My Thoughts on the Future of Personal Computing

From a historical perspective, we started in 70s with mainframes, then moved onto mini-computers, and finally in the mid 80s entered the era of personal computing. In the past 30-40 years, these three types of devices have defined what computing is all about. computer

However, the conventional wisdom that drove threes three areas of computing, and which moved us from distributed to personal computing, is not being shaken at its core as smartphones and tablets take a center state and are yet again posed to redefine computing. 

But instead of evolving the concept of personal computing, these new form factors are now ushering a new era of a completely new “personalized computing” that are taking the industry from selling millions of computing devices a year to over billion annually. 

Except for Apple, making this transition from personal to personalized computing has been very difficult for the vendors. The biggest problem for PC vendors is that tablets and other mobile computing devices have now started to eat into the demand for computers as most users realize that they can use tablets to do up to 88 percent of what they can do on a computer. 

When computing started, it was mainly based on mainframes (dumb terminals), where all storage and processing was done and terminals just assessed the content. Now, history is once again repeating itself and cloud has become “mainframe” in the sky. It allows us to access all our digital stuff and keep it fully synchronized with various personalized devices. 

The future 

The future of personalized computing will not be limited to our computers, smartphones, or tablets. In future, we will have different types of screens in our lives that will be closely tied to the cloud. The most important one will be that is closest at hand at the time one wants to access the cloud. 

Companies like Corning are already working intensely on flexible displays. Someday I might have a screen on my arm that’s shaped like a bracelet. It would connect to the Internet and would be smart. Google Project Glass is another screen that you can use to access your stuff in the cloud as needed.

Within the next five to ten years, we’lll make a dramatic move from personal to personalized computing. While computers, smartphones, tablets, and connected smart TVs may be the main devices we tie to our personal clouds, they’ll represent just four of the screens we’ll be able to use. Over time, we’ll see a wide range of new screens emerge that will closely tie us each to our personal cloud to make the concept of personal computing truly personalized.