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PC not dead – just different

Despite reports of slowing PC sales and claims of its death, the real truth is that the PC is very much alive with its form factor evolving to suit user’s needs, writes GRAHAM BRAUM, GM at Lenovo Africa.

Susan started her new job as a junior attorney at a prestigious law firm today. She was given a company tablet, running Windows 8, to ensure she can work from anywhere. Susan has never worked with Windows 8 before. At university, she would often start an assignment on her personal Macbook, which she didn’t like carrying around. Pressed for time, she would save a draft version to a cloud service, and pick up where she left off on her Android smartphone, while waiting to see the doctor.

However, after a few hours exploring the Windows operating system on her work device, she’s soon showing her boss information she found that relates to a case he’s working on. She even shows him a few tricks she picked up along the way.

Susan represents any young executive, student or school-going child in South Africa today. Youth are comfortable with, and able to navigate, just about any operating system. They’re accustomed to touch devices, multitasking and doing just about anything on the move. They switch seamlessly between work mode on a laptop, to social mode on a smartphone, without ever slowing to adapt to a different device or operating system between tasks.

Multimode, multitouch – one device

At Lenovo, we recognise that life has more than one mode, and that technology should, too. We believe the future of computing is in multitouch, multimode devices – single, convertible devices that operate as tablets as well as notebooks, and that can rotate, sometimes up to 360 degrees (like the Lenovo Yoga Notebook family), to become entertainment hubs, recipe stands or presentation screens. These devices can be controlled using up to 10-point multitouch points, opening up a variety of different applications in a host of industries.

Convertible, detachable devices will transform the way users live, work and play. Technology should adapt to our changing lives, not the other way around. While people have become accustomed to carrying more than one device, we see a future where one device doubles, even triples, to become an all-in-one productivity tool, freeing up arm space and streamlining our technology usage. One device will do everything – a hybrid, if you will – combining hardware and software to produce a solution that addresses all of our unique and varied needs.

Long live the PC

Despite reports of slowing PC sales and proclamations of its ‘death’, the real truth is that PC form factors are changing. Usage models are changing too and very different devices are fuelling more benefits for end-users, allowing them to be more productive than ever before.

As a result, most enterprise customers are talking about centralised server-based computing and cloud, but in reality this is not necessarily the right fit for all businesses. For the majority of small, medium-sized and large businesses, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M93p Tiny is ideal. The compact, hide-anywhere, no-compromise performance desktop PC can disappear behind a monitor with an optional VESA mount, or can be mounted below a desk. It weighs from as little as 1.3kg, hosts VPro and Trusted platform manager, and complies with 8 Mil-Spec criteria: dust, shock, temperature extremes, humidity and impact.

In October, PC analyst IDC noted that a slight uptick in business volumes contributed to increases in PC shipments. The top three vendors (Lenovo, HP and Dell), which all have an important presence in the enterprise and public sectors, each saw year-on-year growth during the fourth quarter of 2013. Further, in December, IDC said the emergence of two-in-one devices designed to function in both clamshell and slate configurations is expected to provide some new volume for PC vendors and other parts of the traditional PC ecosystem in the coming years.

The PC is very much alive – it just looks different. While you can do a lot with mobile phones and tablets, they are impractical for some tasks, such as content creation and design work. This is what we refer to as the ‚ÄòPC Plus’ era – an era in which mobiles, tablets, smart TVs and PCs all have their place at the tech table. We realise that, while the PC is no longer the only device we use to access the Internet, it is still important. And to play into this importance, it needs to offer new features – including hardware, software, services and content.

According to Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing, the PC Plus market requires fast, efficient innovation as it moves quickly from premium products to mainstream ones, and from mature market domination to emerging market hyper growth.

This fast-paced spread and development is just the beginning. The PC is not dying. It’s getting smarter. And Lenovo is teaching it.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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