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The Death Of The Personal Computer

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The Death Of The Personal Computer. Long Live The Thin Client! - Well, not quite yet. But among corporate customers, the future is beginning to look promising with ...

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The Death Of The Personal Computer

  1. 1. The Death Of The Personal Computer. Long Live The Thin Client! Well, not quite yet. But among corporate customers, the future is beginning to look promising with thin clients. Throughout the technology industry companies, from garage startups to Google to Microsoft, are bracing for the possibility that their future will be in the hands of these thin skinny little things called thin clients. No they are not the iPhones nor are they the smart phones. They are real desktops that sit on your desk. What exactly is a thin client? As Wikipedia states, “A thin client (sometimes also called a lean or slim client) is a computer or a computer program which depends heavily on some other computer (its server) to fulfill its traditional computational roles. This stands in contrast to the traditional fat client, a computer designed to take on these roles by itself. The exact roles assumed by the server may vary, from providing data persistence (for example, for diskless nodes) to actual information processing on the client's behalf.” Yes, the answer to the question is in the description itself. Thin clients are dependent on some other computer to do the work, while PC does it itself. What does this mean to you in real terms? When you are connected to a network through cables, the thin client can pretty much do most things you would do with a PC. When you are not connected, your thin client is as a good as a piece of brick. This brick hence would not mean much to an individual user. However, it is a dream come true for a corporate customer. An IT administrator can now get all (well almost) the benefits to his users that a PC can offer. With more and more jobs tied to the classic Dilbert‟s cubicle, the IT administrator‟s job has become easier. He has no more „desk calls‟ to fix just because some jerk user had fiddled with his PC settings yet again. And yes, it solves his headache an in a way crowned him with power to be the King. Add to it that a centralized server for your applications means a lot more secure infrastructure. No virus and no worms eating up your and your neighbors data And now the sweetener a cheap $150-200 price tag vs. an $800 for the PC. Organizations can indeed save tons of money. In fact, they can even save money on desktop and productivity (usually Microsoft). Usually a big portion of the pie, this may well help the IT Manager get a bonus to take a vacation in Bahamas.
  2. 2. What then is stopping the adoption of awesome phenomenon called thin client. Well, nothing for the “Dilbert” users. For the others it is the network stupid! The „power users‟ (read users who rarely go to Office for work) work in their cars, at Starbucks, at the airports. Only a laptop PC survives this lifestyle. No thin clients please! Then there are „home users‟. There are no servers they are connected to and by definition – there is no „other‟ PC that can do the job. There is a huge market here though. With Web 2.0 throwing in a zillion services on the Cloud – Facebook, Flickr, Gmail, GoogleDocs, Hotmail, Messenger, Office Online, Picasa, SkyDrive, Skype, Twitter, Yahoo – why would I need anything on the fat client in the first place. As a home user, I spend 90% of my time on the Internet (other 10% is booting up my PC). It would do well if we can have thin client that can work on wireless / internet connectivity alone. The browser only client. That would be perfect. It would save me hundreds of dollars on PC purchase, a few hundred in software and another few hundred in terms of electricity bills. Recent trends are in the area of Web thin clients (running a Web OS) rely on the web- based software for the application and data storage, thus eliminating the single point of failure and the need for OS/application/data aggregation and licensing required by traditional thin client. This place is still not mature and it will be interesting to watch this space Then of course there are those „un-connected users‟. These users are pretty isolated with random or no connectivity to the internet. This could be because of the low penetration of broad band internet or may be because simply they would not be able to afford the internet connection. Well then in that case, Mr. PC is always there for you. So, is the Personal Computer dead? Not Yet! Long Live the Thin client! Long Live the Personal Computer!

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