In 2014, productivity was officially emancipated from the office environment. The database burst from its desktop shackles like a number-guzzling hulk. Emails prowled in the shadows of our smartphone notification lists, one tap away from unleashing a stream of off-the-clock dilemmas. Wi-Fi finally became near-widespread, and 4G flourished.
But however sleek, portable and omnipotent they may be, this army of Chromebooks, tablet laptops, mini tablets and smartphones has increasingly subjugated our attention spans, bringing pangs of doom to the before-celebrated ‘ding’ of a notification.
Proponents of the desktop might struggle to see the light beyond the wall of gleaming, touch-sensitive surfaces, but there’s still hope for our PC heritage. Perhaps this is why some companies are attempting to invigorate PC sales, upping specs, streamlining designs and reimagining the user experience for people interested in PCs.
Take Intel, for instance. The company recently announced the launch of a fifth generation of core processors, an augmentation to their range that will bring a welcome boost to the capabilities of desktops and high-end laptops alike. Add to this their development work with the NUC (Next Unit of Computing) and it seems that the vision for the future of the desktop is more one of evolution than extinction.
Hewlett Packard have also been shrinking hardware. Their two new mini-desktop prototypes have been unveiled, weighing in at just 1.6 pounds with a dainty stature of less than three inches. If the company pulls off the HP Pavilion Mini Desktop and the Stream Mini Desktop, HP could have a product that corners the family market almost literally in the palms of their hands.
Let’s not forget about industry-defining Microsoft. The highly anticipated release of Windows 10 will hopefully provide crossover for PC users who have become frustrated with the Windows 8.1 tablet-oriented interface. The new OS will reintroduce some of the desktop features which were lost with its predecessor, including the return of the Windows Start menu, and the resolution of many incompatibility issues which have come with designing an OS around a touch screen. The introduction of a more desktop-friendly version may tempt disillusioned customers back to the brand, and make it once again cool to admit “I’m a PC.”
There’s no denying that the business world is becoming increasingly easy to pop into our pockets. But do we really want to carry all that virtual baggage? With the evolution of desktops, perhaps 2015 is the year to leave business on the desk, or, at the very least, in the cloud until first thing Monday morning.
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