Hardware

Confusing, frustrating, user-unfriendly: Why the PC sowed the seeds of its own demise

The PC is a relic of the bygone age...

...wasting half a day doing something that I presumed could be completed in a matter of minutes.

The PC is a relic of the bygone age, like the stuffy waiter in a restaurant who treated the average customer with surly contempt and sneered at how they held the soup spoon.

The problem for the PC is that it's no longer than only game in town - tablet and smartphone OSes have arrived, offering a computing experience delivered in easily digestible apps and one that, more importantly, does exactly what is asked of it by users.

This is why tablet sales continue to explode - people want a machine that doesn't throw unintelligible curveballs into their path every time they want to watch a movie trailer.

The prospect of PC sales being smothered by the burgeoning smartphone and tablet market has prompted some commentators to decry the move from open, versatile platforms like Windows and Linux, where the user can tweak settings and install what software they want, to closed systems like the iOS where Apple tightly controls the user experience down to the very nature of the apps that can be installed.

Unfortunately, for most people, using a PC isn't an empowering experience of tapping into an open and versatile machine: the PC is an open and versatile system if you know what you're doing but, more than 30 years after its birth, the full potential of the PC remains inaccessible to all but the command line enthusiasts of the geek hardcore.

By swapping PCs for smartphones and tablets, the average computer user is not losing anything - only gaining control of computing for the first time in their life. For the average user the move from PC to smartphone or a tablet is a winning one.

The PC has remained aloof from the common man for too long and now it is paying the price.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think by posting a reader comment below

About

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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