indexing of user data assure that Windows will always perform poorly. The digital restrictions are baked device driver level which demand bus encryption and “trip bits” to turn things off. Perhaps Windows can run on new dual core, 1GHz ARM processors, but GNU/Linux will always run better and Microsoft won’t be able to stand the price competition and increased workload. The company can hardly keep up their little x86 distribution and has taken nearly a decade to get out a 64 bit version which is still rough around the edges.

  4. Richard Chapman says:

    And, when work gets slow for Intel, they can stamp out ARM chips under contract in one of their idle foundries.

    I’m actually anticipating Microsoft’s entry into the New World of ARM with morbid glee. If they are able to control their urge to kill every competitor in sight, they might just last through a device generation. Most likely though, they will launch their “Microsoft Saves World” device with a billion dollar marketing campaign. And then? Nothing.

  5. oldman says:

    “I am not the only one to detect a crack in Wintel.”

    Lets take a look at that crack pog. I qoute from the article

    “Meanwhile, the sources also believe that the Wintel platform, which has a higher cost than ARM/Android platforms, may not be able to maintain an advantage IN THE TABLET PC MARKET, unless some changes are made.”

    Note my emphasis – the article talks about the Tablet market. NO talk about anything else!. Now not the end of the article.

    “the sources are hoping the PC market will gradually step out of their dominance and head toward diversification.”

    They are HOPING, Pog, these unnamed sources, that the PC market will step out of its dominance. Hope is not certainty.

    As far as the tablet experieence is concerned. I finally received my iPad and have been working with these past few days as it came to me. While it is far better than using a smart phone to perform basic computing tasks, it is apparent to me that tablets will NEVER become full blown substitutes for the a desktop or laptop PC, even for those whose computing needs are modest. Even typing a URL into the Web browser is tedious, and sustained typing into the built in note taking application is even more painful. I am suspending final judgment until I get the OK to purchase a basic applications that I have chosen to augment the tablet experience, but MY prediction is that once computing consumers get hands on tablets in some numbers, the bloom will come of the rose so to speak, and the tablet market will level off.

    As far a FOSS and Linux making it on to tablets, that is doubtful for a number of reasons. not the least of which most of the desireable FOSS applications are just as “bloated” as their commercial “equivalents”.

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