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    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    A PC-less Society?

    The AP, god bless em, finds more trend nuggets than most attribute to them. Hiroko Tabuchi, recently wrote about how PCs are losing their relevance in Japan. Younger generations are apparently choosing to spend money on electronics and digitals that aren't PCs.

    According to Hiroko, "The PC's role in Japanese homes is diminishing, as its once-awesome monopoly on processing power is encroached by gadgets such as smart phones that act like pocket-size computers, advanced Internet-connected game consoles, digital video recorders with terabytes of memory.

    Japan's PC market is already shrinking, leading analysts to wonder whether Japan will become the first major market to see a decline in personal computer use some 25 years after it revolutionized household electronics — and whether this could be the picture of things to come in other countries."

    Analysts seem to think that the cell phones and consoles are stealing the thunder. Consumers now download music straight to their phones instead of computers and choose to read emails over their phones on the go versus a home office. Digital tv's have built in hard drives and movies can be downloaded to an ipod or tv.

    So everyone says the PC is dead, but really i see this as the re-birth of the PC, due in part to three things:

    1. Change in consumer behavior
    2. Change in global trends
    3. Change in retail market

    1. Consumers want to access information anywhere. Cause you can't lug your pc to the library and back.

    2. Global connectivity has a created a flat world where we pull information from virtually anywhere Global markets actually rely on technology more than ever, increasing the need for PCs or PC-like systems in more aspects of our lives.

    3. Retail is now direct to consumer, eliminating storefronts are service centers. The longtail theory exists on the ability to have mass categories of brands based on directly on consumer purchase desire. Consumers want choice without excessive hoops.

    PCs are becoming democratic and incorporated into everything. RFIDs track clothing and proximities, mp3 players are built into sunglasses and ads are tailored to our purchase habits on game consoles and in the games themselves. The PC is becoming localized to its specific channel. I want my mobile phone to update when i enter Charlotte Speedway with the latest race day information. Look at the iPod and Starbucks relationship for localized content downloads with a cup of joe.

    Companies like Google have smartly realized that the PC can exist without the PC. Its the structure and use of technology that we rely on, not necessarily the box. Incorporating the PC into clothing, food, and other aspects of consumer behavior won't kill it, but redefine what computing is. Right now the phone is a natural conduit that will be dominate for awhile. That will change as more technologies are implemented and attack what the phone does best. Apple could surely cram an OS into that ipod but then that would hurt Mac sales....

    The PC is still required for certain things and will for some time. Its role will become split into other areas but the idea of 'computing' will become more intertwined with 'living'. Dare i argue that it hasn't already?

    Sales of actual PC's may be down, but i could bet that technology that uses PC-like systems is actually rising.





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