The PC or personal computer has been defined as a machine that has a base station, display, keyboard and a pointing device. This has been the mind set of us users, and the industry that has been building PCs for many years. This in many ways has changed, with smaller, more mobile units becoming powerful number crunchers with graphics capabilities to match. Based upon this, any future personal computer will be defined exactly as it sounds – A ‘personal’ computer, which in all probability will become our permanent link to the world around us.
We have all heard the saying – “Computers are getting smaller and more powerful”, and it is true, but the question is why is it true? Technology never stops advancing, but to make powerful machines smaller is not a simple matter of shoving it in a smaller box. You will expect at least the same performance from the machine, and preferably more. In simple terms, this is achieved by etching more and more semiconductors (transistors) onto the same amount of silicon which in turn allows more processes to be carried out simultaneously. The result is a more powerful processor. This tech has allowed PCs to become small enough to fit into watches, rings and even spectacles. Displays have similarly benefitted from such advancements. The Cathode Ray Tube is now a relic with super thin, high definition displays becoming the norm. The next new aspect of this will be 4K screens designed to fit into the smallest pieces of hardware. This, in conjunction with smarter processors will undoubtedly make the PCs of the future devices we wear as opposed to machines we sit in front of.
The internet, without doubt, has revolutionised the way we communicate but the advent of fibre optic internet brings a whole new element to the way we use the technology and is shaping the PC of the future. Instead of actually running our software, they will become more of a display tool with programs, tools and games being held in a cloud server. This is already happening but undoubtedly, cloud use is set to increase and as a result, PC’s will become smaller and more personal to the user.
Other than high end users, requiring massive amounts of processing power, the likelihood is that the PC in the corner of the room will no longer exist; being replaced by small, wearable smart units containing the latest Nano processor technology. Telephone and data services will be interlinked with flexible displays all connected via the cloud. Centralisation of information will be the norm meaning large storage drives will no longer be required, allowing the personal computer to become as personal as it has ever been.
The future of the personal computer is safe, but it’s form and function have changed dramatically, and it will continue to do so as new technologies push back the borders of what we can achieve and what we expect from the ‘simple’ PC.