Evolution of the PC

Until recently, the PC evolved by having more

  • CPU/graphics speed,
  • RAM/fast storage,
  • Hard drive storage, and
  • networking options.

A couple of years ago, those features drove IT. No longer. We now have perfectly usable PCs that

  • fit in a hand, pocket or purse,
  • have a mass like a chocolate bar candy,
  • are pretty, cute, colourful and shiny, and
  • can be bought for less than $100.

The result is an explosion of Internet-connected PCs of many shapes and sizes, all doing pretty much the same thing for all kinds of people in all kinds of situations.

“The PC is no longer the primary device for accessing the Internet. The ratio of mobile devices to PCs used for daily computing is no longer even 1-to-1. The days of telling employees that they will connect only to corporate-issued Internet devices are soon to be over as well. With more than a billion mobile devices estimated to be in use before the end of 2013, our users will be doing business with several mobile devices.”

see Is the operating system dead?

The result is that the PC/personal computer is now an abstraction far beyond “desktop”. It’s now a layer of a stack of data, applications, and people with no limits, form-factor, standard interface or operating system. Like people in a chaotic crowd we make the adjustments needed to get the job done dynamically. It works with a few conventions, a stream of dispersed, rapid decisions and no one in particular in charge.

Natural selection, a competitive market place with consumers/users having a real say in what they want and how they want it, has proven diversity is strength, real choices result in rapid evolution, and dependencies do not need to be terminal.

This explosion in diversity happened in spite of/without Wintel. It is clear that the world is better off not depending on a single source for software or hardware because we can get the IT we need sooner and cheaper by accepting variety. M$ restricted innovation by restricting personal computing to Wintel. Intel restricted innovation when it colluded with M$ and pressured OEMs to use only Intel chips. Fortunately, ARM, FLOSS and the Chinese have out-produced the channels controlled by Wintel and Apple, too.

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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