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OPLIN 4Cast #553: PCs, who needs them?

Posted in 4cast

I recently read a blog post – the first linked article below – by Benedict Evans that makes some interesting points about what we usually call “computer literacy.” (Tip: many of Mr. Evans’ blog posts are thought-provoking.) We spend a lot of time and resources in public libraries teaching people how to do things on computers, but are we actually just teaching them how to do things on PCs, things that they may have already mastered on their phones? By Evans’ calculation, there are about 100 million people using PCs for things that can’t be done on a phone or tablet, but perhaps 5 billion people who are using their phones to do things that used to be done on a PC.

  • Creation and consumption (Benedict Evans)  “Conversely, what is being done on ‘phones’ – or rather, on these small touch-screen computers that we all carry around with us? We write – people have been writing more on phones than on PCs since the days of SMS – and we share, take pictures, create videos, play games and talk to our friends. That is, we do most of things that those 90% of PCs are used for, but we also do everything that you can do with a touch screen and internet-connected image sensor, and GPS, and all the other things a PC doesn’t have, plus everything you can do with all of the billions of app downloads. The big difference on mobile is that now people know how to do this.”
  • Survey: Mobile devices eclipse PC usage and, in a surprise, drive more conversions (Marketing Land | Greg Sterling)  “According to third-party data, roughly three-fourths of email is now read on mobile phones. If corresponding landing pages and mobile sites aren’t optimized for mobile users, the data above suggest that marketers and retailers are losing potentially meaningful revenue. In addition, these mobile users said that they would be more likely to shop on smartphones with ‘easier navigation’ and ‘increased speed,’ and to some degree, ‘enhanced security.’”
  • The once-mighty PC’s diminished status in today’s mobile era (Redmond Magazine | Ed Bott)  “Smartphones have gone from a curiosity to a luxury and are now a necessity. In many cases, it’s easier to whip out a phone to handle a task, which is why smart Azure and Office 365 administrators have the mobile apps for those services close at hand. Meanwhile, as the slowdown in sales suggests, PCs are becoming legacy devices for specialized tasks. In industrialized nations, you’ll still find PCs on factory floors and in back offices, and there are still creative and financial jobs that are better done on a PC.”
  • PCs shine again, but for how long? (E-Commerce Times | Jim McGregor)  “On the application side, gaming remains the application driving PC technology and market stability. In fact, gaming is the only area where PCs shipments actually have been growing. However, just on the horizon is a new generation of virtual reality and augmented reality head-mounted displays that hold the promise of improving the PC experience in just about every application – from engineering and design to entertainment and gaming.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library: