Death of the Desktop

The death of the desktop approacheth.

This was my thought the other day as I watched one of my kids on his cell phone. For hours, it seemed, he checked mail, posted to Facebook, read some blogs, and checked the weather. He didn’t need a large 24 inch monitor with a quad-core gazillion interlaced mute-module graphics chip. He has an Android phone, and it met his needs for info and online socializing.

My son’s smart phone use reflects the growing trend in the on-going shift to hand-held computing.

The mobile trend is so pervasive that except for those who produce a lot of media, a lightweight laptop, a phone, and maybe a tablet will be all you have. My 8 year-old desktop, while still useful, is being overshadowed by my laptop. The laptop is always handy and quite a bit faster. And since I can stream from my laptop or mobile device to our TV, I’ll always be able to share pictures, movies, presentations on the TV instead of asking everyone to crowd around the computer and straining their necks.

While a few coworkers refuse to pay the high data fees to have an iPhone, and so rely on “dumb phones” – even a pager! – I suspect they are in the minority. A friend who is CFO of a large non-profit doesn’t have a desktop – he only uses an iPad at work. Even at home, my wife does a lot of work on her tablet, relying more on that than the iMac. Goodness, even my parents, in their 80s, are going mobile. That’s gotta mean something!

JPF Sitting in CharlotteAccording to BI Intelligence some key growth markets for mobile computing include the following (and check out their graphic showing the way people typically use their smart phones and tablets here):

  • Commerce
  • Advertising
  • Apps
  • Payments And Banking
  • Health

Mobile payments and banking provide the biggest gains in on-the-go computing. Apple Pay is the big driver, making point-of-purchase payments accessible to the masses. Apps will help, as well, as we rely more on our phone than our desktop for updates on our account balances (so we can buy more stuff with our phones). Health and fitness trackers (and similarly equipped watches) will certainly blossom in the coming months, as well. None of these conveniences require a box on your desk. They all work quite well with your phone or tablet. And you like that.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think desktops are going to be a thing of the past in a few years. If you didn’t buy one for Christmas, or sometime in the past year, my guess is that you won’t be getting a new one anytime soon.

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