The End Of Desktops?

Is the desktop computer going the way of the typewriter as computing races mobile?

Photo illustration. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Photo illustration. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Web searches, up again last month.  No surprise.  We live and learn through computers.  That’s obvious.  But Web searches on desktop computers last month – down.  For the first time ever, we’re told.  Down four percent.  The explosion of handhelds, tablets, smartphones, “mobile” is roaring.

For decades, the desktop computer was the mainstay, the bedrock, of personal computer use.  Gamers still love it.  Serious users still fear a mobile “lobotomy.”  But in many homes, the desktop is the new dusty typewriter.

This hour, On Point:  will the desktop computer go the way of the dodo.

-Tom Ashbrook


Frank Gillette, vice president of Forrester Research.

Christina Bonnington, staff writer for Wired Digital’s blog “Gadget Lab”.

Hiawatha Bray, tech reporter for the Boston Globe.

From Tom’s Reading List

CBS News “What kind of computer do you expect to have on your desk in eight years? According to IT research company Gartner, it’s likely to be based on Microsoft’s Windows RT platform, which is fundamentally different than the NT-based Windows we know and use today.”

TechCrunch “On the desktop, and on notebooks, a touch screen interface has yet to really become a mainstream staple. There have definitely been attempts to bring touchscreen to desktop displays and all-in-ones in the past; HP’s TouchSmart series pre-dates Windows 8 by a considerable margin, for example. And yet it’s not the dominant model of computing by any means, especially outside of a mobile paradigm, and Windows 8 is unlikely to change that.”

PC World “It’s an intriguing proposition, but don’t count on mobile devices killing off your desktop PC any time soon. While mobile gear is certainly convenient when you’re trying to conduct business on the go, it’s nowhere near as convenient as a desktop when you’re trying to complete serious work in an office environment.”


Hiawatha Bray, tech reporter for the Boston Globe. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Hiawatha Bray, tech reporter for the Boston Globe. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Frank Gillette, vice president of Forrester Research. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Frank Gillette, vice president of Forrester Research. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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