What does “personal computing” mean to you? PC Mag defines it as “using desktop and laptop computers for personal use.” Let’s just say I approach that explanation with a bit of pause. After all, tech is my industry—I live and breathe it on a professional level, but I think sometimes those of us in this business often forget that we also consume it like crazy, too. This is tech’s game, and we’re all just playing it. Personal computing is unrecognizable today compared to its inception—let’s talk about where it’s going from here.
Personal Computing Then and Now
Computers used to be entire rooms of technology for computation, but boy has that changed. Now we are sitting on the edge of a deluge of IoT devices, immersed in social media, and probably getting ready to check our email on a portable device. Today, those “rooms of computation technology” can actually be entire buildings’ worth of technology that fit into our pocket or onto a wearable.
In short, personal computing has moved beyond hardware into our lives, our relationships, our work, our entertainment, our play, our hobbies and our homes. Nothing is more personal than our life experiences, and computing has become part of almost every aspect of it.
Trends Shaping the Future of Personal Computing
There are several high-profile personal computing trends that have gone mainstream in recent years—take cloud computing, social media networking, and computer privacy and security initiatives, for example. In this post, though, I’d like to talk about the new and the novel—the things that make you say, “Cool” or “It’s about time.” Luckily, I have a lot to choose from—so I’ve narrowed the list to my top five.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) breaks into industry (not just video games). I’ve touched on this subject a little in the past, but it’s tempting to elaborate on the discussion, especially with the parallel rise of 3D cameras able to model our world and increase interactivity—more on that in a minute. AR and VR have the potential to create new, more efficient realities in customer-facing situations—like touring real estate or test driving cars—and also in collaborative enterprise and manufacturing/design environments. And those 3D cameras? They utilize an infrared projector to produce detailed images of faces or spaces, and some even allow the biometric authentication built-in to Windows 10 that has features like 3D scanning and touch-free gesture control.
Machine learning converts real-time big data into personalized user experiences. Machine learning—AI, if you will—can harness the data collected by the sensor-driven IoT and create specifically tailored user-experiences. The kicker? Because part of AI’s appeal is its ability to be anticipatory in some cases, this personalized user experience can be created in real-time—or even sooner—to completely revolutionize how we interact with technology.
Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) changes the user experience across devices, including those connected to the IoT. HSA is all set to be the next industry standard in terms of connectivity, integrating and leveraging different compute elements to help lessen inefficiency and risks associated with routine computing. HSA can even boost supercomputing efforts by taking advantage of the collective processing power of a large number of servers—or an even larger number of IoT connected devices.
The phablet is reborn and redefined in HP’s Elite x3. The Elite x3 is the phablet, if phablets were to ride first class—and, ironically, it’s those business travelers it’s hoping to hook. The device has a 6-inch display, a battery that supports wireless charging and runs Windows 10. Most importantly, it can function as a smartphone and (thanks to Continuum) a desktop PC or laptop with the help of a couple accessories. (If that’s not enough—just as a bonus, look for tiny computers like Raspberry Pi and InFocus Kangaroo to change the way we think about and use personal computers, too.)
It’s difficult to imagine where we’d be without the rise of personal computing all those years ago. I most certainly wouldn’t be here writing this, and that’s a fact. On the flip side of that, the future of the industry seems limitless. Do any of the trends stand out as especially intriguing? Can you think of any up-and-coming trends I left off the list? If so, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
This article was brought to you in part by HP, Inc. Opinions and thoughts are those of the author.