Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Random Thoughts: Post PC?

So, in the last post, I mentioned the Shield, and that got me thinking again so it is time for MORE Random Thoughts! This is what happens when you cut grass all day. It makes your mind wander, so I figure I could keep this going for a while, and it’s a great excuse to use my Type Cover 2 more!

I want to talk a bit about "Single Use Devices", or SUDs. Ok, so maybe that isn't a real term, but I mean things like eReaders and such. There is something else that Engadget recently posted as well, which ties in with this for me. The post, http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/26/short-story-of-the-post-pc-era/ talks about the "Post PC" era.

I am going to nitpick this article and say what I feel should be posted instead of this. Sorry but this has to be done for the sake of anyone who actually knows what is going on. Engadget was wrong, and this how I feel. Let start shall we?

"First, there was the iPod. Then came the iPhone. And finally, the poster child of the "post-PC" era: the iPad."

Okay, how is an MP3 player, or even the iPhone or iPad that REQUIRE the use of a PC to function? Now, unless something has changed, they all need to be connected to iTunes to be activated. This means you can't just take it out of the box and play with it. Like I said, unless something has changed, this is as far as I know.

"What wasn't necessarily obvious when Steve Jobs helped popularize the term in 2007, is that eventually the barriers between all of these specialized, single-purpose gadgets -- the PC included -- would break down. The stalwart personal computer would still have a role to play in this world, but it would be greatly diminished."

Ok, first part of this, I don't see these single purpose gadgets really breaking down. Since 2007, not much has really changed in my opinion. We still have things like the Kindle that remain popular, which is only good for reading books. How about dedicated cameras such as a DSLR? You don't see journalists using an iPhone to take pictures at a press conference.

The second part is more of what is really annoying me. What do they mean greatly diminished? We still need desktops and laptops to do serious work since tablets are not meant for this. Sure, I have Office Suite Pro 7 installed on my Nexus 7, but it is hardly a replacement for a real office suite as it lacks many basic features I would like to have. For example, being able to set the default page, paragraph, and other formatting settings for every document. You need to set these all manually if they differ from what they have default such as line spacing. I won't even bother to get into things like editing photos and videos, or anything like that.

Ok, onto the next slide…

"At the time, the notion of a world powered by portable, single-task devices seemed very, very far away. Palm Pilots and brick-shaped Nokia cellphones were then considered to be cutting edge. There were no smartphones -- a BlackBerry in 1999 was simply a two-way pager. "

Oh man where do I start with this one! For one, the Palm Pilot was never meant to REPLACE your computer, it was meant to be an ACCESSORY… Did they even check anything when they typed that? I mean seriously, the whole point of the Pilot was that it connected to your computer to sync over the information.

"Long before Apple, Samsung or ASUS actually made successful tablets that broke through to the mainstream, HP was experimenting with the now familiar form factor. The company's TC1100 (pictured here) was a simple slate with a detachable keyboard. In 2003, it was a unique, if slightly awkward design. "

Ok, now there is only one thing to say here: That is a PC…

"These days Tim Cook relies on a very similar setup (i.e., an iPad with keyboard) to run Apple nearly every day."

I guess it is a lot easier when you run a company that makes the hardware and software since they ca make you custom software. I can do most of what I need to do for this blog on my Nexus 7, it doesn't mean I am going to though!

"It was the iPod that heralded the coming of the post-PC era. It was the first of many single-task devices that redefined what we expect from our gadgets. But its glory was shortlived as, soon enough, Apple began folding its functionality into the smartphone. And thus, the era of convergence got under way."

What? The iPod needed a PC to load music onto it… Hardly POST PC there…

"When people talk about the post-PC era, generally their timeline starts with the iPhone. Apple marketed it as the first smartphone to put the full power of the internet in your pocket. Before its debut, browsing the internet on a phone was an impractical and painful experience. In just a few short years, however, and in no small part thanks to Apple, it would become the backbone of the mobile computing experience."

Once again it needed to be HOOKED UP TO A PC to function at all when you first got it. The early ones didn't even have software, it wasn't a smartphone but a feature phone. Plus, how is having the internet Post PC? I need more than just the internet since I use my Surface for pretty much everything.

"Of course others, including Microsoft and Samsung, saw the coming mobile revolution. Samsung's Q1 was an early (and misguided) attempt to build a small computer with a touchscreen for staying productive on the go. The company's key mistake here was the focus on productivity and not media consumption. Successful tablets that came after focused more on media and casual web browsing."

Again, that IS a PC. Plus, focusing on productivity was more important at the time, and for me, it still is…

"For years now, PC shipments have been in a free fall. Obviously, the market for traditional computers has changed -- it would be silly to deny such a thing. Big PC makers like Dell and HP see that truth reflected in their bottom lines, all the while Apple continues to reap the benefits. But that doesn't mean that the personal computer is dead or has been altogether replaced by some dramatically different gadget. What’s happening instead, is that the distinction between PC and post-PC devices is blurring; consumers are finding room in their lives for PCs, as well as tablets and smartphones."

Yeah, even tablet sales are slowing down as well… Can it be that newer hardware just isn't that much of an upgrade anymore?

"Laptops and desktops are borrowing inspiration from their tablet brethren. Many Windows machines now feature touchscreens, but more importantly even our more stationary computers a being built around the cloud. Windows 8 (which runs on desktops and tablets) and OS X have a heavy focus on web services. And, of course, there's Google's Chrome OS -- a new type of desktop operating system designed for a time when constant internet connectivity is an everyday reality."

Again, this is PC stuff. If it runs Chrome OS, or Windows, it is still a PC. Also, what does the cloud have to do with Post PC?

"The feature gap between a laptop and tablet has eroded dramatically. A device like the iPad is now so powerful and its productivity tools so robust that Tim Cook says he does 80 percent of his work from one. But that would not have been possible just four years ago, before iOS finally added multitasking (albeit in a limited form). See, what on the surface sounds like anecdotal evidence that the PC is dying, is really proof that the tablet is becoming more PC-like. And while Cook thinks everyone should start ditching their laptop for an iPad, it will probably never happen. Because it's not horsepower that's driving tablet sales, it's price."

Oh this is a fun one! Tablets are getting more powerful hardware wise, but what about the software? I find for most things, my Nexus 7 just isn't cut out for work. I said before I feel the "productivity" of tablets is very limited for Android or even iOS.

"As Stephen Baker, an analyst with NPD, points out, the real boom in the tablet market happened during the holiday season of 2012. Why that year? Well, that's when the race to the bottom kicked off in earnest with the debut of the iPad mini, Google's Nexus 7 and the follow up to the Amazon Fire. The latter of which started at a price of $160 -- a far cry from the $500 of Apple's larger slate. The message here is clear: As tablets have become cheaper, they've proliferated, killing off the netbook and the idea of the second PC."

Uh, DUH? People like cheaper things? Why spend money on a laptop with a tablet is so cheap?

"It's no surprise that the netbook was the first real victim of the post-PC boom. These small, under-powered machines weren't very useful for anything beyond casual web browsing. But, thanks to the advent of high resolution multitouch screens, it's now much more comfortable to kick back on the couch with an iPad and catch up on your Buzzfeed lists than it is to balance a cramped mini-laptop on your knees."

Yeah in this case a tablet is better suited for this, but calling netbooks weak annoys me. I was able to use one as my main PC for some time, and that meant Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin and iTunes running almost all the time with extras thrown in as needed.

"Over the last year, sales of both tablets and smartphones have slowed dramatically according to NPD, IDC and Gartner. If you ask Stephen Baker, that's because the market is quickly reaching saturation. Thanks to $200 Android tablets and powerful mid-range handsets, nearly everyone who wants a tablet has been able to buy one. Now, sales of iPads are actually declining and PC sales have finally stopped falling."

Ok, yeah this is true. Also for me it is because there are not really much of an upgrade anymore. Most tablets are the same specs, in a different brand. I could get a new Android tablet but what good would it do me?

"Even our most reliable way of distinguishing between PCs and tablets -- form factor -- is disappearing. Devices like Lenovo's aptly-named Yoga are the result of putting laptop design through a blender. The Yoga's strange and surprisingly agile shapes allow it to be used as a tablet, a desktop or even in your lap."

Yes, this is true as well, but what about the fact that these devices existed before even 2007? They have had screens that turned around and folded back down so they could be used as a tablet, all Lenovo did in this case was make a hinge that folded down the other way.

"Microsoft's Surface is perhaps the best example of how our definition of "PC" is still stuck in the last decade. It combines a touchscreen and a touch-friendly UI with a detachable keyboard and its own app store. But it's still more than capable of handling spreadsheets and photo editing. So does that make it a tablet? Is it a laptop? We'd argue that it's both."

Now, as I am writing this on a Surface, I feel I am the authority on this subject so to speak. It is both, it is a TABLET PC. The old term that was coined back in the day before Post PC was a thing. I will say this, the Surface RT is a tablet since it can't run all of the x86 software, but the Pro models are tablet PCs.

"Especially now that Apple's slowly merging OS X's functionality with iOS, it's harder to draw a line between an iPad with a keyboard and a MacBook Air. 12-inch tablets, like the multi-tasking monster that is Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, are becoming common alternatives to 13-inch laptops. By now, it's clear that the original vision of the "post-PC" era simply hasn't come to pass. Instead, manufacturers have set mobile devices and traditional computer on a collision course. Which means that it's time we retire the talking points around the "post-PC" for a buzzword that's way more appropriate: convergence."

This is something I agree with but I have something to say anyway! I have seen the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 and I can say that is pretty large, and the multitasking is neat, but I still don't see Android as taking over any time soon.

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