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A post-PC world? Hold the phone.

It is steadily becoming a mobile computing world. In fact, the World Bank says that, by the end of 2012, there may be more mobile devices in use than people on this planet.

Of course, the World Bank’s analysts, like most of us, are running on the assumption that Dec. 21 won’t be the end of the world because of the Mayan calendar thing. But in any case, that is a lot of smart phones and tablets in circulation. Government agencies are going with that expectation, developing a slew of mobile applications and opening up their data stores for other developers to come up with more.

And with smart phones and tablets becoming better at performing the functions traditionally done by desktop computers, some people are making the bold declaration that we are now, or will soon be, living in a “post-PC world.”

True, mobile devices have replaced traditional desktop PCs for many tasks, and people are finding more ways to use their tablets and smart phones than ever before. But there are certain tasks that I foresee needing a desktop for quite some time to come.

Computer-aided design for one (and video and online games for another, although we’re sure nobody ever plays them at work, right?). Government agencies also are moving toward big data and analytics to put their large data sets to work, and it’s hard to imaging using those kinds of apps on a smart phone. For the time being, at least, a powerful PC is the best platform for graphics and processing power, and there are definitely uses out there that require this power --  a lot of them in government.

Personally, I’d be more worried if I were a traditional laptop PC, especially the smaller ones. As touch screen technology becomes cheaper, and low-power processors achieve better performance, eventually the tablet will replace all but the largest and most powerful notebooks. It already did so with the classic tablet and convertible tablet form factors.

Mobile computing clearly is headed toward smart-phone and tablet use, but back in government offices, the PC will have a home for some time to come.

Posted by Greg Crowe on Sep 24, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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