Smartphones: Are They of Aren’t They Replacing PCs?

Digitimes reports that 55% of handsets sold in December 2011 in Taiwan were smartphones. Clearly, people are doing more than talking with their smartphones or they wouldn’t pay the premium. People have to eat, breathe and communicate these days and talking is not enough. People want to be connected to the web any time any place. Smartphones do that for them. Apple is down to 30% of that market. Good riddance. Android/Linux is up to 60% based on HTC and Samsung alone. Then there are a ton of other OEMs making Android/Linux systems.

This is pretty good evidence that smartphones are displacing some of the personal computing market. Smartphones are smaller, cheaper and more portable than desktop and notebook PCs. People love that. They are tired of propping up the Wintel 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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8 Responses to Smartphones: Are They of Aren’t They Replacing PCs?

  1. oiaohm says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_On-The-Go
    “USB on the go” It is a special form of cable micro usb normally support this mode.

    Some devices provide power in master mode some don’t. I think the Kindle fire might need a usb hub in the middle so the device in device mode works.

    There is another issue the hardware is USB on the go yet the firmware has been restricted or a wire was cut. Please note I read the chipsets of the Kindle Fire by the contained chipset do support “usb on the go”. So it should work unless it been intentionally disabled by physical or firmware means.

    There are a few usb screens standard android/linux does support.

    Basically to use a flash drive directly to the device you need to get it into host mode once in host mode as long as you have drivers for what you connecting you are in business.

    Yep flash drive works it is a few extra steps to get usb keyboard and monitor working. Since without host mode a standard drive will not work. USb host mode + drivers is what allows usb keyboard and monitor to work with android.

    There is also a bluetooth receiver in there that has been disabled as well. It in the wifi chip that they are using so it kinda has to be connected and working or you don’t have wifi 2.4 Ghz aerial is require for both.

    So amazon took very good hardware and has turned it into crap at least in one area. Because bluetooth projection keyboards are really handy.

    On devices like this sometimes it does not pay to presume that the maker would not intentionally kill features.

  2. Clarence Moon says:

    I do remember looking at my Kindle Fire and noting that the USB connector was there. Mr. Oiaohm claimed that it was a “USB to go” (I think that is term) but that was bum dope. A USB cable connected to the Kindle can be used to copy book, picture, and mp3 files to and from the Kindle and for nothing else.

    My sojourn so far into the ways of writing programs for the Kindle Fire has disclosed that I can get to the application storage using a driver supplied by Google if I modify a couple of configureation files in eclipse. It may be possible to get a keyboard going, but not a monitor, I think, but doing that is going to be well beyond the interest or ability of the general public.

  3. Clarence Moon says:

    Are you willing to state that such a configuration is at all commonly found anywhere? I think it is more useful to discuss what is likely to happen in the IT industry and with its customers than to argue over hypothetical possibilities of what could be done in an extreme case.

  4. Storage can be local on a USB device with no need for a PC attached.

    There is no need for a dock with a smart phone. A conventional monitor/keyboard/mouse can be plugged into some smartphones. Clearly, a dock might be more convenient with fewer connections but some USB mice plug into keyboards so it would only be two connections, video and keyboard/mouse. I expect a wireless connectivity of this sort will develop to make the connection faster/easier.

  5. Clarence Moon says:

    It seems like a long reach to me to suggest that a phone can be equipped with a keyboard and monitor in some sort of docking station to supplant most uses of a “conventional” desktop or laptop PC, Mr. Pogson. It is not a very commonly encountered situation, you must agree. I will concede that there have been some instances that you have shown where a commercial product was being presented with such characteristics, but those products were rather expensive in comparison to a more conventional arrangement and unlikely to gain much market interest.

    And even then, the picture taker, like my wife, still needs gobs of storage to keep her pictures. Maybe that could be done in the cloud as well, but only a minor share of that sort of thing actually occurs and it is not zero cost either.

    I do not see phones being viewed by the vast majority of consumers as computer replacements. You don’t do it, and I don’t do it and my next door neighbor doesn’t do it either. How about your next door neighbor? My be is that he has a computer in the den the same as everyone else on the whole planet.

  6. Clarence Moon wrote, “Some added mobile access to the internet’s services via a smart phone is not going to eliminate the need for a PC until the smart phone can replace all the other functions performed by a PC.”

    “all” is the operative term. The only thing current desktop/notebook personal computers do better than smart phones are compute-intensive operations like picture editing. If you hook a keyboard, monitor, and mouse to a smart phone you get most of the functionality of the desktop/notebook PC. The question then becomes whether or not the user of the personal computer is a consumer or a producer. Almost everyone except the insane are consumers. Relatively few are producers. Most of the producers type and upload images with little or no editing. They can edit images enough to crop/lighten on-line no doubt. A lot of producers are using servers like this one to do their producing, so they don’t need much of a personal computer at all. I do tons of stuff. Kernel-building and some databasery are probably all that I could not do with a smartphone. I don’t really need the database on the smartphone, do I? I have my own server and I could rent one, too. I could skip the kernel-building. I mostly do it for fun or to check out drivers on newer models if I have a problem. I wouldn’t have a driver problem with an OEM-configured smartphone, would I?

    If I were a young person, starting over, so to speak, I could buy or receive a smartphone as a gift and be set for an enormous range of personal computing activity with no other personal computer. I would be mobile and so would my computing. That’s the future. That’s what young folks are doing. That’s what Moore’s Law and FLOSS have wrought, small cheap computers.

    Think of it this way, a smartphone is a personal computer without the disadvantages of cost, power consumption, weight, noise and bulk of the usual desktop/notebook PC. From that viewpoint, there is no need of the old way of doing IT. I embrace that and the only reason I don’t use a smartphone is that I am practically immobile, mostly walking a mile or two from home or accompanied by my son or wife who have smartphones, and I have a ton of personal computers and my own server and a rented one all of which it would be a chore to dispose and a change in the way I do things.

  7. Clarence Moon says:

    Given your quantum mechanics background, Mr. Pogson, you should appreciate the argument that PCs, like sex, are quantized. Some added mobile access to the internet’s services via a smart phone is not going to eliminate the need for a PC until the smart phone can replace all the other functions performed by a PC.

    The same thing holds for replacing Windows with Linux without being able to do everything and anyone does under Windows today. It keeps Linux as an add-on and Linux never gets the leverage from being a complete, drop-in replacement.

    The argument that it is an economic issue seems far-fetched, considering the considerably higher ongoing costs of smart phone usage under voice and data plans versus the mostly one-time charge cost of buying a PC. The poor people cannot afford the data plan, so a smart phone is not an answer to any sort of problem that they might be able to afford solving.

  8. Kozmcrae says:

    It may be that some people can afford a PC or a smartphone but not both. So they put their money on the smart phone.

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