Revisit 2010 Smartphones vs. PCs discussion

March 20, 2012 at 10:04:21
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I found an old discussion here of Smartphones vs. PCs from 2010 and it was rather short and very much of the opinion that PCs will never be replaced by smartphones.

Only 9 months on, I thought it might be fun to ask the question again.

Smartphones are about to go quad core and are throwing advanced features at users that have never successfully taken off on desktops as desktops haven't had the umph to do so in the past. yes, the smartphone uses cloud processing and online services to give us the functionality, but maybe thats the way things will go...

Smartphones aren't big, but their power is increasing at a phenominal rate, and we have new technologies that are finally on the market that can give us the big screens of a desktop and luxuries of a full sized keyboard that all fits in our pocket.

With such devices as a laser projected keyboard, polymer screens that can roll up and fit in your pocket or matchbox sized projectors to replace a desktop monitor, or just a simple dumb keyboard and screen styled laptop case your phone links to - could these allow the smartphone to kill the laptop market and heavily reduce the home pc?

Over to you guys (and ladies)...


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#1
March 20, 2012 at 11:11:17
Oh yes, please let us talk about this. Then we can talk about how the current flavor of smart phones will kill the current flavor of handheld game systems. Afterwards will be about how the current flavor of game consoles will kill PC games. Perhaps, if time remains, we can talk about how Linux/Windows/OS-X will triumph over Windows/OS-X/Linux.

There really hasn't been much debate because there hasn't been a need for it. Smart phones and tablets might replace PCs for simple computing functions, so called "content consumption." PCs and laptops will remain the work horses, so called "content creation." This isn't going to change until those portable devices get a UI better suited to working, better tools, and the third parties loosen their grip on these devices.

Obligatory: CPU clock speed is not an adequate measure of the ability to do work. Core count is an even worse measure.

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


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#2
March 21, 2012 at 06:28:16
Lol Razor2.3, I didn't mention clock cycles because I agree it doesn't really offer a measure, but multiple cores do provide versatility in a system and it's showing the smartphones maturity in hardware. Quad core does mean they can run multiple processes simultaneously, although high clock speeds can do the same result - point is they are getting very powerfull, they can support 3D games in full HD etc.

I think the UI is fully addressed by the additions of a large screen and keyboard – with these their will obviously be no need to have a ui designed to be small and I think smartphones have thrown a wonderful lot of new working ideas at the UI which has quite frankly stagnated and pretty much died on the desktop. Is there any real change between windows 3.1 and windows 8? A little prettier I grant you, but we still use a screen, keyboard and mouse, a bit of a tie with the old desktop??

There's no need for debate, true, but there rarely is, I was just wanting some ideas of how people see it all unfolding over the next few years.

But why does a desktop need to be so large? Couldn't a phone offer "content consumption” with a bluetooth keyboard and a monitor plugged in it can do the same right now, not to mention what is just around the corner...


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#3
March 21, 2012 at 08:26:49
JMarshall

After reading your original post, and reply to Razor2.3 (good response btw, I agree 100% with everything you said) I've come to understand your knowledge of computers is very limited and I have to wonder why you bothered attempting to rehash an old discussion that died quickly the first time it was opened.

I'll keep my response as short and simple as possible.

Those of us who work in IT and fully understand computers know that smartphones can never replace computers. Period, end of story.

For those who know about computers, no further explanation is necessary. For folks like you, no explanation is possible because you don't speak our language and do not have the requisite knowledge needed to have a discussion of this sort. Mind you, if you had the requisite knowledge, you would not be trying to reopen this useless conversation because you'd know better.

In a nutshell, a smartphone cannot do what a computer can do. The only analogy I can come up with that you may understand is this. You're comparing a 4 seater, prop driven airplane to a jumbo jet.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#4
March 21, 2012 at 14:13:11
In short, no matter how powerful smart phones get you are still dealing with a tiny display. That in itself is reason enough for them to take a back seat to real computers.

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#5
March 21, 2012 at 15:11:36
LOL

Oh but he mentioned attaching a regular size monitor and normal keyboard..........Like you have room in your back pocket or handbag for a 19" (or bigger) LCD and a K/B.

Regardless, add a monitor, add a K/B and it's still a smartphone that has a whole lot less processing power than a PC.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#6
March 21, 2012 at 16:13:12
Adding all that external hardware just makes it a step below an entry level laptop and two steps below an entry level desktop.

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#7
March 21, 2012 at 23:09:38
I know I don't have the true knowledge to add to this discussion but I feel myself drawn in. I don’t own a smartphone or even a laptop so I am just generalizing here sorry. Hardware or peripherals aside here my first thought is storage. Can I store say 350GBs of needed data on a smartphone? In my mind, as limited as it is, the cloud is not an option. My data, regardless of what it is, is my data. If I can store a good bit of data when I drop it or lose it wouldn't that be the same as the cloud? Can I set up a vpn between my phone and my desktop? Would I want to?

This is maybe a bit away from the main discussion but I drove a cab for a few years. In that time I found (1) laptop left behind. I found more than 30 phones left behind and ZERO desktop computers left behind.

I know there is a proper use for these toys or gadgets, that’s all they really are to me, where their potential can shine through. I also imagine 95% of the owners of these things have no reason to use that potential nor would they know how. Same can probably be said about a desktop too though I guess.

Edit: One of my daughters has one of these toys. In her words "It's the greatest thing in the world and really powerfull because I can access my facebook account on it."


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#8
March 22, 2012 at 03:15:19
I thought with Toms Hardware providing such good reviews, I might get a more interesting discussion ;)

Polymer displays are very portible - a 19" screen in your pocket will be no problem in a few years. there are already one or two rollup displays on the market - admittedly expensive and limited use at the moment, but using the same technology as epapar (what you find in things like the kindle).
There are tons of hand held sized projectors, and demonstrations of ones that are matchbox sized coming up to market.

I had a full sized qwerty keyboard that folded up and fit in a pocket 10 years ago (the size of a nokia 7110 - the mobile phone used in the matrix). You can get laser projecting keyboards that are phone sized.

Only a few years ago digital cameras were massive, but the technology has been driven by mobile phones and is shrunken into most devices now - Nokia have just launched a 41 megapixel camera and the digital camera market, a once explosive area, has now shrunken considerably. The video camera is under the same threat - something few predicted.

Curt R - I'm afraid it sounds more like you have little IT grounding - don't forget the moon landing used a massive room full of computers that were LESS powerful than a pocket calculator that by the 80s was able to fit in the pocket - thats only 20 years - with that shrinkage your 4 seater prop plane will be just as good as the jumbo jet - but fit in a humble garage rather than having to travel 2 hours to an international airport ;)

S helbyclan - good point about the loss of phones - cabbies are often a source of good info ;)
The storage point is interesting though - consider that we are now up to 64Gb microSD cards and they have showcase cards of 512Gb (which of course wont come to market until they've made enough money with the upcoming 128 and 256 models). These a thumbnail sized storage and laptops still only offer 320Gb on average, so I don't think storage will hold things back for long.



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#9
March 22, 2012 at 03:19:04
Oh, by the way, I have 22 years experience working as a professional software developer (on top of an additional 10 years playing with them before that), a degree in Artificial Intelligence from Middlesex university, a masters in Cybernetics from Reading University and have worked for a number of key players in the industry and am currently contracting for British aerospace on a defence contract.

Not only have I built pc's, I've built the chips that the pcs are built with, so yes, I do have a little IT experience ;)


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#10
March 22, 2012 at 08:04:34
LOL

Ok, I get it now. You're a programmer. I'm not sure why it is that someone who writes code that interacts with computer hardware knows so little about said hardware but I've found it to be true of all programmers I've ever met.

Curt R - I'm afraid it sounds more like you have little IT grounding - don't forget the moon landing used a massive room full of computers that were LESS powerful than a pocket calculator that by the 80s was able to fit in the pocket - thats only 20 years - with that shrinkage your 4 seater prop plane will be just as good as the jumbo jet - but fit in a humble garage rather than having to travel 2 hours to an international airport ;)

Yes, the size of actual computers has decreased. However, using your analogy, a pocket calculator is a pocket calculator. You could not fly a ship to the moon using one. If you have an expensive scientific calculator you might be able to plot the ballistic to fly your ass there and back but lets face facts, neither a pocket calculator OR a smartphone could herd the ship safely there and back.

However, feel free at any time to jump in a rocket ship controlled by a calculator, or a smartphone, and attempt such a trip. :)

Here's something for you to try.....

Take your smartphone and plug it into a big monitor and add a normal sized K/B. Now, install the most recent version of Call of Duty available on the market on your smartphone. Now play it on your smartphone.

Oh right, you can't because it's a freaking smartphone.

Here, let's try something else. I have about 1.7 TB's of data stored on my NAS at home. The NAS device is a 6 bay and I'm presently running a RAID 10 with a hotspare for each RAID 1. I want to see you turn that smartphone into an identical NAS with the exact same number of drives in it and then we'll copy all 1.7 TB's of my data onto it.

Oh right.......you can't.

Ok then how about this..........

Let's Install Windows Server 2008 on your smartphone. Once we've successfully done that, let's run dcpromo on it and turn it into a DC and create a fully AD integrated Windows domain on it.

Oh right, you can't install that on a smartphone.

Ok then lets install UNIX........crap..............Linux??? Oh right, can't do that either.

Oh and pray I do know it well, having worked on defence contracts programming missile flight systems, nuclear sub navigation software and a some of the software on board helicopters such as the Apache Longbow, I better had, lol.

So these systems you've built for the Apache and guided missiles, do they run on smartphones or computers?

Yeah, thought so.

I have an idea. Rather than continue a useless dicussion how about you explain to all of us why it is you can't do the things on a smartphone I listed above in this response.

If you can't, explain why you can't do them on a smartphone then you'll have proven me right (ie: you don't know anything about computers) or else you will be able to and you'll answer your own silly question and the discussion will be over.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#11
March 22, 2012 at 14:16:33
JMarshal I think you kind of missed my point about the loss of ones phone in the cab. I did not know the storage capabilities of present phones nor did I know how it was due to increase. I thank you for that. Seeing how many phones are now free and you can buy a warrenty to replace it when you lose it that is not what I pointing out. As a cabbie I did not always have a chance to stop and clean the vehicle between passangers. That being said say you have over 200gbs of very important personal and or business data on your phone. It has to be stored somewhere as you have given up your computer for this cute little gadget. Keep in mind the cloud is not an option for many myself included. Now as you get out of my cab you drop your tiny little toy on the seat at say the mall and before I can pull away another passanger is getting in. This happens at the malls a lot. Now this person has found your phone and has access to your data. Assuming this person has a high moral code he or she turns the phone over to me. If I don't attempt to access the phone I have no idea whom it belongs to as in the past two hours I have transpoted more than twenty people. If I am busy I am not in a hurry to find out who it belongs to. If I am not busy what I normally did was attemp to gather info on who it may belong to and make note of that in case you call the company later today looking for it. I'll return it to you for a fee. My time is money. This is all assuming I have a high moral code as well. You have not lost your phone you have lost your computer and everything stored on it.

Can I have all that information not a copy of it the master? This includes credit card numbers from your clients payments and many other things.


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#12
March 24, 2012 at 10:50:05
I think we've reached the point where I systematically make enemies of everyone in this thread, one counter-point at a time.

JMarshal: Quad core does mean they can run multiple processes simultaneously
Sure, if your processes are CPU constrained. If all of your cores are waiting on the memory controller, you're just waiting four times as hard. Given the large network component to a lot of apps, I suspect most of them spend their time waiting for user input or for data.

JMarshal: they can support 3D games in full HD etc.
Got an example? I don't exactly follow phone games, but a quick Google search seems to indicate they're graphically around the Quake 1 era of 3D. Now I want to play Mechwarrior 2 again. *sigh*

JMarshal: I think the UI is fully addressed by the additions of a large screen and keyboard
Not really? Try the consumer preview of Windows 8. It's a touch UI that runs on not-touch hardware. The mouse pointer and a finger are not analogous, nor can you use them interchangeably.

JMarshal: Is there any real change between windows 3.1 and windows 8?
Well what are we talking about here? Technologically (Yes), or graphically (Yes)?

Curt R: Those of us who work in IT and fully understand computers know that smartphones can never replace computers. Period, end of story.
Yeah, I knew some people in IT who said the same thing about IBM's z/OS and UNIX. "Knew" being the key word. Still, you know you're old when you see "new" technology and remember when you used that technology more than a decade ago.

shelbyclan: Can I set up a vpn between my phone and my desktop? Would I want to?
Probably; I know some of the new Android phones have some sort of Cloud service that connects your phone to your PC. I don't know how secure it is, because I don't have an Android phone. I've been known to use my iPhone to RDP into my PC. Every time I do I expect Zombie Steve Jobs to pop up and slap the phone out of my hands.

shelbyclan: I found (1) laptop left behind. I found more than 30 phones left behind and ZERO desktop computers left behind.
This sounds like a false analogy to me. You're implying the size, weight, and ubiquitous of these devices somehow define their importance to their users. After all, how many people take a cab while transporting a desktop computer?

JMarshal: Polymer displays . . . in a few years.
A few years from the 70's, and everyone is going to hold conversations with a computer.
A few years from the 80's, and everyone is going to use VR glasses.
A few years from the mid 2000's and everyone is going to use 3D TV's.
A few years from 2010 and everyone is going to be driving electric cars.
Anyone want to add a claim from the 90's? I can't think of anything at the moment. I'm not going to decry polymer displays, I'm just not going to structure a debate around a marketing campaign.

JMarshal: You can get laser projecting keyboards that are phone sized.
I've used one of those before. It gets peculiar about what conditions it'll perform under. Also, the hit detection isn't 100%, and that's a fatal flaw. Even if it is 100%, tactile feedback is non-existent, and that's something that can't be fixed.

JMarshal: don't forget the moon landing used a massive room full of computers that were LESS powerful than a pocket calculator that by the 80s was able to fit in the pocket
I never liked this statement; it's too broad. What computers are we talking about? The ones that monitored the lander and its systems? They did their job without issue, so obviously they were fast enough. The computers in space? They have more in common with a car's computer than a calculator.

The computers used in determining the trajectory were used months in advance, and didn't need to be real time. I wouldn't be surprised if they were some offshoot of the ones that computed artillery tables for the World Wars.

JMarshal: <Series of credentials>
I love government programmers! They make for the best stories on The Daily . That's not to say all government programmers are terrible, just the bureaucracy involved lets terrible, horrible mistakes happen.

Curt R: lets install UNIX . . . Linux???
*cough*iOS*cough*Android*cough*

shelbyclan <Personal information on phones>
Good point. Sadly, we have yet to fix this problem for PCs. I suspect it'll take a good number of lawsuits before there's enough pressure to do something.

JMarshal: [The technology will get there!]
Curt R: [The technology isn't there now!]
You'll notice I didn't mention the state of the technology once in my first post. That's because I honestly don't think technology is what's holding phones back. It's everything else. Until that changes, we're not going to see progress or progression outside of niche markets.

If a change does happen, it probably won't be from the West. I'm told Asian countries are much closer to using their phones as we use laptops. If China does become the central stage of the world market, we'll see a real push of cell phones. Until then, we'll have to contend with Apple and the telecoms telling us what we can do with our phones and tablets.

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


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#13
March 24, 2012 at 16:46:54
Just an aside. What an earth does one need a "41 megapixel camera" for? I get fantastic results with a fraction of that.

Are folk producing pictures large enough to paper their walls these days, or maybe wanting to view the pimples on peoples noses?


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#14
March 25, 2012 at 20:23:12
@ Razor2.3 You may be right about my analogy but it does seem to me that cell phones just are not that important to people. Is size the issue? I don’t know. Even now not being in a cab anymore I still see many left behind in restaurants, at convenience stores, or even the bank. Maybe it’s because many don’t have to pay for the phone itself. It’s been my experience that if you don’t have to earn it most often it has little value. I don’t know but that wasn’t my point.
My point is I for one will not use cloud storage and I know I am not alone. Because of this any information I need has to be stored somewhere. If this “phone” is being used as a personal computer to conduct business on there is all sorts of information going to be stored on it or transferred to a secure computer. This topic points to the idea that computer doesn’t exist. “I found an old discussion here of Smartphones vs. PCs from 2010 and it was rather short and very much of the opinion that PCs will never be replaced by smartphones.” It was replaced by the phone.
Now this phone was just dropped in a cab or left on the table at the restaurant. This presents another issue. Sure the warranty on the phone will get it replaced but not the information you had on it. Yeah I suppose if you had been carrying a laptop you could have left it behind as well I just have not seen that happen nearly as much as it does with phones.
And no you did not make an enemy of me. I am sorry I don’t have the technical expertise or training to offer a better argument. Since I don’t I look at things from a somewhat simple and practical point of view.

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#15
March 26, 2012 at 07:44:07
LOL Razor2.3

I loved your last post!

Yeah, I knew some people in IT who said the same thing about IBM's z/OS and UNIX. "Knew" being the key word. Still, you know you're old when you see "new" technology and remember when you used that technology more than a decade ago.

Yeah I'm old........lol.........but UNIX is still around as are IBM's. Only, a few years back, IBM sold the PC side of their business to some foreign group. If memory serves me (and it doesn't always, I AM old.....lol) it was the Koreans.

Curt R: lets install UNIX . . . Linux???
*cough*iOS*cough*Android*cough*

They're a derivative of, not a full blown version of. Just like the Mac's OSX is not really UNIX, although it too is UNIX based.

You can't install, for example, a full blown version of OpenBSD v4.7 with GUI, or say Red Hat Linux.

With regard to your question about the 90's. I can't think of anything offhand but I'm reminded of Bill Gates' infamous quote "You'll never need more than 64 k of memory"


Derek

Just an aside. What an earth does one need a "41 megapixel camera" for? I get fantastic results with a fraction of that.

That's what I call the "Jone's" factor. You know, "The Jone's have one so we should either have the same, or better" It's all about bragging rights.

LOL


shelbyclan

My point is I for one will not use cloud storage and I know I am not alone. Because of this any information I need has to be stored somewhere.

I'm on the same page as you with "cloud" computing. It's just another buzzword meant to make people spend money on things they really don't need. It seems to me to be symtomatic of today's society and our new "entitled" generation. Why should they spend a couple hours finding out how to do proper backups of data they want to ensure gets saved? Why should they spend a finite amount of money on a small home NAS when you can pay monthly fees for the rest of your life to have someone else do all the work, and required learning, for you.

There was an incident in the news a while back where some "cloud" computing type setup went under and all the poor folks who had paid these guys to store their data lost it all and can't get it back.

Even if I wasn't a computer geek by trade, I am a cheapskate. I'd rather spend 20 hours learning something and do it for myself and be assured of reaching my goal than pay someone else I don't know, who doesn't care about me and mine, to do it for me.

FWIW, I'm talking technology here. When I need something built, I tend to hire a qualified, licensed contractor since that's not a skill set I have. Oh, I built my own fence, but we hired a pro to build our deck right.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#16
March 26, 2012 at 20:48:35
@ Curt R I am somewhat on the opposite side in as much as I am not a computer geek just a wanna be. I come from the construction background. I built my garage and both decks and put up our privacy fence. That stuff I know about. The stuff talked about here often I have to spend an hour on google just to form a 2 minute response. lol

When it comes to cloud computing i have read enough at this point that I have a basic understanding of it, very basic. That being said there is no one person or group that can make me believe that 1) It's 100% secure 2) I can and will be able to access my data at any time I need it and 3) There will be no loss of data. In my mind I might as well put everything on a flash drive. I'll keep it secure myself for free.


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#17
March 26, 2012 at 21:27:43
I guess the question here is: Will the smartphone replace the pc? In my opinion no it won't but that is just my opinion. Okay so we can use a keyboard and some type of bigger screen with one. That's great but it also means instead of carrying one gadget now I have to carry three at least.

I’m trying to think of how I can use this idea for work. I do rather often make house calls to do pc repair. I suppose I can use one to look up troubleshooting tips and what have you on the internet. Then again there is that tiny screen. My laptop does not require any other gadgets for my old eyes to be able to read what is on the screen. Also I don’t see myself connecting a customer’s hard drive to my phone to access the data. I do this with my laptop a lot.

No matter what I don’t see this happening for me in what I need a computer to do. I have no doubt for some maybe quite a few the idea of using a smartphone instead of a computer may be the way to go. I don’t see them as being a good idea when it comes to actually computing. Surfing or browsing social networking sites sure. I wouldn’t want to connect my credit card scanner to one to take payments although I guess you could.

Oh and to Curt R and shelbyclan I too find cloud computing to be a waste of an idea.

Likely


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