Desktop's Dead, Baby, Desktop's Dead

Illustration for article titled Desktop's Dead, Baby, Desktop's Dead

John Herlihy, Google Europe's big chief, says that desktops will be irrelevant in three years. Which is precisely why Apple and Google are trying to kill each other, fiercely fighting for the domination of the mobile device world.


Both companies know that mobile computing is where the action is now and where it will be forever. At its presentation, Steve Jobs was adamant that the iPad was the continuation of the battle that started with the iPhone, and repeatedly said that Apple was a "mobile devices company." Google's agreed, which is why Herlihy echoed Schmidt's words at Barcelona's GSM 2010: Everything that Google is doing and planning is centered on the mobile, the cloud, and ubiquitous connectivity.

They are both right: Your desktop computer will disappear, no matter how much the geekdom cries, unless you are an engineer or someone who requires a big screen to work on—and, even then, the idea of the desktop as we know it will change too. The mice will go extinct, and every John and Jane will do their work and their pleasure using mobile devices like phones and tablets. As it should be, because computing has to become invisible, not complicated and cumbersome, like it is today. In a few years, the computing world will be like Star Trek: The Next Generation, but without the Enterprise. [Silicon Republic]



My desktop will not be dissapearing in 3 years.

This is one of those moments where we have to step back and realize where we are in mobile computing growth.

We are currently at a stage of staggeringly high exponential growth in cloud and mobile computing. Phone OSes, tablets, netbooks, laptops are all in a state of transition.

However, as with many disruptive movements, this rate of growth will slow. Not only will it slow but mobile computing's role will stabilize.

I agree that less people will have desktops, and that for most desktop will be a secondary computing device. But the idea that desktops will be gone is a bit over the top. Perhaps Jesus sees this as a writer, who indeed will have no need for a desktop workstation in 3 years.

But as someone who works at a bank where I have to show up every day, and where I need computing power at the lowest possible price more than I need mobility, I can assure you that in 3 years I'll still be doing the bulk of my work on a desktop. I'll definitely be using a mobile platform more than I am today, and for personal use even more so, but the desktop will still be around.