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The home PC will be extinct within 5 years

By cs ·
Having tried out some of these new web based office tools, such as the Google ones and Webex Office I am pretty sure that within the next 5 years people will stop buying PC's and buying software to install on those PC's and then subsequently worrying about patches and upgrades.

People will pay about $25 a month to subscribe to a remote service that will take care of word processing, spreadsheet, accounts, photo applications, music etc. That will be delivered on demand over a 40 MB internet link.

The PC will be replaced by a small slab about the size of a VCR cartridge. This will contain a local processor and a small disk for temporay local storage. It will consume about 5 watts in operation and have a 10 second start up time from cold. The Wyse thin client boxes already approach this type of thing. There will still be local LCD (or equivalent) screen and a full sized key board, though voice recognition will increase.

The operating system will be irrelevant on the local Personal Unit (PU) either Microsoft or LINUX. The PU will be virus prooof with the local operating system held on a read only card. Complex functionality will come from the central service provider.

Forget about login and account passwords, this will be dealt with by a combination of finger print scan and a SIM sized smart card. Your mobile phone will connect via your house Wireless Router, but also link into your PU for Skype type of phone calls.

The bad news for Microsoft (unless they change) is that public will no longer have the continual round of having to upgrade software (& PC) every three years.

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by CG IT In reply to The home PC will be extin ...

Public perception of the internet is that it's an insecure place. People are also control freaks at heart.

They might post their pictures, videos, blogs, and use email, but when it comes down to word processing, spreadsheets, and the lot, their not going to store oneline where someone could get to it.

Companies on the other hand might consider using online resources as a way to cut down on costs but again, there is the security feature. If all your stuff is stored online, where's the control of it?

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Insecurity of the internet is one of the reasons

by cs In reply to Naw

A lot of the perceived insecurity is actually due to the current home PC itself because Joe Soap Public doesn't know how to secure their own PC's. If they are offered a service which gives security of their data and takes away the danger of losing 2-3 year's data when their PC disk becomes corrupted they will snap it up.

Two factor user authentication and network encryption from the PU to the Service provider can deal with any insecurity of the net itself.

The data stored on line can be stored encrypted (at the point of transmission) with your own personal key so it will be protected from prying eyes. Data Centre style backup of your data is a whole lot more secure than relying on a hard disk in a PC. Consumer hard disks are generally good for an average of 3 years before they go seriously wrong and loose your data. Just how many people do you know who systematically back up their home PC's on a regular basis?

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I can see a lot of the home market being taken

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Insecurity of the interne ...

out by appliances. People like ourselves will probably stick with our own stuff, may all end up on linux.
Businesses though a different story. Here you are talking about giving business critical data and functionality to a third party. It will all depend on how dependant your business is on it.
Store all your data with company X, then they ring you up and say we forgot to back it up, or we appear to have left a backup in public and it's gone missing. encryption ?
Or the absolute classic, a slight error in the code and someone else can view and change your data.
From a technology point of view we've been capable of this for years, hasn't took off yet though.

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Business might, small business maybe home users??

by CG IT In reply to I can see a lot of the ho ...

Marketing people will try to sell it to the general public as a cost saver and data saver. Most home users don't back up so online stuff has it's benefits. In the same token consumers aren't a gullible as some marketing people think. All it will take is some consumer having all their documents inadvertently go public and the press will have a field day. Mass exodus. Big Brother is in everyone's mind even if its not vocally said.

I still see components in the home. A TV here, a DVD player there, computer for the web over there. Like all-in-one printers, it's a great idea but often doesn't work the way it should.

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Well there you are a poor chump of a home user

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Business might, small bus ...

Just shelled out more than the cost of your PC for some office software so little jimmy can do his school project, or you rent time on a per document basis off a server.
At that point it simply becomes how many documents do you produce. vs the cost of the application software and upgrades.

Similar for a small business, they'll do more documents but that have the cost of maintaining an infra-structure.
If you already need that infrastructure though for business specific applications, then you might as well provide the facility in house, which of course has some other outstanding benefits.
I suppose Acme corp could rent computing power, but I can't see that being cost effective, even a bean counter would jib at that after a risk assessment.

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How much are you prepared to pay?

by cs In reply to Well there you are a poor ...

The price of the service would be pitched at what the average punter is prepared to pay each month. When you work out the average annual cost of running a PC with it's software it is actually quite a surprisingly high figure.

Provided that a Service Provider sets a "golden spot" monthly pricing many of the average punters will leap at the chance of avoiding the continual niggle of having maintain a PC, even if that cost is a few dollars more per month than running your own PC.

The monthly pricing will have little to do with the actual cost. Large corporations will be prepared to invest massively to capture this enormous market.

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Oh there's definitley a market

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to How much are you prepared ...

and for certain niches one that will benefit the customer.

Me personally I'd pay nothing.

I use Open Office.

The firm I work for would do it just after the company cat skated through ****.

A decison to go down this route is no different to outsourcing your infrastructure, in fact that's what it is. Backing out of it is going to cost big style, once you are entirely dependant on the third party to run your business, that's going to cost too.

Never pay some one to hold on to your nuts, you are always going to want them back at some point.

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Perhaps the Mobile Phone suggests a solution..

by ashine In reply to How much are you prepared ...

It pretty common to get a free handset when you take out a mobile phone contract with a monthly charge. Some of these handsets are worth 100's of pounds (even more dollars!).

These PU's could have similar manufacturing costs to the phones so could be provided 'free' with your software subscription.

Would the average Joe go out and buy a PC when they can get pretty much the same functionality at minimal cost?

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Security and Availability

by gsquared In reply to Insecurity of the interne ...

The problem with this idea is: What happens to your personal data if you can't afford to pay the subscription costs to your storage host?

Here's a scenario: You pay $25/month for an online service, probably from Google, Yahoo or Windows Live, that allows you to store your spreadsheets, financial documents, e-mails, photos, etc., online.

You lose your job, your credit cards all max out/cancel, and you can no longer afford your $25/month. Your subscription lapses. Six months later, you need to declare bankruptcy, but relevant information is stored online where you can no longer access it because your subscription has lapsed.

Will you be able to sue the company you got the service from to turn the subscription back on? Will you be able to afford such a lawsuit?

Remember, you don't have an actual computer, and the data is probably stored in a semi/fully proprietary format, so you can't just download it and open it locally.

This, of course, isn't any worse than having a hard drive crash and losing data that was never backed up, but backing up your data is something that anyone can choose to do, while the subscription service thing doesn't give you such a choice in case of subscription lapse.

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Good Point

by w2ktechman In reply to Security and Availability

I hadnt even thought of a subscription lapse.

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