The Post PC Era? Really?

According to some commentators we’re now living in what they call the ‘Post PC Era’. Apparently, this is because we’re using our mobile phones, and Tablets (if you have one) to consume information and run ‘apps’ on. By saying this it implies that the PC is in decline, while ‘mobile’ which seems to include the Tablet is on the rise, that’s a big claim.

One of those claims is an obvious, more & more people are using their mobiles to browse the web and many are also buying tablets to do the same thing, these technologies are definitely on the rise. But to imply that the PC is in decline is quite frankly silly. Yes, we’re using different devices to browse the web, play games on, read our email and do our work but these devices aren’t great for creating that content or game, and that is why the PC is still as important as ever.

For example, take my Blackberry, there’s no doubt it’s very useful to me. I can keep an eye on incoming email while out of the office, and reply if needed (although it’s a chore even though the Blackberry keyboard is the best out there at the moment). I can also browse the web, run Apps and surprise, surprise use it to ring someone and talk to them (after all that’s what a phone is for isn’t it?). There’s no doubt that this converged device, is extremely useful just as are all the other smart phones, but there is no way I’d write this article on it, it would be too hard and take too long, life is too short.

Shipment figures of new PCs show that 400 million are expected to ship this year, that there are currently over 1.5 billion in use at the moment and this number is set to rise to 2 billion by the end of 2012. That doesn’t sound much like a decline to me.

I think it will be a long time before writing a letter, an article, updating a spreadsheet or doing the accounts is as easy and quick to do on a mobile/tablet as it is to do on a PC. The reason for that is because the keyboard and mouse are very good input devices and after two decades of use we are all used to working with them, not forgetting the fact that a larger screen is also a lot easier to work with.

So is this the ‘Post PC Era’, I don’t think so. A clever sound bite perhaps, which has no doubt garnered whoever coined it some publicity for whatever agenda he/she is following, but those of us in the real world are going to be using our PCs for some time to come as that is the most efficient way to create the content or develop the Apps that others consume on their mobiles!

Posted by Richard Isaac MCTS on Convallis Software Website April 2011