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Lenovo: Industry is Not in Post-PC Era

By - Source: Reuters | B 25 comments

PC remains relevant, stresses Lenovo's chief executive.

Lenovo's chief executive believes the PC is still relevant, but consumers want systems to deliver more than basic functionality.

"We don't live in a post-PC world," Yuanqing Yang told Reuters. "We are entering the PC-plus era." He added that PCs in today's age can't be boxes that come with the same design and is just utilized for computing. He believes that PCs must incorporate extra features.

Yang pointed towards Lenovo's Yoga convertible PC line that allows users to convert their computer into a tablet. During CES, the company announced a Windows 8 Touch Portable Monitor and the Yoga 11S laptop.

Despite Yang's optimism pertaining to the PC market, global tablet shipments are expected to best notebooks during 2013. During the October of 2012, tablet display shipments managed to surpass those of notebooks.

 

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  • 19 Hide
    steve360 , January 15, 2013 12:23 PM
    Until there is a new form factor that makes the PC redundant in the same way USB flash drives slowly killed off the floppy disk, PCs are here to stay.

    This post-PC era stuff is subtle Apple trash talk. After all, it was Tim Cook who coined the term.
  • 17 Hide
    virtualban , January 15, 2013 12:13 PM
    Some analysts/companies say PC is dead. Some say it is not.
    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
  • 13 Hide
    ddg4005 , January 15, 2013 12:41 PM
    I agree with his statement. Despite all the doom-and-gloom talk people still buy PCs. A depressed economy and PCs that are powerful enough have most likely caused computer sales to tumble but that doesn't mean it's "all over". I read this morning that Iphone 5 sales are down; does this mean we're entering a "post smartphone era"?

    Hyperbole makes for interesting news headers but necessarliy true ones.
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    virtualban , January 15, 2013 12:13 PM
    Some analysts/companies say PC is dead. Some say it is not.
    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
  • 3 Hide
    diddo , January 15, 2013 12:15 PM
    I had agreed until the launch of Bob 8 Squarepants.
    Then, I understood the industry needs to move away from MS now that its leadership is no longer in a sane state of mind.
    Vista 8 did not unified MS GUIs, it Zunified them.
    And deserves a similar end.
  • 3 Hide
    virtualban , January 15, 2013 12:16 PM
    p.s. the death of the traditional PC, with big screen and easy I/O devices will only happen if something better comes along.
    Oculus Rift + VR gloves or kinect-like devices. That could be it.
    Tablet and smartphones, no.
  • 19 Hide
    steve360 , January 15, 2013 12:23 PM
    Until there is a new form factor that makes the PC redundant in the same way USB flash drives slowly killed off the floppy disk, PCs are here to stay.

    This post-PC era stuff is subtle Apple trash talk. After all, it was Tim Cook who coined the term.
  • -6 Hide
    evilsizer , January 15, 2013 12:27 PM
    We're not far away from traditional desktops becoming more rare. Between consoles, tablets, smart phones, and laptops. Most of us have much less need for the traditional desktop. I don't create high end graphics or do real video editing, nor do I really play games on the PC anymore. I know many do, but more and more consumers are walking around with all that they need. There is still a place for desktops, just few people feel the need to make themselves stationary for the same programs that they can be mobile with.
  • 13 Hide
    ddg4005 , January 15, 2013 12:41 PM
    I agree with his statement. Despite all the doom-and-gloom talk people still buy PCs. A depressed economy and PCs that are powerful enough have most likely caused computer sales to tumble but that doesn't mean it's "all over". I read this morning that Iphone 5 sales are down; does this mean we're entering a "post smartphone era"?

    Hyperbole makes for interesting news headers but necessarliy true ones.
  • 2 Hide
    antilycus , January 15, 2013 12:41 PM
    getting away from the traditional ATX powersuplly and moving to MicroITX size or just ITX in general (for the modders) is still going extrememly strong. I just dont need 10 drive bays and a mid size ATX case anymore. Not even w/ my GPU.
  • -1 Hide
    Soda-88 , January 15, 2013 12:57 PM
    "Lenovo's chief executive believes the PC is still relevant, but consumers want systems to deliver more than basic functionality."

    Name one thing PC can't do that some other form factor computing device can... If people have problems with a big box on/under their desks then that's their psychiatrists' problem, not PC manufacturers'
  • 7 Hide
    wlachan , January 15, 2013 12:59 PM
    Notebooks might be far more popular than desktops for the consumer markets, but they are still PC, even the Apple (just with different OS). Also, tablets aren't replacing PC anytime soon for many sectors because the need for PC goes far beyond email or social networking.
  • 6 Hide
    Spooderman , January 15, 2013 1:03 PM
    evilsizerWe're not far away from traditional desktops becoming more rare. Between consoles, tablets, smart phones, and laptops. Most of us have much less need for the traditional desktop. I don't create high end graphics or do real video editing, nor do I really play games on the PC anymore. I know many do, but more and more consumers are walking around with all that they need. There is still a place for desktops, just few people feel the need to make themselves stationary for the same programs that they can be mobile with.


    There is always the prospect of gaming. You're not playing any modern games in high resolution on a tablet, smartphone, or laptop. That's a huge factor in the lifespan of PC's.
  • 5 Hide
    TeraMedia , January 15, 2013 2:17 PM
    If I were an analyst...

    Give me a rift-enabled virtual office, and I'll turn off my laptops for good. A device the size of a 2.5" drive could be built with enough CPU power, RAM, SSD storage, RF connections and the like to power a 3D 1080p Oculus Rift set plus audio. Such a device could provide the equivalent of surrounding yourself with six 84" 4K 16:16 displays in a cube arrangement. Even better, because your body, desk and chair wouldn't get in the way when you look down. I could definitely use a desktop with that size.

    Add a video camera with super-visible wavelength support so I can see a bit of IR and UV in addition to what's in front of me when I want to.

    Add a pair of lightweight gloves with accelerometers and gyroscopes, and tactile feedback in the fingertips to take over the job of the keyboard, mouse, touchscreen and touchpad.

    What isn't changing is the need to interact with a device that has complementary capabilities to our own. Computers print better, store better, remember better, communicate better, network better (only non-socially, of course), show better, and calculate better than people do. What is changing is the set of ways that people interact with computers. Screens and monitors are clumsy because they originated from tube technology that was inherently large, heavy and clumsy. They are also designed to display the same image to several people at a time. Modern LCD and OLED display technology is not encumbered in that way, so wearable video is possible. Keyboards are clumsy because they are derived from mechanical devices with swinging metal arms, and the keys were arranged to deliberately slow down typists so that the keys and arms wouldn't jamb. There is no longer a speed limit on data entry necessitated by technology, nor is there a constraint to use a set of button presses. Much faster, more accurate, and more efficient data entry should be possible.

    The PC-as-a-box-under-your-desk (or on it) era is over. Office users are better served with a laptop, tablet, AIO, or some combination thereof. Gaming PCs will necessarily evolve as the discrete market gets squeezed by mainstream APU improvements, until the size of the market no longer justifies its existence. Workstations can combine these same general-purpose mobile computing devices with local or server-based processing modules to perform the types of high-performance processing required for rendering, compiling, video processing, etc.
  • 2 Hide
    evilsizer , January 15, 2013 2:23 PM
    Gaming is still the main reason to have a desktop in your home. I in no way will knock the significance of a good gaming rig that you have to upgrade with every game you buy. I love being at the head of the pack in frame rates, but where the the average consumer is what he's really talking about. I've seen the selection of games for PC. Each year the number continues to go down of games made for the PC. Though there will always be those that want to see games at the highest settings, it's hard to ignor that fact that most consumers just want to play the game at the cheapest price possible. Consoles are even taking over HTPC space, home automation, and becoming a hub for everything entertainment. So why does the average consumer need the desktop anymore? I understand why the gaming community wants a power rig, but the huge majority of consumers out there get their game play from consoles and phones now. Ease of use is winning over grahics quality and game play. Add in the added cost and tech know how needed for a great rig. Most people simply want to hit the power button and have no idea what the name of the hamster is inside of the box.
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , January 15, 2013 2:28 PM
    I agree, we are definitely in the PC+ era. You cannot properly survive on a phone, or tablet, or some other portable device alone (with the exception of a full blown laptop).

    HOWEVER, looking down the pipe, I can see where things will change...
    Note that the PostPC era does not mean that there are no PCs. There will always be a need for a PC for high end gaming, true bulk storage, and content creation. The PostPC era will not be an era without PCs, but rather a time when the PC is a resource rather than an interface.

    nVidia's Project Shield is the perfect example of this! Your PC is still around somewhere in the house. You then have a portable device which uses the PC's resources to play your game, and that same portable device beams the game to whatever TV you are sitting in front of. You still NEED that PC to play high end games... but sitting in front of it becomes optional, and the PC itself is only needed if you want to play those PC titles (I imagine if the NextBox runs win8 there could be an app/mod to use Shield with it as well).

    SmartGlass is another perfect example of this, and I think when the NextBox comes out late this year it will become more clear that your mobile device becomes your interface for your devices. right now it is just being used as a media controller and extra content display, but there is no reason that it could not do so much more if the console itself had a bit more horsepower.

    Intel and MS have both said that the future will be a sea of devices (PCs, TVs, consoles, Smart Home devices, HVAC, security systems, radios, bank accounts, etc.), which you interact with via your personal device.
    The idea is that your personal device (be it a phone and/or tablet) will hold your credentials, your small files, and possibly even all of your software, and then your various home devices will augment the capabilities of the device. The personal device needs to be faster than what we have today, but it does not need to do all of the heavy lifting. It will leverage your PC, your displays/TVs, your console, etc. to do all of the hard work, while the personal device simply directs what is going on.

    Win8 is already set up to take the first steps of this. The whole MetroUI is not about moving to a tile interface... that is just aesthetics, and may change a bit over time. The metro half of win8 is about moving from a desktop workflow to a services workflow. It is an architecture designed around the idea that your device is connected, and that different services can link together to bring about something greater than the individual services provide. It also introduces the idea that you may control other devices with your PC (smartglass for PC), and even hints at the idea of providing services for other devices on the network.
    For example, my wife's PC only has a 120GB SSD in it. But if you ask her, she is under the impression that she has 2.7TB of storage on it. That 2.7TB is a share that actually resides on my computer, but that fact is pretty much invisible to her and the software on her computer. Similarly, we are using Skydrive as a sinking service across our machines and phones. So when we take a picture on our phones it automatically shows up on our computers. Or, if we download or modify a picture on our computers it makes it available to our phones. The phone (or my wife) does not know where the file originates from, but the idea is that she uses her computer to change a file that resides on my computer, which is immediately available on her phone. It is all seamless, and it feels to the end user that everything is local... but the reality that all she is really interacting with are services. Services which will be easily duplicated if her desktop were to be swapped out with a future tablet or smart phone. I don't think it will happen 'soon', but I do think that it could be within 5 years, and definitely happen within 10.

    And what's more; When we hit the postPC era the PC will be optional. This means that personal devices like phones and tablets will have enough storage to hold all of the average persons documents and software, have enough compute to have a full web or game experience when linked to a TV, and enough battery life to last all day. Obviously we have a ways to go. I think we are seeing some high end phones and tablets that can begin to provide the web and game experience if there was a way to hook them up to a TV, but we need to see phones with 120-512GB of storage, and a combination of more efficient processors, lower power screens, and bigger batteries to provide that battery longevity. But still, I think we will see those markers hit within 5 years. Phones already have the capability of having more storage (they simply don't in order to push cloud storage and to give future upgrade points), they are nearly fast enough to give a convincing web and casual game experience, so the only missing links are shrinking power usage and raising battery life, and then having more connectivity paths to hook up to large displays and other devices. It is really not that far out of today's reach.

    So ya, all of that to say that we are in the PC+ era, with the postPC era well on it's way. But no, the Post PC era will not be an era without PCs. That is just journalism. But I think we will see some fundamental changes in how we interact with all of our connected devices pretty soon which will usher in that postPC era.
  • 2 Hide
    CaedenV , January 15, 2013 2:35 PM
    ddg4005I agree with his statement. Despite all the doom-and-gloom talk people still buy PCs. A depressed economy and PCs that are powerful enough have most likely caused computer sales to tumble but that doesn't mean it's "all over". I read this morning that Iphone 5 sales are down; does this mean we're entering a "post smartphone era"?Hyperbole makes for interesting news headers but necessarliy true ones.

    More of a post Apple era
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , January 15, 2013 2:45 PM
    antilycusgetting away from the traditional ATX powersuplly and moving to MicroITX size or just ITX in general (for the modders) is still going extrememly strong. I just dont need 10 drive bays and a mid size ATX case anymore. Not even w/ my GPU.

    But isn't that the point? The PC is no longer a big desktop that had tons and tons of (often unused) connectivity which runs Windows or Linux. The power needed for a PC can be found in a surprisingly small package, and now with WinRT we can potentially have a windows desktop experience outside of the x86 universe (its all a matter of compiling and side loading desktop apps). The problem is that when you get into these smaller form factors there start to be advantages to getting more of an appliance style device rather than a PC. Similarly, via things like Shield, or logmeinpro, or smartglass, the PC experience can be displayed on another device, while the PC itself becomes more of a provider of services.
  • 0 Hide
    npcomplete , January 15, 2013 2:55 PM
    Lemme get pedantic for a minute: PC = personal computer

    As such, aren't laptops, including ultrabooks and convertables, also PCs? Aren't tablets and smartphones also PCs?

    If anything it seems like we're just taking some functionality of PCs and embedding them into various devices or form factors and intended, but not exclusive, usage models e.g. a smartphone is a PC embedded into a phone

    So really, this post-PC or PC-plus era, or whatever you want to call it, is really a divergence-of-the-PC era, where the gene of the PC is being spread around in different forms. Full fat traditional desktop PCs might reach a saturation point in terms of growth, BUT people will still buy news ones every several years at least, and power users upgrade in less time. People will buy other devices, smaller, portable PC forms, but will still need the full fat PCs for heavy lifting. Heck, I'd include small servers in PCs since any PC can also be shared and used remotely as well.

    I do think there is still room for growth in full fat PCs (and this PC-plus concept) outside of North America and Europe.
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , January 15, 2013 3:35 PM
    Well, we've been saying this for a long time. it's common sense. Almost everyone i know has a PC first and then a smartphone/tablet.

    steve360This post-PC era stuff is subtle Apple trash talk. After all, it was Tim Cook who coined the term.

    ironically i need my pc to add a new playlist to my ipod.

    npcompleteLemme get pedantic for a minute: PC = personal computerAs such, aren't laptops, including ultrabooks and convertables, also PCs? Aren't tablets and smartphones also PCs?

    FFS. NO. PC=IBM PC like, that keeps to spec, that has that 14.3 MHz main crystal and 32.7 MHz RTC crystal, and is not Atom SoC based.

    IBM never invented the personal computer, but they did invent the "PC", and as a trademark, it's theirs. Or was, i'm no lawyer so don't quote me on patents and trademarks regarding current validity.
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , January 15, 2013 4:32 PM
    npcompleteLemme get pedantic for a minute: PC = personal computerAs such, aren't laptops, including ultrabooks and convertables, also PCs? Aren't tablets and smartphones also PCs?If anything it seems like we're just taking some functionality of PCs and embedding them into various devices or form factors and intended, but not exclusive, usage models e.g. a smartphone is a PC embedded into a phoneSo really, this post-PC or PC-plus era, or whatever you want to call it, is really a divergence-of-the-PC era, where the gene of the PC is being spread around in different forms. Full fat traditional desktop PCs might reach a saturation point in terms of growth, BUT people will still buy news ones every several years at least, and power users upgrade in less time. People will buy other devices, smaller, portable PC forms, but will still need the full fat PCs for heavy lifting. Heck, I'd include small servers in PCs since any PC can also be shared and used remotely as well.I do think there is still room for growth in full fat PCs (and this PC-plus concept) outside of North America and Europe.

    It depends on who you talk to. The original IBM PC and IBM clone simply meant that it was a computer designed to be used by an end user rather than being attached to a work environment. However, that definition has evolved over the years. Personally I view a PC as being a box that is highly modifiable where I have the ability and the rights to change just about any aspect of the device I want to in order to meet my personal needs. This means that if I want to install a different OS, then I can. If I want to throw the parts into a different case or form factor, then I can. If I want to upgrade the hardware, then I can do so incrementally, or scrap the whole box and start over from scratch. It is my personal box, and I can do whatever I want to (within the constraints of hardware compatibility) without MS or apple, or dell, or whoever telling me what I can or cannot do with my device.

    So personally I do not view phones, tablets, or laptops as PCs because you are extremely limited on the hardware and software available to change. Similarly, macs are not PCs because you are tied to the Mac OSX ecosystem, and outside of changing the ram or HDD then there is little else you can do to their machines. Dell/HP/Acer/whoever desktops CAN be PCs, but not necessarily. For example, because everything is tied to the BTX form factor it severely limits what can be done... but you can swap out things like the GPU, PSU, and even the CPU on these boxes, so they are highly modifiable, and you are not tied to a set OS even though it is highly unlikely that you would change the OS. But then you look at newer win8 boxes which are tied to win8 (or newer) via secure boot... so there goes the PC standard in my book. Also you look at more of these SFF devices which are very much taking an appliance approach to computer design, rather than a part-swapable PC design, and while they are cute, they are not PCs in my book either.

    Clear as mud right?

    I guess it is simplest to think of it this way:
    A PC is a device that you can change to suit your needs and whims. An appliance is a device that serves a fixed function. Phones and Tablets are appliances. Consoles and nettops are appliances. Servers and Workstations are appliances, but can occasionally be PCs (more often you have a PC working as a server or workstation). Laptops are typically appliances, but can be PCs. Desktops are generally PCs, but are typically used as appliances.
    That is not to say that appliances cannot be hacked or modded to be used for something else. Simply that it is not designed to have such things done to them, and you can only hack and mod them to a relatively limited degree.

    The issues is not that there is anything inherently 'wrong' or 'bad' about the end of the 'PC Era'. It is simply frustrating for people who spend so much time and effort in designing, building, maintaining, and upgrading their PCs, that the thought of it potentially ending is like destroying something sacred. In my family I grew up with an 8086 IBM, which was replaced by our first 'PC' which was a 286 IBM clone, which evolved into a 386, 486, and a Pentium 2. Then when I was in highschool I saved my pennies and built my first Pentium 3, which has evolved over the years into a Pentium 4, Sempron 64, Core2Duo, and now i7. That is 25 years of toying with PCs, and I have enjoyed all of it (except for the sempron... but that was an emergency), and to think that the 'PC Era' will eventually die and be replaced by a sea of pre manufactured black boxes which I have limited ability to access or make changes to is more than a little sad for me and my peers.

    However, at the same time, I look at my current build, and realize that I will probably not make any major changes to it for 5-7 years (other than a newer GPU at some point), and in 5-7 years when this rig dies or needs a refresh I will have a choice: Buy that one last rig for 'old time's sake' which will probably be more expensive and difficult to design than it is worth, or purchase cheap and easily replaceable appliances which will provide CPU, GPU, and storage resources to my smaller portable devices. To be honest, as much as I love my PC, there will be a really big pull to move to the newer device-augmented platform as that is where the innovation will live.

    What really blows my mind is that my son, who is currently 1, will probably never build his own rig. I have no doubt that he will game, and have some really fun hardware, but it will not be the same. Growing up my dad and I bonded over fixing and building the home computers, but when my son is ~10 years old that will barely be an option. Again, there will be some sweet hardware, and I am sure we will spend our time designing and executing plans for what we want, but it is going to be very different from the days of my dad and I huddled over a bench with a light and a soldering iron trying to repair the PC... but then again, he did not have the same experiences with his father, and my kiddo will not likely have the same experiences with his son as he has with me. But growing up you always assume things will pretty much be the same, and I think a lot of the backlash against the idea of the 'Post PC Era' is a healthy pride in what people can build for themselves right now, combined with that nostalgia of seeing all that hard effort going towards something which gets replaced.
    But building a PC now is not nearly was it was 10+ years ago. Building a PC then took real research and an understanding of how hardware worked. Now you simply find a parts list online, purchase those parts, plug them in, and install the OS and drivers. Pretty simple, and you typically know what kind of performance to expect when in the design process because everything gets benchmarked. Back in the day you had to do tons of research to pick parts, hope you purchased compatible parts, and hope you purchased parts that had drivers for your OS of choice. Then, if you got that far, you would benchmark the system yourself, find where the bottlenecks were, and spend the next 2-3 months exchanging hardware until you got a good balance of power for your final build. And you would never take a soldering iron to today's stuff if a resistor went bad like you use to, because the parts are simply too small to work on.
    In a way the PC is already a collection of appliances within a box. The Post PC era will simply put each part into smaller boxes which can be mixed and matched with other devices.
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , January 15, 2013 4:37 PM
    This news is a week old and kind of pointless, just saying.
  • 1 Hide
    nforce4max , January 15, 2013 7:09 PM
    I loathe the idiots that act as if a proper PC is gone the way of the VCR that stand by their tiny unusable tuch screen "phones" that look at any desktop/laptop as being "outdated". Try doing all your work on that tiny little "phone" when it can make or break your job or school. I do like mobility and connectivety but these "phones" are just that and toys. They can't replace and won't replace the PC anytime soon but will outsell.
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