Intel Shifts Focus to Mobile, But the PC is Far From Dead. Here’s Why

By Kailas Shastry

No one is talking about the device that started it all. Without the personal computer the terms personal computing or consumer technology wouldn’t come about at all. Seemingly overnight (mid 2007 – early 2008), the desktop dropped off everyone’s radar in India, and about a year and a half later, even laptops were seldom discussed. The sexiness of the smartphone silenced the enthusiasts of the humble but potent PC.

About 15 days back, an important event occurred. Not yet another launch – this one’s different. The world’s largest semiconductor company made it as official as it could, that it was shifting its focus to mobility.

This was not a passing mention in a press release – it was part of the opening keynote of its biggest annual event, the IDF or Intel Developer Forum. What more, just days after the IDF announcement, a tablet specific version of the low-power Intel Atom processor has made its way into an Asus Transformer tablet.

Point made about the future of mobile computing. No one is disputing that. But is the PC out? Intel Silicon Chip Shutterstock

Consider this: as a reader of this site, you are probably a technology early adopter. Yet, going by our analytics, more likely than not, you are reading this on a PC. So long as x86 as we know it today remains the most adopted computing platform, the era is still the PC’s (even if you didn’t get the x86 reference, you can still read along). Much has been said about the post PC era, but we are not there yet, and I hope we won’t get there too soon. Not because I have an affinity to the platform, having grown up assembling (and taking apart) computers, but because mobile devices, in their current state of evolution are far from replacing the good old PC.

No matter what the Samsungs and Apples of the world tell you, smartphones and tablets are not serious content creation devices. It would be extremely frustrating to type this article out on the best of tablets. It would be even more frustrating to edit a 1000 word piece, and near impossible to be multitasking. Am only talking text input here, let’s not even go the route of creative work (photo, video production or animation). Lest we forget, all that programming to make the coolness in mobile happen? That’s done on a PC. You’ll scare the life out of programmers if you tell them they’ll need to code on a 10 inch touch device.

There’s only so much you can do with 5 inches – make that 10, if you are on tablets – and we are talking smartphones here, just to be sure. Gaming (of the serious kind) is still a fight between PCs and consoles, and not mobiles. If Angry Birds is your idea of the ideal game, you’ll be perfectly fine with a smartphone, but don’t forget the growing PC gaming market. I game on both, my PC and an Android device and I like both the experiences. However, if I had to pick one over the other for gaming, it would be the PC, without second thoughts. The same preference applies to watching movies – TV over PC over mobile (if at all).

Being accustomed to carrying our personal computing literally everywhere we go, and all the feel good factor surrounding it, thanks in great part to marketing, you may find the PC a tad too old school – it requires you to sit in one place (or offers only limited mobility in case of a laptop).The arrival of a newer cooler technology often sounds the death knell for the existing one, but that’s only when both attempt to solve the same problem or give users the same functionality. The PC vs mobility scene is not quite like that – your laptop cannot be carried in your pocket and your mobile phone cannot be used to comfortably type a detailed reply to an email. So enough with the post PC era, the two will co-exist, simple because they have to.

About the Author: Kailas Shastry has been in the media and communications field for 8 years. Most recently he was Executive Editor at a consumer technology portal.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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