Saturday, September 10, 2011

As Tech Evolves, Will PCs Be Left Behind?

USA Today (09/06/11) Jon Swartz

The rapid shift from personal computers (PCs) to mobile devices and cloud-based computing has restructured the high-tech industry. Technology has exhausted the limits of the PC as a platform and the future will center on mobile devices, predicts Google chairman Eric Schmidt. "The PC device has evolved in terms of size, shape, use, and ubiquity," says former IBM executive Pat Richards. The younger generation, especially, is abandoning desktop computers and laptops for smartphones and iPads. The switch to mobile devices is apparent in the latest sales trends, as sales of smartphones will rise 56 percent to 467.7 million this year, according to Gartner, while tablet sales will grow nearly four times to 69.8 million this year. However, some experts believe the PC is not dying and instead is simply changing its size and shape, as handheld devices become the new must-have consumer product. In the future, consumers will get information from whatever device best suits the data, says VMWare CEO Paul Maritz. He says a person's data "will determine what devices look like, rather than the other way around, because it will outlive any particular piece of hardware where it may reside."