Bin your computer, you don’t need it

It’s safe to say that there’s been a seismic shift in the way we use and access the Internet. Back in the old days you’d go and buy some incredibly overpriced PC and then spend several years upgrading it, installing apps from DVD’s and suffering those “interesting” Windows issues.

Now everything has changed. I’m writing this on an iPad in my kitchen. Later I might use my smartphone to check some websites out on the web, then I’ll use my poor, battered laptop to write a review. Microsoft are currently pushing hard with Windows 8, but it seems that people are almost confused by it. Why? Well, the touch-screen interface works well but some laptops don’t have that touch-screen capability. The result is confused people tapping around on random laptops in PC World. It’s a touch-based GUI. It needs to have a touch interface, doesn’t it?

Well, maybe not, because we have Android appearing on devices without touch-screens. Those small media players from China that plug into your TV run the Android OS. They don’t have touchscreen function, but people seem to be buying them instead of upgrading to a “Smart TV”.

Is it time to chuck your traditional PC in the bin and replace it with one of the many other options? Perhaps it’s time to bolt one of those “other options” into your traditional desk and have that as your “PC”? This guy did. He’s stuck a HDMI cable, a mouse and keyboard into his Galaxy Note II and squirted the lot onto a big monitor.

Sure, there’s no touch screen, but it still seems to work pretty well. Games, music, internet and – although you don’t quite use it in the same way as a regular PC – the setup seems to work well for Coldfustion. Maybe it could for you too..

My thoughts? Well, I’ll put it this way. Some time ago I purchased one of those unloved, low-powered netbooks. The battery life is epic but it can’t cope with anything too CPU intensive. There is, after 3 years, absolutely nothing installed on it bar the OS. Nothing. I don’t use apps because absolutely everything I do on it is through the web. If I need to edit a document I use Google Apps. If I need to tweak a photo I use Pixlr. Email is through Google Apps too. Gradually we’re progressing to a place where more and more is done on the web, and apps are for the most part portals into web services or sites (Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Google+, Dropbox).

Sure, I know that some of us need special apps and OS-specific apps, but for the majority – those who sit in front of a screen and browse the web, post updates to Facebook and watching videos on YouTube, why are you still using a PC?

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  • John Kyle

    I knew that was coldfusion before I even clicked play. Missed him on the XDA Note forum… You should check out his other windows. The guys a legend!

  • Indeed, if you need a PC for tasks – I still need one for media conversion – try a cheap server and remote desktop.
    Logmein Free is available on the iPad, so you can have the workhorse media converting PC in a cupboard, and just remote into it from an iPad. Brilliant.

  • SJ

    I disagree. Sitting at work in front of a computer is not ever change to tablet alone. They make fantastic internet and media consumption devices but after trying desperately to shift (my home use) to tablets, I was always left frustrated by the limitations… Multitasking is a mess on tablets (with the exception of Windows 8), some websites simply do not work correctly (drop down menus can be a nightmare on a tablet) and copy/pasting becomes laborious with a mouse. Ultrabooks and convertibles with Windows 8 are the way forward :-)

  • Andy

    I personally disagree. Tablets and phones are a convenience, but a compromise in terms of usability. I have to tap out an email to my brother and the thought of doing it on my tablet is giving me cold sweats. 7″ screens and barely responsive keyboards will not replace the PC.

  • John

    This reinvents thin client using mobile devices. They can be
    convenient but issues such as data security and loss of connectivity for
    instance are risks you have to accept and manage. Capable as some such systems
    are, for most users they’re not going to replace a desktop or laptop anytime
    soon. If nothing else, manufactures and software houses will stop it happening
    to protect their income streams.