The rise of the tablet computer has me thinking about the future of computers. How many computers surround me right now? I have my office computer, my computer at home, a netbook, my smartphone, my BlueAnt…it seems like computers are everywhere. Even light bulbs are being developed with computer chips. The way we interact with computers is rapidly changing. Writer Farhad Manjoo describes it best when he writes that we will 'move from an age of one computer to multiple, cheaper computers'. I want to take a closer look into his idea of multiple computers.
First, the pocket computer: your smartphone. Smartphones are becoming so powerful that they rival in functionality to that of the PC. It truly is a personal computer because it's always connected to the internet and always with you. Social media would not be where it is today were it not for the power of the smartphone, which constantly tracks where you are. Granted, smartphones aren't useful for some processes. But the gap is starting to be filled with technology like the Motorola laptop dock, which allows a smartphone to be the brains of a laptop screen and keyboard. But as far as a computer that fits into your pocket, we are already there.
The next step up from pocket computers is a portable, handheld computer: the tablet. It all started with Apple's iPad and when it first came out, most didn't know what to make of it. Claims that the iPad is just a giant iPod Touch have been blown out of the water and the competition is now trying to catch up on the tablet phenomenon. The tablet is all about connecting the mobility of a smartphone along with its ease of accessing the internet with the functionality of a PC. Will the tablet replace the laptop? We'll have to wait and see.
The more powerful computers are on our desks and these will probably change, too. Technology is becoming more social. With this collaborative mindset, HP has embarked on some really exciting research of redesigning the desk PC. Instead of a desk computer having a single mouse and keyboard, which only allows for one person to be in control, HP incorporates touch into their new screen. Even more innovative are the various angles at which this computer can function. It can be upright, or it can be at a 60 degree angle. This computer was made to be hands on, and I say death to the mouse and keyboard! As far as a computer on the wall that replaces the whiteboard, I have to reference back on my earlier musings about touch technology and flexible, large computer screens. While we wait on the new whiteboard, super geeks have already figured out how to make a tablet into an extra portable screen for your computer.
The snag right now with multiple computers is having them all connect. Apple is at the forefront in this endeavor, but other platform systems are competing for domination. The consensus will come, as it always does. How long the consensus will take…that's very hard to say.
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