Technology Nov 2009
Beyond the desktop
Redefining the humble PC
The consumer desktop PC is in the process of being rescued from dinosaur status as it takes a more complimentary role in the growing network of digital appliances around the home and office.
In a digitally literate household with school-aged children one PC was never going to be enough to avoid conflicts between gamers, downloaders, social networkers, emailers, photographers and those with homework commitments.
Internet safety advice to keep family computers in full parental view has contributed to the ongoing design challenge. More aesthetically pleasing and environmentally sensitive units that take up less space, make less noise and gobble up less power are rapidly replacing grey and beige towers.
And the flow on effect of producing lighter, smarter, faster and more
integrated chipsets for notebooks has meant more features can be
squeezed into a casing that looks equally at home on the office desk as
in the lounge or the kitchen.
Overall the consumer desktop market slumped by about 28 percent in the year to June with a number of vendors making losses. The entire market would still be struggling in quicksand if it hadnít been for relatively buoyant notebook and netbook sales.
According to market analyst IDC, Hewlett-Packard holds its number-one
position by a considerable margin with Acer in second spot, followed by
Dell, Apple and Lenovo.
All together now
Now HP, Dell and Acer, with its eMachine, are delivering models that
look more like space age TV sets, integrating all the processing power
behind a widescreen display unit.
HP offers the TouchSmart300 and TouchSmart600 all-in-one dual core models with optional 20 or 23-inch full HD touch sensitive widescreen, wireless keyboard and wifi networking. The touchscreen enables you to rotate and zoom in on images, access multimedia files and navigate the web using two fingers.
These all-in-one units are being marketed as secondary home devices for functional areas of the home like the kitchen, where you might want to bookmark recipe sites, check your social networking status, tap up your email, or find a Google map for instructions to your next appointment.
These major shifts in the look and feel, signal a new era of innovations that are taking the once mundane desktop PC into new territory with greater appeal to a wider range of users.
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