This is a blog associated with Design News. In the Engineering profession, mobile devices are becoming more prevalent for people who need to take their work into the field but the death of the desktop certainly won't happen in my lifetime. Until the mobile environment can handle the functions currently being filled by Solidworks, Revit, AutoCAD, SKM Power Tools, AGI, etc., there will always be a desktop or mobile workstation in the life of an engineer.
I am a little surprised that so many of the readers, myself included, got so taken by this article. Perhaps we collectively harbor a FUD about the trend of miniaturizing information presentation physical devices. But that, and the innovations that come along, should be a good thing for other market segments that the laptop/desktop still serve more than they are a death spell, as the article author apparently attempts to promulgate.
To convince myself, I took a look at the author's bio. He is affliated with a company that's in the business of web design tool, content management system (and the services thereof) in the capacity of marketing executive. When the business focus is apparently on tablets (iPad) one would be foolish to ignore the trends in the consumer market. His company's home page (and project show cases) is surely tasty but looking a little closer or further you will see all the big 24" LCD displays, traditional HID's such as keyboards and touch pads, and a hint of "under desk" machines. Presumably these are the actual shots of their back office scenes.
How can anyone say "Desktop has now become inefficient and slow".....?
From my experience, it's the touchscreen interface that's inefficient and slow, even the larger ones.
Every time I switch back to a mouse/physical Keyboard combination, I breathe a sigh of relief, they ar almost perfect for getting the job done. And as an aside, they are an ideal tool to keep your pristine screen free from smeary fingerprints and general grime.
Tablets and phone screens get so greasy, sometimes I shuidder to touch them...
It is true that the roll of the desktop PC is changing and deminishing. But their are multiple PC markets.
Consumer market. Here the PC is falling fast these are casual users. The proof is easy go into any walmart or box store and try to find a desktop. Their will be few choices.
Technical Market: The PC has a good long life left in the industrial and technical market. Try designing a new PC board or writing code on anything else and you will see. For this you either need a desktop or a top of the line laptop with a real high speed dock station so you can run the multiple monitors and debug tools required. A tablet is just not cutout for this kind of work it neither has the processing power or the display power to get the job done.
Gaming: Tablets cannot provide what the serious gamers want even a good laptop cannot handle a mid range game well. You need a top of the line machine to run these processing power hungry games. Even a standard desktop cannot run many of these well you need a juiced up machine to get that kind of power. It will be quite a while until that kind of power can run as a web service and even than do you really what to be in the middle of an all out battle with the alein hord only to have your game play stop because someone started watching a video on your network.
I need a big screen for CAD, so I won't ever be using small screens. It's funny how folks are so far behind the knowledge of how eyes work. They have muscles that need exercising. My eye doc back in the 70's asked what I do for a living, I said drafting, he said look up as often as you can & focus on something far away & your eyesight will be ok. I did I do & still have good vision.
People now & in the future will have food allergies, bad eyesight, be muscularly weak & won't be able to do much. Picture a large weak person sitting with a tablet/phone on their belly using only one finger to swipe with. SAD that people are so smart yet so dumb. To coin a phrase "hear me now, believe me later".
My opinion is that mobile, touchscreen devices are simply play things.
We have Android and Apple smartphones and tablets in our house and while fine for checking email, facebook, twitter, G+ and other fluffly stuff, but these touchscreen devices are just toys.
Without a real keyboard and a way to precisely manipulate the cursor position on the screen, there's really no way to do real work on them.
My biggest frustration with handheld touchscreen devices has to be when I'm typing out something and need to edit something a few words or sentences above. My seemingly fat fingers can never put the darn cursor where I want it to make the changes that I need. I usually try three or four times and get close somewhere after where I want, and just delete a few characters that I have to retype after I make my change!
I see where laptops will mostly replace desktops, which I'm mostly okay with as long as there's a docking station with big screens and a real keyboard and mouse. But I'm old school and hate trackpads, prefering the eraser-point type of pointing device, so that really limits the laptops that I'd personally buy.
That said, I'm in the process of buying a new desktop for my basement lab, once I find the right deal. I just picked up a pair of 24" monitors and am scoping out a decent machine to do some basic video editing under Linux. I'm leaning towards and i5 or i7 based machine, simply because I'm familiar with them, and am not familiar with AMD's current offerings. I really like PCI and PCI-Exress slots, and will likely need to add a Firewire card and an old SCSI card, so that's why I'm going with a desktop.
Yes, Ann, I totally agree. I also find detailed browsing on a mobile device a bit claustrophobic. I can't exactly explain, but it makes me stressed out and nervous. Even if I can see everything I'm meant to see, I feel like my brain can't comprehend it all sometimes. I need more space. I'm sure this is the feeling you're describing.
Wow, that's interesting, Ann, and makes a lot of sense. I have noticed my eyes getting so bad because of this. I wear contact lenses anyway and am nearsighted, but it's so much worse now with all this computer use. i can't read small print anymore and have terrible night vision. A shame this is affecting kids so early.
Definitely mobile phones have limitations for really showing people things on the display, which is I guess why tablets are better and a bit more popular now. And it's better for the eyesight--I can almost feel my eyes breathe a sigh of relief when I switch from my iPhone to my iPad to do something. But it's still not quite enough, and there are a lot of cases in which you really need the desktop form factor.
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