The Death of the Personal Computer
Computers from the basement: 1990-2000 (+ cat) by Aram Bartholl [datenform.de]
For the last few years, we've been hearing about the decline of the PC, and even more recently, the complete "death" of the laptop. In reality though, this has been a long time coming.
The bottom didn't fall out of the PC and laptop market, it just levelled off to where it was always meant to be. No one wants a keyboard, not the home user at least. Look how personal computers were advertised back in the early days: "You can type up your résumé", "do your own accounts", "write that block buster novel you've always dreamed about". Rubbish, the general public never wanted to do any of this. What they want is to be entertained by their machine. Films, games, pornography...
And so the consumption devices appeared: The keyboard-less tablets, the "smart" TVs, the resurgence in console gaming. These non-pc solutions also get a cynical push from the industry. When a person buys a computer, it usually sits there for a few years, doing everything. If things get a bit slow the person brings it to a repair man who puts more ram in and it stays going for a little longer. This is a terrible business model. The PC had to die. What was needed instead were individual machines for individual tasks. Get the people to buy more to do the same. A box for gaming, a box for TV, a box for reading, a box for the internet. All of which can't be upgraded without buying an entire new machine.
I'm sure in years to come, the PC will make some sort of a comeback, perhaps in a different form, when all the engineered buzztalk will revolve around the word "convergence" and how you need to "consolidate" your devices. Already there is speculation that the iPad is killing off the Amazon Kindle e-reader, as people only want to carry one device "that does everything." The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Posted at 16:50