What do you think the future will be like?
First off, I couldn't fit this anywhere in the Verge forums. I was going to post it into the Meta section but the description says "about the Verge" and this is nothing of the sort. Well, the tribe it is then.
Second, the real question is actually a little longer;
What do you think the future of our computing lives will be like?
Today we all have a central "hub" to connect to, it's our PC. Some of us have desktops with large hard drives to centralize our digital assets while others have laptops and other storage options (external HDD's, DVD's and whatnot) to fill the void. The point is, the way we consume digital information makes it essential to have some sort of central hub to balance everything.
Assets for consumers are exploding with innovation that only push the need for these "central hubs" stronger. Take a look at our main three computing devices;
HTC HD7 1 (via okalkavan)
The devices most of us (heck all of us on this site) hold in our hands today are called, quite unfairly, Smartphones. They are much, much more then that. Essentially, they are computing solutions that are mobile and fulfill many purposes, one of them enabling you to be "online" and connected to the world at all times.
These personal assistants help us reach information at our will while also capturing moments and information that are essential for us. These might consist of moments captured on video or snapshots of memories. They might be some fast notes taken or a quick reply to an important mail - the point is, our "phones" are not just consumer devices. They are, in all senses, productivity devices too. But the "products" they produce for us are fragile unless backed up and stored properly in our main library.
Tablets are the future of consumer grade computing solutions. They generally excel Laptops and Desktops at the ease information can be consumed (thanks to tailored apps and mobile ergonomics and capabilities) and are between Smartphones and Laptops in productivity. The need for them, while minimal at first, became more apparent as apps and programs written for them grazed their smartphone roots and became more productive. In all fairness, even today, they can replace most peoples computing needs apart from the omission of central storage and backup.
If they had on-the-go access to all of the digital library a person has at any given time, they could even replace the way the nerdiest of us consume information and go about on our daily routine.
Laptops & Desktops
These are the kings of all roads - bar usability. They are by no means "hard" to use nor master, but the way they are built and the tasks they are built for make them weaker devices for information consuming (not referring to research for productivity). Their ergonomics and lack of mobility (even for ultrabook grade laptops) compared to tablets will slowly place them in the center of your home, in which they will probably stay put. Apart from their strength in productivity, these devices are generally everyone's main library of everything digital they own.
These are our library of photos and memories we collected. They are our central media hub from which our more versatile (mobile wise) devices, namely our tablets and phones, feed off from.
So? These are our main copmputing devices, what of them?
The way these devices connect is not optimal for anyone for now (well, maybe except for the audience of this site). Our mobile consuming devices want access to all of our library every time. They want to store their data there and cause less hassle for us.
There is no sense in a central digital library - that is your computer - unless you have very specific reasons (large library of media, delicate information, work assets etc. etc.).
The remedy for this is obvious, the cloud. That is where our centralized hub of media and libraries will be; on the cloud. That should really be apparent by now. The way our mobile computing devices are built begs for central and on-the-go to all of our data, and everyone seems to be trying very hard to be the one company that provides it for us.
Every major tech company is looking out to serve people with a solution "up there". The most dominant OS, created and still being developed by the most "uptight" company is doing an L turn towards it. That is saying a lot about the way computing and consuming is trending towards.
Every tech company, from the one delivering your phone to the one delivering your internet access is on the verge; desperately cheering you on to the cloud. It's everywhere, everyone wants you in the cloud. Why?
- Finally braking links with traditional book-keeping of your digital life, hence the need for deeper knowledge of "how computers and OS'es tick". This will enable the average Joe to consume more! He will use his tablet to access more stuff, he will upload more, use more data - he will be willing to spend more on tech and be able to use it easily.
- The general hassle will be minimal. Support lines wont be filled with computer illiterate people asking directions for the simplest tasks. The cloud and workings of it will be served so readily to everyone (as it is beginning to happen) that support will be much much easier.
- Centralized service, more data to tailor products (in tech) to the huge masses that use them. More information collaboration will help this.
These are just some examples from the top of my head. They will be many, many more that most people wont be able to see now.
I predict that in a very near future (closer then you and I are probably guessing) tablets will replace Laptops. They won't replace them in sheer numbers, but they will replace them in usability. Laptops are yesterdays desktops. Desktops will never die off and neither will laptops - but the need for them will.
Tablets will be most (and I do mean MOST) people's main computing device. Their main library and backup will be their personal cloud service. They will have advanced terminals (tablets and smartphones) connecting to their personal workspace : the cloud that is being served to them.
A little percentage (probably covering everyone here) will oppose that. It won't fit our needs, it will kill our productivity etc. Well I predict that we will start consuming the same way too, but keep other options as well, more for the sake of productivity then general weariness of the "what if" questions.
What's your idea? What will happen?