Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Future (of personal computing) is Now.

Over the last few months several companies have been working on different projects which have come together to transform the world of personal computing.  I've always been a fan of the traditional form factor PCs and the power and user upgradable aspects and the first generations of tablets and phones seemed like a fun start but a far cry from the productivity from a true PC.  With the open nature of Android, the processing power available in the new tegra 3 chips and fast speedy mobile networks these portable devices which were once thought of as an addition to a PC have now come into their own as portable PCs.

There are some limits. At this point developers have still not pushed out "real" apps.  For example adobe doesn't offer the creative suite as apps, whether stand alone or complimentary to desktop versions. If your a web developer there are few options to manage large sites.  Now part of this is mitigated by web based environments, but not all.

The other main limitation at this point is in how the end users actually implement the device. Playing angry birds is great but there are powerful ways to utilize these portable PC's which haven't been fully baked.  I now use a transformer prime with an HDMI cord to give ppt presentations, but this is the tip of the iceberg. Companies are going to be able to implement these devices with some novel thought in compelling ways that will affect revenues. (Assuming of course the Mayan apocalypse does not materially change our way of life, although to be honest as a race we could use a bit of growth.)

We will have to see how post Jobs iOS turns out but at this point Android 4 seems posed to lead the transition from "big cell phone" to "small pc" in part because of how open the OS is.  The Asus transformer prime is the first such device that has enough power to challenge nerbooks. The Verizon LTE network is fantastic, offering the ability to execute and stream data from upcoming "personal clouds" or "corporate clouds" to process and crunch data.  New products are on the horizon which allows for gpgpu on such tablets and phones which should greatly improve processing abilities. 

Microsoft I believe sees this opportunity and is making a push to unify the new tablet PC and existing form factors with windows 8.  This is going to drive "real software" to tablets.  Google I believe is in a good position to lead this market but should make an effort to present a unified app market across devices.  This is why a unified app market is more important than a market which sells everything on specific devices.  A unified app market is a game changer and something I believe Microsoft will push for, I believe Google can out execute msft but they need to pivot and look to the future of tablets as computing devices rather than media consumption devices.

 UPDATE:  The PS4 and NVIDIA 780 series have video encoders which allow the remote play of games. 

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