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The PC form factor: "Lots of legacy attached."

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#1 Dot Matrix

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 15:08

I was reading an article the other day on ZDnet from write Arian Kingsley-Hughes, pertaining to the "post-PC" PC in 2025. In it he gives his predictions on what the "desktop" will look like in that year. Before he gets to his prediction, he makes a remark on the current state of affairs, calling the desktop largely "legacy". He writes:
 
"The problem as I see it isn't that people haven't fallen out of love with the PC, but instead they've fallen out of love with the PC form factor. While most users haven't figured it out yet, the fragmentation - of data, user interface, and user experience - that shifting out attention between desktops, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones has caused the primary reason why people are turning their backs on the PC.
 
The PC is a device that comes with decades of legacy attached, ranging from the way it looks and works, to the way we interact with it."
 
I couldn't agree with this statement more. The desktop and the OS it runs is nearly 20 years old, and has remained relatively the same. What has changed is our work habits, however, and further escalating the legacy status of the PC is the uptick in mobility, creating quite a disconnect with users when their mobile workflow is destroyed as soon as they sit down at a PC.

Users, especially younger users, are learning to use tablets and smartphones, like we learned to use desktop systems when we were their age. They no longer line up to travel to the computer lab, and click open a word processor. They're handed a tablet in the classroom, and are give access to a wide range of dynamic and interactive educational applications. These devices form the center of their digital lives like Packard Bell, and AOL formed the center of ours. These users are expecting the desktop to work the same, and are upset when they find out it doesn't.

I could go on, but you get the gist of what is being said here. So here's the question: Do you agree? Is the desktop as we know it, a legacy device? Can this image be reversed? Or is the desktop as we know it doomed to collapse as younger users grow older, and bring their habits into the world?

Source: www.zdnet.com/what-the-post-pc-pc-of-2025-will-be-like-7000026459/


#2 +riahc3

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 15:10

Hello,

The same has been said about the mouse and keyboard. There are things that will never die.

#3 OP Dot Matrix

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 15:15

The keyboard will never die, but the mouse - I wouldn't be so sure. Take a look at it, it dates back to the early 80's, and it precursors date back to the late 1940s. It is a device that was created for earlier generations of computing, and is quickly becoming cumbersome to use, as users are working with large quantities of data. Your multimonitor work station is held back by the fact that your cursor can only be in one spot at any given time. As a plotter, it works great, but working with data, it quickly becomes cumbersome.

Just put it this way, I'm away for this weekend, and I haven't once used use a mouse while doing my work.

#4 +dsbig

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 15:18

I hate touch based keyboards screens. too many mistakes by accidentally bumping letters.

 

 

I can even say I can see future space crafts flying around space still using keyboards for screens.

 

 

tablet are good for doing things on the fly. but when it comes to hard work and less errors. you need that legacy stuff 

 

 

oh cant do multimonitor workstation with tablets.

 

 

and I havent found a tablet that can keep up with my multitasking.



#5 PGHammer

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 15:38

I hate touch based keyboards screens. too many mistakes by accidentally bumping letters.

 

 

I can even say I can see future space crafts flying around space still using keyboards for screens.

 

 

tablet are good for doing things on the fly. but when it comes to hard work and less errors. you need that legacy stuff 

 

 

oh cant do multimonitor workstation with tablets.

 

 

and I havent found a tablet that can keep up with my multitasking.

Multi-monitor is a niche usage - even with desktop formfactors.  The cost is decreasing; however, for reasons outside of the cost of the displays themselves, it will never become the default.

While multitasking is increasing, how many applications (not OSes) really are designed for use in a multitasking environment, let alone a multitask-designed OS?  Not only are most games designed to be either the primary task, if not the only task, that is running (I'm referring to Windows games), the same is STILL true of most applications.  While even Office applications have gotten better, even they still have a way to go.

 

Even more telling is that most USERS are still thinking in terms of One Major Application - typically used in isolation (it is the only application running) - pish and tosh on background applications.

 

As far as desktop-formfactor users go, despite Vista, and even despite 7, how users actually use their hardware and applications is still largely in the XP mindset - and that is despite how poorly XP supported multitasking, compared even to Vista, let alone 7.

 

You can have 8 GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7-4770K - however, if your usage is more like someone with an Intel Core 2 E6300 with 2 GB of RAM, then you plain and simply are underutilizing your hardware.



#6 +dsbig

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 15:45

if it wasnt for desktops. there would not be tablets. 

 

 

just saying from a developer stand point.



#7 OP Dot Matrix

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 15:48

I hate touch based keyboards screens. too many mistakes by accidentally bumping letters.


I can even say I can see future space crafts flying around space still using keyboards for screens.


tablet are good for doing things on the fly. but when it comes to hard work and less errors. you need that legacy stuff


oh cant do multimonitor workstation with tablets.


and I havent found a tablet that can keep up with my multitasking.


This isn't about touch vs non touch, this is more about more about blended workflows, in the article, the author explains that he sees mobile devices driving future desktop systems - they merely become docks for them.

#8 Stokkolm

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 16:08

This isn't about touch vs non touch, this is more about more about blended workflows, in the article, the author explains that he sees mobile devices driving future desktop systems - they merely become docks for them.

 

That doesn't really change the legacy aspects of the desktop. You may or may not use a monitor in this case, but if you're docking you're doing it for a reason. That reason is because you want to have the precision for work that can only be achieved with a mouse and keyboard. It seems telling though, if users are docking their tablets to use as a desktop then more likely than not Windows is the OS on that tablet. 



#9 OP Dot Matrix

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 16:21

The "precision" of the mouse is a lie. Many desktop operations can be switched with quick gestures, making many buttons that need pressed obsolete. Unless you're plotting points, that precision isn't really needed in day to day operations.

#10 Stokkolm

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 16:31

I would say I need plotting precision on a daily basis. In photoshop, gaming, etc...

 

I agree that the mouse will be used less and less for daily use, but I don't think it will ever go away completely. At least not in the current state of desktop operating systems.



#11 +Chris123NT

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 16:32

The "precision" of the mouse is a lie. Many desktop operations can be switched with quick gestures, making many buttons that need pressed obsolete. Unless you're plotting points, that precision isn't really needed in day to day operations.

Ok, so how would gaming work in this new world?  Picture a desktop PC with dual touchscreen displays, a keyboard for text input but no mouse.  How do you aim in an FPS for example?  dragging your finger across a screen for gaming on a desktop just seems impractical to me.  The mouse, just like the keyboard, will have its uses for quite some time yet.



#12 NightScreams

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 16:37

The keyboard will never die, but the mouse - I wouldn't be so sure. Take a look at it, it dates back to the early 80's, and it precursors date back to the late 1940s. It is a device that was created for earlier generations of computing, and is quickly becoming cumbersome to use, as users are working with large quantities of data. Your multimonitor work station is held back by the fact that your cursor can only be in one spot at any given time. As a plotter, it works great, but working with data, it quickly becomes cumbersome.

Just put it this way, I'm away for this weekend, and I haven't once used use a mouse while doing my work.

 

I use gestures a lot on my MB Pro. Haven't touched a mouse since I got it. I use a few KB shortcuts but I can see a future where voice commands would be dominate as well as hand gestures of some sort. We can already see it's primitive use in games as it is like the kinect.

My 4 yr old step granddaughter literally amazes me to watch her work with tablets and such, it's almost like she instinctively knows how to do some things I would figure are somewhat complicated that many adults can't seem to adjust to....by that I mean some of these UI's like Windows 8. She could pick up W8 and power it off within the OS without me saying anything and yet I had to sit there and figure it out and most people had to ask where the heck is the power menu? lol



#13 hagjohn

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 16:49

Ok, so how would gaming work in this new world?  Picture a desktop PC with dual touchscreen displays, a keyboard for text input but no mouse.  How do you aim in an FPS for example?  dragging your finger across a screen for gaming on a desktop just seems impractical to me.  The mouse, just like the keyboard, will have its uses for quite some time yet.

 

Some type of optical device, I would imagine. Your eye movement would aim your gun.



#14 mastercoms

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 16:50

There will always be a niche market for desktop, keyboard, and mouse because of the performance and precision provided, however, performance in desktops may be matched to performance in mobile form factors in the future, even then, there will still be an even smaller market that enjoys the precision of the mouse and keyboard.

 

But even more into the future, the mouse and keyboard could be replaced by eye tracking, speech recognition, and mind input.



#15 Anibal P

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 16:57

Any real or serious work, and gaming will always be better off with a keyboard and mouse, that's not going to change any time soon

 

And gestures cannot replace the real accuracy of a mouse in many situations, maybe fine for youtube and facebook, but anything else the mouse is still the more accurate option, there's a reason we still have them despite many attempts at replacing them, the alternatives are no where close to replacing them