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TODAY'S TOPIC: ARE WE IN THE POST-PC ERA?
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Click to see full-sizeAmazon's $199 Kindle Fire based on a customized version of Android "took off" during the Christmas shopping rush, selling over 1.5 million units during December 2011 alone. Total sales of all four Kindle models was over four million for the same period. While these sales figures "cannibalized" some of Apple's iPad Christmas sales, the iPad 2 still outsold the Kindle Fire. But another spectre is haunting the iPad 2's sales: Apple itself - rumors of the iPad 3, likely to be announced next month, in March 2012, have dampened sales of the current model. Pundits are guessing that the iPad 2 will be marked down to around $299, still $100 more expensive than the Kindle Fire.

With this significant spike in tablet sales, traditional PC notebook and desktop sales have slumped about 6%. Does this mean we're in the post-PC era? While some journalists are trumpeting this tripe, this simply isn't true. From the article iPad, Kindle Fire are not post-PC, says IDC analyst: "We're going through the biggest shift the PC industry has seen in 20 years," Steve Brazier, CEO of Canalys, told CNET. He and other leading analysts consider tablets simply another form factor of the traditional computer, whether they're running Windows, Apple OSX or iOS, Android or Chrome operating systems.

Just as notebooks have overtaken desktop computers in popularity because of their portability (I haven't owned a desktop PC in over 20 years, but I've worn out several notebooks in that period), so tablet computers are taking over many of the tasks that casual users typically perform on notebooks: surfing the Web, reading emails, listening to music, watching videos, etc. These tasks make up probably over 95% of what many millions of computer users do on their devices. These are all considered "information consuming" tasks. But using an on-screen keyboard to write emails quickly becomes tedious, or plugging in an add-on keyboard with a tablet computer basically converts it into a not-very-portable notebook.


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Sign in a doctor's office: "Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular."


So for even basic "information producing" tasks like writing more than just a few emails, not to mention word processing, programming, photo editing, etc., you'll probably find a notebook or desktop computer much more effective. For people (like myself) who spend most of their workday and much free time at a computer, using a tablet computer for casual "information consuming" might provide a cleaner break between "work" and "leisure" time. Such people might have both devices, or perhaps a notebook and a large-screen smartphone. But for those many millions of mainly "information consuming" users, a tablet or smartphone may well be all they need.

In summary, the computer marketplace isn't shrinking, instead it's growing at a good clip! With low-priced devices like $200 tablets and $100 smartphones taking over many of the tasks that notebooks and desktops have been used for, we'll see a rapid growth in the adoption of these convenient little gadgets.


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The Security Blurb:
A good friend recently reminded me of Gibson Research Corporation's "Shields Up" webpage that tests your computer's firewall for possible weaknesses. Check out this page to see if your firewall lets any of the probes get through to your computer - none were able to find my PC, which is running in complete "stealth" mode. On this page you'll also see links to "Perfect Passwords" that generates random 64-character passwords - great for securing WiFi and other services, and the weekly "Security Now!" audio podcast that covers every imaginable question on security you might think of. There are many, many other free services and programs on this website - Steve Gibson is a computer genius who has made a fortune from programs and devices he has created, and now devotes his time and energies to helping people avoid the possible dangers that exist on the Internet.


The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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