I believe the personal computer industry has made little progress in
the past 10 years. Why?
As a university professor in electronic physics, my mum is now using a
brand new IBM x60s with Office 2003. She use this little expensive
computer to surf web, checking mails, preparing PDFs and Powerpoint
slides for lectures, play MP3s and sometimes had a SkyPe chat with me.
These things are EXACTLY the same as she was doing 10 years ago, with
Office 97 and a Pentumn II IBM x21. Technology developed, true; Ram
and hard rive size got bumped, true; CPU speed followed the Morse Law,
true; but the interaction between human and computer, the experience,
does not really improved that much.
We still have to "type" every word and to use a mouse clicking around
to operate the system. Nothing is particularly easier or more
comfortable compared with it was 10 years ago.
We still surf the web via search engine, check mails, edit documents
and play media files EXACTLY like what we did 10 years ago. There are
indeed some slight improvements among these things, like Google now is
better than Yahoo 10 years ago, but these changes are not significant
enough when you put it into a 10 year timeframe in the fastest
developing technology industry.
I came across this idea when I was looking for a portable device, with
10"-12" screen that can let me read PDF files (plus light weight
editing), take all my lecture notes (hand writing) and organize my
schedule. The thing should be light weighted and has long battery
life. All requires maximum 2001 technology, but no-one makes such a
thing. When you see people leaving the classic 3Com Post-it notes on
30" Cinema display, you really feel the ironic.
(This thought might not be appropriate, but just trying to explain my
ideas a bit in example).
I did notice in business the technical advancements do benefit a lot,
quick database, more bandwidth etc. So why such a sharp comparison
when technology comes to personal use? Or, does it mean, technology is
not for life?
Have you ever thought that we might be able to do A LOT more with
CURRENT technology (like the hand-writing PDF e-reader stuff I talked
My point here is, the whole PC development has gone to a wrong
direction, and it has reasons:
When computer (pc) was first made available, it only aimed at techies,
the market gradually moved on to business in 80s and early 90s. The
real Personal Computer does not really exist until the late 90s. So
the whole industry is still sticking with the wrong market and refuse
to embrace the new market. Instead of making computer more ?human?,
companies are trying to educate every customer into business user or
It might also due to that most PC companies have been playing with
techies and business consumers for too long that they can't adjust
themselves properly to the switching trend. Sometimes it is not they
don't want to develop more ?human? technologies, is the tech people
within the company don't have the ability to do so.
An interesting thing should be brought up here ? the reborn of Apple
computer. Apple seems to be the first company that realize the next
generation of computer market (the home users), and produced a series
of hardware / software that is more user friendly and intuitive
compared with PC. That?s why they still manage to survive when they
are producing computers with much less computing power (PowerPC was an
energy / efficiency joke) and selling it at higher prices. (Pre-Intel
It is also interesting to look at Apple?s recent switch to the Intel
chips. While the platform remain closed for compatibility, stability
and usability sake, Apple seems to emphasis more on ?speed? rather
than its traditional goodies such as stability and quality. (See
overheated MacBook Pros and the large amount of Random-Shut-Down
To sum it up, what do consumers really want? Are the current
technology offering really satisfied their need or are those
technology companies are keep being ignorant and try to ?Create? need
I?m preparing my final year dissertation on this, but I can?t really
find anyone to chat about this in depth. I tried to Google but few
satisfying results returned. What I need (as this is Google Answer)
are two things:
1. Statistics that might support my idea
2. Existing literature concerning this matter. (I can?t find any
relevant books while this is not very likely to be a completely new
3. Any studies (website / organizations) are dealing with this matter
I am a college student so I can't afford a high answer fees, sorry.
But I really do hope that some of the Pro people can had a chat with
me (no matter how much you know about the idea), but I'm not sure
wether this violates the Google Answers Policy. If I can, please let
me know and I'll leave my contact details.