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August 13, 2012

The End of Desktop Computers?

By Robbie Pleasant, TMCnet Contributor

As I write this article, I’m sitting at my desk. It’s not in an office, though, and it’s not on a desktop computer. I don’t even have to be sitting at this desk, but I chose to at the moment; I could just as easily be writing this on a couch, or in a coffee shop somewhere, or in the middle of nowhere (assuming my batteries don’t run dry).

Most of us can do this because we have laptops, smartphones and tablets; these snazzy little devices have nearly all the power of a desktop computer, while remaining portable and light. As such, research from VAR Intrinsic Technology suggests desktop computing will soon be a thing of the past, and desktop computers will go obsolete.

After surveying CIOs, Intrinsic Technology has found that many of them see desktop computers are nearing obsolescence. Around 40 percent believe that within five years, desktop computers will be unnecessary, replaced by BYOD policies, while even more feel that it will happen sooner or later, although probably not as soon as five years.

But mobile security remains an issue, which can and will continue to cause problems for BYOD. Once all devices are secure and working at the same high levels as desktop computers, though, all bets are off.

“BYOD introduces multiple devices and operating systems into the office, making for a complex IT landscape,” says Adam Jarvis, Intrinsic’s chief executive. “This may be one reason why IT managers are dissatisfied with their security policies. Methods of management therefore have to change. It’s only going to become more difficult to maintain a secure multifaceted infrastructure, so outsourcing IT management to firms that can prioritize security is an increasingly attractive proposition for businesses.”

There is no denying that mobile devices are becoming more desirable to employees. Working with a device one’s already familiar and comfortable with is preferable to a company-issued computer, and being able to work while on the go from those devices makes work and time management a much less trying task.

There are issues with security and privacy for mobile devices, which many companies are working to address, but there’s still work to be done before every device is completely secure.

As such, desktop computing continues.

Of course, this is just in regard to businesses. While laptops and mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular for the average computer user, there are still plenty of needs that only desktop computers have the power to fill. Computer labs in libraries, schools and so on still use desktop computers, and many PC gamers find that desktops provide the computing power and graphics that laptops still lack. Not to mention the need or desire for large screens will ensure that desktops still have a market – even if it’s not among businesses.

Desktop computers may be on their way out, but there’s still a long way to go.


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Edited by Braden Becker
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