To right the ship, PC OEMs
are coming out with Ultrabooks and other ultrathin and power efficient
computers that seek to bring many of the more popular features of
tablets to something that more closely resembles a traditional PC. Windows 8, which
supports touchscreen and features a tiled "fast and fluid" GUI, can
help with that. But to date, sales of Ultrabooks especially have been
disappointing, largely because the cost of the devices remains too high
(in the $1,000 range).
In its report circulated Tuesday, IHS
poses several key questions for the PC market, including whether
smartphones, tablets and other such gadgets will outsell PCs during the
crucial holiday season.
According to IHS, there are promising
signs that a strong rebound for PCs could occur next year. Though IHS
recently cut its forecast for Ultrabook sales in 2012 and 2013, the firm
said Ultrabooks and other ultrathin computers have the potential to
revive the PC market. The addition of Windows 8 to the mix could prove
potent and irresistible to consumers, IHS said.
The Windows 8 start screen, featuring application tiles.
But neither IHS's analysts, nor the millions of people with a vested interest in keeping the PC thriving, are sure whether new spins on the PC will stand up to
the powerful smartphone and tablet markets.
I used a package called Documents to Go on my old Palm OS PDA to view Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. It was fine for *viewing* and simple edits, but the assumption was the documents would be *created* elsewhere.
Screen size is an issue. The PDA I still have was gotten in part to get a larger screen than the unit it replaces, and do a better job of viewing things like spreadsheets.
Form factor is critical depending upon applications. My cell phone, for example, is the smallest, cheapest feature phone Nokia makes. It has a mono screen and all it does is calls and SMS, which is all I *want* it to do. Web surfing, email, and productivity applications are something else's job.
A tablet might be a decent substitute for a PC, simply because there screen is larger, but I'd want an external keyboard for most of what I do.
BTW, tablets are for consuming content. PCs are for creating content. There will always be more consumers than producers. Until tablets, consumers were forced to use PCs to consume. But the shift is inevitable. More content means more consumers means more content, rinse and repeat...
I am not sure that this readership is representative of the PC / tablet / smartphone debate. I believe that many users can do all they want to do with their smartphone / tablet more convienently than they can irrespective of the operating system. I use windows (xp and xp pro) to create content and find every windows upgrade a pain in the hind end. My wife has stopped using her PC altogether and uses her ipad for all she does. When I use her ipad for reading, I am amazed how much of the screen is available for the task at hand. When I am using xp on my 10" netbook, the screen area for the task at hand is no bigger than a 4x6 card. No wonder we need huge screens with windows.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.