Smartphones have firmly landed in the market, and tablets soon followed. Mobile devices changed the way users think about computing, and software and hardware companies took note, altering their products so that the line between computers and mobile is rapidly fading.
Docks and More
The rise of mobile devices led to laptop docks that harness the power of the device into a laptop-like experience by providing the keyboard and screen. Asus’s Transformer Prime is one example. Third-party manufacturers like ClamBook are now also providing universal solutions to iPhone and tablet owners who are readily saying “Good bye” to their desktops forever.
The OS in 2012
It’s not just hardware that is blurring the lines between mobile and desktop computing. Both Apple and Microsoft continue to work on versions of their operating systems that don’t differentiate between the two. The Windows 8 Metro interface uses apps that are ideal for navigating from a touchscreen, like a tablet. It’s the furthest the company has moved from desktop computing in decades, and everyone has noticed.
Furthermore, Apple is also providing a more mobile experience to its desktop users. At the company’s developers conference in June 2012, Apple outlined some new features for its Mac OS. Those changes were almost identical to the changes the company had just announced for iOS, the operating system for the iPhone and iPad. Namely, Cupertino will integrate Facebook and Twitter with its desktop devices, a feature that most consumers generally associate with smartphones. On top of all this, Apple’s browser Safari has long supported touch controls like pinching to zoom.
Where Have All the Peripherals Gone?
Anyone who owns a smartphone can tell you that it’s convenient for connecting to other devices via WiFi or Bluetooth. However, tablets and smartphones are becoming increasingly slimmer, and that leaves little room for the CDs or DVDs or printer ports. After all, who wouldn’t rather use a MicroSD card that transfers data in a few seconds and takes less space than a burnable CD?
While the line between computers and mobile is pretty fuzzy, there’s still some obvious differences between the two. This is one reason why gamers won’t soon be trading in their computers for a tablet. Despite all the progress in mobile gaming, computers are still more powerful and can read CDs, a crucial component to most computer gaming. However, the blurred lines have led to the popularity of stand-alone devices like DVD players. Consumers who can otherwise do without a DVD reader as long as they have a way to watch their favorite Blu-Ray movies are likely to consider a permanent move to mobile.
Users are not the only ones who have adjusted to this technological shift. Business have long used desktop computers to run. Some businesses involved laptops; however, it seems like most companies have skipped directly from desktops to tablets. Retailers have especially been able to take advantage of these recent tech developments with hardware like the plug and play Square card, which facilitates credit card transactions. In fact, many small businesses find mobile computing advantageous because it doesn’t require as much space or complex networking like computers.
As the trends continue, the merge of operating systems will only encourage more business users to adopt tablets and smartphones for their work, but there will always be businesses that require the capability of desktops versus the convenience of mobile devices. What good is an office without a printer, after all?