The once mighty PC treads a path towards extinction

[W]hile PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they’re no longer at the leading edge of computing. They’re going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs.

That’s a strong statement by Mark Dean, made even stronger when you consider his credentials. Dean is IBM’s Chief Technology Officer for the company’s Middle East and Africa region. If that doesn’t lend credence, perhaps this will: Dean was on the team of 12 engineers that designed the original IBM 5150 Personal Computer, which celebrates its 30-year anniversary tomorrow.

Yet with such a rich personal computing history behind him, Dean says he’s moved on from traditional computers already; he now favors a tablet as his primary device.

Dean suggests that new computing ideas such as social networks and consumer interaction are pushing the PC aside. I agree; these activities are mobile by their very nature, and so are the devices that enable them.

That’s why smartphone sales began to surpass that of PC sales earlier this year and why there’s a fast-growing market for portable tablets powered by low-powered smartphone components. Mobile apps that offer bite-sized but specific functionality paired with small connected devices are the new tools of choice for many: Even for one of the men who helped design the first popular PC.

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