Last January I traveled to Las Vegas to attend CES, as part of my work at Kiddix. I found the event to be an exciting and exhausting 36 hours (a flight and one night in the Circus Circus was all my shoestring startup budget could afford). I had hoped to return again for the 2011 CES, but other obligations kept me away this year. Fortunately for me there weren't many earth shattering announcements -- but as expected, almost every hardware manufacturer, OEM, and ODM had a row of Android or vanilla Linux tablets to demo.
As non-earth-shattering as yet-another-tablet might seem, it shows in big spotlights the trend away from Microsoft-based computing. CNET had a great CES wrap up article titled At CES, Android's rise, Windows' demise, which paints a good picture of what is an industry transition building for many years.
In the early 2000's Linux made huge in roads in the server market. In 2010 Linux became the de facto OS for mobile devices thanks to Google and Android. These successes for Linux are tremendous, but for individuals like me, we want more. The fabled prize in the sky has always been capturing the mind share of desktop computing away from Microsoft Windows.
There have been many attempts to unseat Windows over the years, from Lindows copying the Windows interface, to Ubuntu now changing the way desktop Linux is presented. (For the record, I think Ubuntu and the Unity interface has nowhere to go but up!) Despite these efforts (and many others), tackling the problem of displacing Windows head on has been a challenge, to say the least.
Fortunately, there is a new and better way to win the desktop OS war -- kill the desktop, so it can be reborn.
As cool as tablets are, there is (currently) no more simple user input device for computers than a full keyboard. Keyboards are easy to use, and more importantly, are efficient for data entry. It's also nice to have a decently sized screen to compute with. What needs to disappear are the large hunks of beige metal that people keep under their desks, or ever worse the dreaded 14 lb. desktop replacement laptop. (It's the authors personal opinion that anyone who purchases a desktop replacement laptop has no idea what they are doing, and has a knack for making poor excuses surrounding their bad purchasing decision.)
The thing is, for the foreseeable future, we still need desktop computers, but we don't need the garbage currently served up by Dell-Microsoft (HP, Lenovo, etc. are not exempt here). I'm looking toward a future where our smartphones and/or a tablet we keep in our bag, automatically interfaces with dumb terminals (little more than a full size keyboard and monitor) at our work and home.
This future can be implemented with today's technologies, but it will still take several more years to transform consumer's (and businesses -- ugh) expectations for computers. 2011 is already off to a great start with products like the Motorola Xoom, which is taking personal computing to another level with the Android Honeycomb OS. I can't wait to see what 2012 brings!
Posted: Jan 12, 2011
Keyword tags: linuxdesktop linuxandroidtabletssmartphoneOS warfuture