About a decade ago, the PC was believed to be well on its way to become the digital hub that enables our digital lifestyle and connects multiple devices, content and entertainment applications.
For most consumers that never happened, but analysts now believe that there is a new digital hub developing that will be the at the center of our "digital lives" by 2014. Gartner says it will be the personal cloud that will replace the PC as the digital hub.
"Major trends in client computing have shifted the market away from a focus on personal computers to a broader device perspective that includes smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices," said Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner. "Emerging cloud services will become the glue that connects the web of devices that users choose to access during the different aspects of their daily life."
Kleynhans noted that we may not be seeing a one-to-one replacement for the PC as cloud computing should be viewed as a new style of personal computing.
Gartner mentioned virtualization among the most significant computer trends at this time, a shift from applications to apps, the emergence of the self-service cloud, much more mobile devices that enable anywhere, anytime computing as well as an ongoing trend of consumerization, in which new technology trends are developed and shaped in the consumer space and then adapted by businesses.
"In this new world, the specifics of devices will become less important for the organization to worry about. Users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub. Rather, the personal cloud will take on that role. Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared in the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than solely focusing on the device itself," said Kleynhans.