Goodbye personal computer, hello personal cloud? I don’t think so! (see my added and updated comments and a good read at Benjamin Robbins blog)
I just read that ridiculous headline which is, sadly, indicative of half of what is being written by people who don’t really seem to be thinking things through… it aligns well with others I read, ranging from “tablets already destroying the market for desktop PCs” all the way through to “cloud sounding the death knell for IT managed service businesses”.
I am a long term career techie involved in IT and communications since the late 70s, not to mention a lover of intelligent (and cool) gadgets. Full disclosure time: two years ago I was using a Blackberry and a battery-sucking lap-burning Windows notebook; a year later I moved to Android phone (and have *never* looked back, now using a Samsung Galaxy Note)… this past January I replaced the notebook with an Asus Transformer Prime tablet for all mobile use and a (touch screen) Windows desktop. The tablet tethers with the note but I also use a mifi device and essentially have the best of all possible worlds…
… and so my setup works for me, based on the nature of the work that I do. The same kit that I have, had it been available two years ago, would not have been suitable for the nature of the work that I was doing then (and so my type of configuration might sound good but look at your needs closely before you make a leap: my decision was six months in the making).
… unless I want to do serious computing on the tablet. Now, don’t get me wrong, it does what I want it to do. I can create or view Word, Excel and Powerpoint, as well as PDFs. I can pretty much do anything that I could do on my laptop.
… just not quite as well. You see, multi-tasking works (well, it does in the Android world: we won’t discuss that Steve didn’t think people needed to multitask) but whereas Windows is architected to use a high speed Intel processor and chip set architected for multi-tasking, Android manages it on a much simpler scale. And all of this is working, mostly, with local date retrieved from the network and, as such, implies connectivity which of course implies cost. To the consumer. That would be you and I.
It also implies processing power. Which means power consumption and heat. Which sounds more like a laptop than a tablet, the only real difference being the interface, all of which is changing and can continue to change forever, as it has forever: that is why we call it software.
Not to mention the software: yes, I can do what I said I can do, but without several levels of undo, for example and a subset of another 7 or 8 similarly-useful features of the 100s offered from the Office suite… but they are critical features for a professional like myself who makes a living using this stuff. And which is why I have a full fledged desktop PC for serious work… I am writing on it at the moment!
Combine all of the above with the consumer angle: are you really expecting buyers who clamour for the newest, fastest and best that they can get their hands on to, for example, perform HD video editing on a touch screen slab of glass?
“Goodbye personal computer, hello personal cloud” implies no PCs and everything in the cloud… but not quite.
Tablets augment desktops for consumption: reading and viewing documents and media
Tablets, like smart phones enable other, stunning business and personal solutions to be delivered, most typically
High speed processing, amounts of cheap storage, up-close large screen displays and the consumer demand for resource-hungry applications and speed of access to or performance of those applications and their access to data
Local processing and local storage will not disappear – well, not for a little while, yet. (and please, please remember: it isn’t really a cloud… it is physically located in a data centre, somewhere, consuming huge amounts of electrical power to operate and to cool, and secure, and manage and monitor and maintain and.. and.. and..)