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April 08, 2014

The Death of the PC

Death of the PC

Originally named micro computers until IBM popularized the term ‘Personal Computer’, PC’s have come a long way in their lifetime. From the early days of Commodore 64’s and TRS-80s, the past thirty or forty years have seen PCs revolutionizing the way that we work. As with all technology though, its biggest challenge is keeping up with man-made evolution and I’m afraid that PC’s just aren’t the way forward anymore.

Step into any forward thinking, modern business today and there is a changing of the guard across the desktop. PC’s just can’t cut it anymore against lean, powerful, agile and agnostic devices offering a new and revolutionary way to access desktops and applications. PC’s are bulky, unreliable, power hungry and expensive to maintain and replace.

Welcome to a world where computing is more flexible, more accessible, more dependable and less prone to infection as we prepare to hold a wake for the death of the PC.

So why is the PC dying?

Sporting two shades of nicotine stained plastic, teak panelling and ahead of its time styling, the 1977 Apple II represents the early days of business computers. Since its invention, along with many other early PC’s, personal computing has followed a clear trend, gradually making computers more aesthetically pleasing, thinner, faster, more powerful, secure, and agile. The “PC on a desk” model just doesn't fit in with these ideals anymore and with the emergence of desktop virtualisation, application delivery and cloud solutions, it further enhances just how out of touch PC’s are with the future. Thanks for the memories PC’s but it's time to move on to pastures new, such as leading edge thin and zero clients.

Say hello to thin and zero clients

Desktop Technology we see emerging today has come full circle as the world of IT continues to evolve. In the early days it was all about desktops being filled by dumb terminals, which were reliant on a host or mainframe computer for its processing power and application access. Personal Computer’s or as they are better known PC’s emerged and revolutionised the world of Computing, where each PC was equipped with internals such as processors/memory and storage powerful enough to run local applications and desktops, providing a far higher user experience and feature set than had been seen before. As mentioned, PC’s have had their own drawbacks and the emergence of Thin Clients to the market took the applications and desktop back toward the utilisation of a server to fulfil its computational roles. Thin Clients still ran a local OS though and were capable of running local applications such as office and internet browsers. Ultra-thin devices known as ‘Zero Clients’ which run no local OS and are solely reliant on the backend, take us back to the world of dumb terminals albeit with more grunt.

To close the loop, virtual desktop technology and thin and zero client technology we see today provides a hybrid of all the above technology, with desktops and applications being maintained centrally as per the early host and mainframe computer days. Additionally modern Thin Client and Zero Client devices today have enough processing power to enable them to offload and provide the same user experience, once only achievable using a PC.

Thin & zero clients are being adopted by businesses who want to streamline the provision and maintenance of desktop devices. The devices bring a wealth of benefits to the table including remote management, energy savings, heightened security and a long lifespan due to no moving parts.

In contrast to PC’s, the devices are agnostic and can be remotely pointed to wherever the desktops or applications are, whether that is on a backend server, a datacentre, or in the cloud. Furthermore, management consoles allow for remote support of desktop users, even across other sites. Gone are the days of IT technicians running from desktop to desktop or speeding up and down motorways just to keep the lights on.

Offering true versatility, remote management, a reduction of energy costs and an increase in productivity, thin and zero clients are indisputably the future of computing as we know it.

10ZiG Technology have been at the forefront of this circle of technology, looking right back to its early days of providing terminal emulation to IBM System/36/AS/400/iSeries platforms. By choosing 10ZiG Technology as your Thin Client or Zero Client vendor, you know you’re in safe hands with a company that follows the trends of Desktop technology.

Could I replace my PC with a smart device?

It’s true that another reason for the demise of the PC is down to devices such as tablets and phones and it’s great that you can access your desktop, applications and files whilst on the move. Personally, I couldn’t live without my phone or tablet, but they still don’t fit as a desktop solution…

Try using your iPad or iPhone to work from all day, it just isn’t conducive to a full day of frantic emailing and has no tolerance of fat fingers and thumbs. There is just no substitute for a full and ergonomic keyboard and a shiny flat screen monitor or two. In fact, why not go the full hog and have a quad screen set-up courtesy of a 10ZiG Thin Client? You can’t do that on your #notsosmart phone can you? I’m not saying that BYOD doesn’t have its place, but it certainly isn’t the answer for a desktop refresh away from PC’s.

Are you keeping pace with the changes in computing? Don’t be left behind pouring money into PC’s already hooked up to a life support machine. Mourn the life of the Personal Computer and share your thoughts with 10ZiG and our readers below.