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Ubuntu bug #1 closed

Ubuntu bug #1 closed

Posted Jun 1, 2013 19:20 UTC (Sat) by pboddie (guest, #50784)
In reply to: Ubuntu bug #1 closed by khim
Parent article: Ubuntu bug #1 closed

When you mean "standard", I presume you mean "available as an official accessory", or does that multimedia hub use a standard connector to the phone?

I agree that since the profile of one's desktop computer has been largely irrelevant for some time - whether it's a tower under the desk or a mini-PC attached to the back of a screen - how the computing power is delivered is less relevant than the devices you choose to go with it.

We may be seeing ARM-based devices return as competitive desktop computers, but they won't necessarily be dedicated desktop computers. But even if dedicated desktops become extinct, the practice of desktop computing will survive: it's just a way of working, after all.


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Ubuntu bug #1 closed

Posted Jun 1, 2013 19:36 UTC (Sat) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

Don't forget that it's more expensive to make electronics smaller and run in an poor thermal environment (like a sealed phone)

it's going to remain cheaper to build a 'desktop' box that doesn't have to fit in a shirt pocket and be super thin, doesn't include a battery and display, and that can have better cooling and room for expansion (no, USB doesn't always cut it) then it is to build a phone/tablet and use it.

Some people will want to use a mobile thing and carry all their data with them, some people will not choose to do so.

So I don't buy that the "desktop" computer is going to go away completely either.

Ubuntu bug #1 closed

Posted Jun 1, 2013 21:44 UTC (Sat) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

Don't forget that it's more expensive to make electronics smaller and run in an poor thermal environment (like a sealed phone)

Or even a small form factor computer like the one I'm using right now.

So I don't buy that the "desktop" computer is going to go away completely either.

Neither do I, really. In fact, I went from a laptop to a desktop because I don't need the portability, I got to choose the hardware, and I didn't have to pay for a Windows licence I would otherwise have been forced to accept along with the rest of my purchase. But other people will go the same way just to get better performance, better expansion possibilities and better value for money for certain kinds of components.

Ubuntu bug #1 closed

Posted Jun 2, 2013 5:43 UTC (Sun) by FranTaylor (guest, #80190) [Link]

Sure platforms don't "go away" all that often.

But their market share can go WAY down, to the point where they become niche businesses. For example HP still sells VMS and HP/UX systems. These systems have not "gone away" but they have been relegated to niche markets.

All the arguments about smaller components being more expensive, are 100% blown away by economies of scale.

To address your argument about expansion: sure you needed an expandable computer back in the day when a motherboard had the CPU and the RAM and the keyboard controller and little else. But today motherboards come with all the standard peripherals on board so expansion is really not an issue for the majority of users. You also have to remember that those expansion slots are not free either; today connectors cost more than the peripheral chips that are plugged into them. Any peripheral with any kind of popularity at all is going to be incorporated into the motherboard.

Ubuntu bug #1 closed

Posted Jun 2, 2013 5:53 UTC (Sun) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

your economy of scale only works if you have multiple models using the same motherboard.

with mobile devices, every model requires a complete redesign of the circuitry, so you only have your scale match the sales of a particular model

as for motherboards including every possible accessory, that just isn't going to happen.

at the low end, it won't happen because they won't want to spend the money on things they don't need.

at the small end it won't happen because all those accessories need connectors, and there isn't space to put them on tiny devices

As proof that this isn't true, look at the fact that most mobile devices don't include memory card slots. That's something that many people want, but the cost (in money, space for the connector and slot for the card) means that most devices don't contain something that's so useful.

for that matter, Apple couldn't fit video on their new iphone connector and resorted to using wifi to cover the 3 inches to the receive built in on the wire. Who thinks this is a good design?

there are far too many possible accessories to put every one of them on every motherboard.

Ubuntu bug #1 closed

Posted Jun 2, 2013 9:55 UTC (Sun) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

your economy of scale only works if you have multiple models using the same motherboard.

Not the same motherboard. The same SOC. It's [relatevely] easy and cheap to develop motherboard (that's why we are seeing bazillion cheap chineese phones in different form factors), it's hard to design a SOC - but there are just a handful SOCs in existence and this is where "economy of scale" comes into play.

As proof that this isn't true, look at the fact that most mobile devices don't include memory card slots.

Yup. They don't include memory card slots, they include flash memory instead. Have you actually read what FranTaylor wrote? You also have to remember that those expansion slots are not free either; today connectors cost more than the peripheral chips that are plugged into them. Any peripheral with any kind of popularity at all is going to be incorporated into the motherboard. If anything your example WRT memory card slots supports FranTaylor's point, not yours. Connectors are going out, chips which were previously attached via these connectors (GPS, accelerometers, image sensor, flash memory, etc) are going in.

for that matter, Apple couldn't fit video on their new iphone connector and resorted to using wifi to cover the 3 inches to the receive built in on the wire. Who thinks this is a good design?

Apple, apparently. Others have included video, power and USB 2.0 in the connector of similar size. This is scary WRT Apple's future: Steve left us only 1.5 years ago and Apple already lost it's vision of the future. But what this has to do with the future of computing? Apple have started this revolution but then, as usual, have lost it's way - it's no longer in the center of it. Perhaps it'll start some other revolution, perhaps it'll die - does it really matter?

there are far too many possible accessories to put every one of them on every motherboard.

Not that many if you include accessories which may be supported by USB (USB 3.0 if they are fast enough). And most of these fall into "niche market" bucket with pricess above $1000 - thus you can quite literally bundle new android-based PC into these "accessories" instead of the other way around. This is already a trend.

Ubuntu bug #1 closed

Posted Jun 2, 2013 20:04 UTC (Sun) by foom (subscriber, #14868) [Link]

> resorted to using wifi to cover the 3 inches to the receive built in on the wire

No, they really didn't. That would be utterly ridiculous.

What it *does* do is encode the pixels on the screen using a hardware mpeg4 encoder, before sending the video stream down to the adapter [unless it's playing source material that's already mpeg4]. The adapter has a hardware mpeg4 decoder, and it shoves pixels out the HDMI port.

https://www.panic.com/blog/2013/03/the-lightning-digital-...

Ubuntu bug #1 closed

Posted Jun 2, 2013 13:23 UTC (Sun) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

I'm not sure whether laptops outsell desktops but it is still the case that hard disks for laptops carry a premium over the larger profile models. I don't keep up with the component choices of laptops these days, but it used to be the case that you needed the Kingston memory wizard, or whatever it was called, to find suitable memory for a laptop (if you were even able to upgrade the memory), whereas you just used standardised memory for a desktop. And so on. Not all "expansion" is plugging in external peripherals.

Of course, one might not care: I haven't upgraded the memory on my computer, but I've seen people do it to get some more useful life out of their computers instead of just buying a new one, which they may not want to do because of it being an unnecessary expense, it being a chore to migrate to another machine, and for many other reasons.

And with regard to the effort needed to make desktop products, because there has been a lot of standardisation, the threshold for new entrants is a lot lower than for mobile devices. That doesn't necessarily hurt well-resourced companies - they can finance the scale needed to make money - but you can see that people wanting to experiment with hardware and get into the game are hurt by the need to do so much more, as well as by the intensified constraints on hardware design that occur for physically smaller, lower power consumption products.

Ubuntu bug #1 closed

Posted Jun 2, 2013 9:31 UTC (Sun) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

When you mean "standard", I presume you mean "available as an official accessory", or does that multimedia hub use a standard connector to the phone?

It's kind-of-in-the-middle right now. Somewhat similar to early laptops where you often had non-standard connector which you used to connect to dongle with standard LPT/COM/etc ports.

But even if dedicated desktops become extinct, the practice of desktop computing will survive: it's just a way of working, after all.

I'm not so sure. I know of many, many office workers who don't have desktop computers at all. Only laptops. Sure, they are similar to desktop, but as a way of working they are different. Mobile phone which is connected to projector to show presentation or to monitor and keyboard to type large text will be even more different. There will be some users who will use them as today's desktops (after all 1-2% of PC users use them as if they were minicomputers - with X Window system and everything), but this will be small niche, not a mainstream.

Ubuntu bug #1 closed

Posted Jun 2, 2013 13:03 UTC (Sun) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

Oh yes, I've worked in environments of all sizes where everyone have been given laptops, and the justification for using laptops instead of desktops is generally that of flexibility: you can be shuffled from project to project or workspace to workspace, you can go to meetings and present stuff from your own computer, there are fewer wires and less equipment sitting around. All of this became possible when laptops were no longer much more expensive and inferior to desktops.

So, there is this continuing trend, but at the same time there has still always been the desire even in such workplaces for people to have docking stations, additional screens (especially when CRTs started to go away in favour of LCDs, which is a factor behind laptops becoming cheaper, too), external keyboards and mice, and so on. A big reason for this is ergonomics: some people still hate their laptop ergonomics, and some actually become ill if they have to work under such conditions.

I agree that it will become more normal to use mobile devices for the stuff where a laptop is just excessive: when you just want to plug in some device to share content with a projector, for example, messing around with a laptop (even more so when it is a Mac, as I'm sure we've all witnessed) is going to seem more and more ridiculous. But as all the possibilities open up, the "tablet GUI" metaphor may not be mainstream, either: we may see all sorts of specialisations emerging, devices may even support many of them (like the Ubuntu/Android mode switching concept), and for many people life will go on as it always has.


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