Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Are we in the Post-PC era?

Image

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably been buried in iPad news by now. But with the announcement of the new iPad came the return to talks of a “post-pc era”. For anyone who doesn’t already know, the post-pc era is supposed to mark the end of a time when the traditional desktop/laptop computing experience is usurped by the tablet and smartphone. There is a bit of truth to this, but for the most part it’s just hyperbole from marketers trying to get us hooked on the next thing and reporters looking for clicks.

The undeniable truth of the matter is that sales for smartphones and tablets (at least apple tablets) are where we’re seeing the majority of growth. At the iPad announcement Tim Cook announced that iPad sales had exceeded laptop sales from a slew of high-profile manufacturers including Acer and Lenovo. I’m not debating the truth of that statement but I will contest the impact of it. Apple and a good percentage of the tech news circuit would have you believe that this means people are giving up their computers en masse and jumping to the iPad. That’s just not true. Tablet and computers from day one have had two very separate uses and appeals. A tablet shows its strengths with it’s simpler and more intuitive design and beautifully laid out apps, web browsing, games and media in genera where a computer would shine with higher-end media and production. I’m not going to sit down on a tablet and type an essay or even edit more than a few pictures any time soon, it’s just not practical. Some people might make a case for a dock but then how is that any different/better from using a laptop? 

There are two reasons why smartphones and tablets outsell tradition computers and neither of them have anything to do with replacing the latter. The first reason is the personality of tablets and phones. In an average famiily there is probably a main desktop for shared use and maybe a laptop or two for the parents.  You can have multiple accounts and aside from timeshares, there usually isn’t a problem with sharing a computer. Tablets and phones are a completely different story though. I wouldn’t let anyone use my phone for an extended period of time, it’s just too personal. A tablet i’d be a little more open to sharing but I still wouldn’t co-own with anyone. Because of this reason most families have phones for every member and tablets are following that same trend.

The second reason is getting closer to the media push. Tablets and phones don’t last long. I’ve had my Macbook pro for nearly two years now and it’s still as sleek, fast and capable as when I first got it (even more so but I’ll come back to that later). If all goes well I won’t have any good reason to replace it for another two years, just try keeping a tablet/phone for that long. I got my first smartphone last summer (1 GHz, dual core, 4 inch screen, 5mp camera… the average high-end smartphone at the time) and it’s already feeling dated. Motorola doesn’t feel like updating to the latest OS and there’s nothing I can do about it plus new apps are already running slower than they should. I had an iPad 1st gen and it was experiencing the same age problems along with just looking like garbage compared to the latest slab. This shift from a 4-5 year replacement time to a 1-2 year means that every person who buys in to a tablet counts for twice the sales at least. And when yo consider that every member of the family upgrades their phone once every other year, that’s about 8+  phone purchased for every laptop renewal period. Even if everyone keeps their traditional computers and only a quarter of those people have tablets, tablet sales are still going to reflect a large percentage of the market. 

Image

So why the push for the “post-pc” era? Mostly the second reason. The computer market is competitive that HP (the world’s largest PC maker) was considering selling its PC division. The overly aggressive PC market pushes profit margins to their thinnest. Apple is the only manufacturer with high returns per computer (Sony is close but they don’t move nearly as many computers). Tablets have much higher margins and because of the constant changes in processors they are replaced at a much higher rate.

And there are some hidden costs to tablets too. If anyone tries to make the PC more “curated” as the tablet is, the masses would throw a fit but tablets started off as a walled garden and people came to accept and even prefer that experience from the very beginning. This means that any media going through the tablet generates revenue for the manufacturer (or Google in Android’s case). Another reason companies want to push tablets is control over hardware. The computer hardware division is highly competitive and cuts profit margins to an extreme. When my computer turned one, I was able to replace the hard drive with a much faster one and double the ram to 8 gigs for south of $150 so my computer still runs faster than the majority of newer ones. When my iPad turned one I just found myself frustrated with all the apps I couldn’t run and I had no choice but to buy a completely new one. Add on top of that the fact that we somehow justify the price markup for memory on a tablet.16 extra gigs shouldn’t cost more than $20 but we pay $100 dollars for it and we’re even willing to pay $300 extra for a whopping 48 gigs more (16-64)! One of the highest-end Solid State Drives on the market (Intel’s) cost under $150 for 120 gigs… that’s less than half the price for more than double the capacity and performance! 

So when you hear talk about the “post-pc” era and all the hyperbole surrounding it, take it with a grain of salt. Companies have a vested interest in getting everyone on tablets and reporters have a vested interest in writing on whatever is new and controversial. People still prefer to watch movies, play games and do work on computers and they’re not leaving any time soon. 

Advertisements

I just looked a…

I just looked at the site stats and I have to say I was more than impressed. It’s been more than 3 months since I’ve posted anything relevant and yet I’m still getting 50+ views per day! I think that speaks plainly to the fact that I should return to posting. I’m not making any promises of tri-weekly posts but if anything major happens/comes out I’ll push out a post for you all. Stay tuned!

Spreading the word!

Here are some of the interviews that I had over lunch

 

 

 

Buying More for Less: Week 2

You’ve decimated half of the leftovers in your fridge, set up the last of your new tech purchases, passed the last of that turkey and even the most stubborn stores have stopped with the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales: that means the holidays are halted right? WRONG! Christmas is just around the corner and the deals are as bountiful as your fridge. Go online and you can still find great deals on Christmas gifts or just more tech toys for yourself. Amazon, TigerDirect, Newegg, and most of your favorite website have probably found some way to turn this trans-holiday lull into a specials zone and drive up sales. Another avenue you may want to explore, woot. Woot.com is a company owned by Amazon.com that focuses on one sweet daily deal. Because of the vagueness of that mission statement, it’s often a hit or miss ordeal (you could get an iPad one day and a Dyson vacuum the next) so you have to check it once every morning and hope that they have something you want; if it is the prices are hard to beat. But woot isn’t just a one trick pony; they have a home.woot site that offers good prices on furnishings and other home décor items; Wine.woot offers quality brand name vintage wines and wine accessories; kids.woot offers deals on kids toys and fun stuff that anyone with an inner child can enjoy; and shirt.woot offers… shirts. All these sites use the same one day, one deal setup but woot does have one more trick up its sleeve, deals.woot. Deals.woot offers five deals each day and below that has deals posted by the woot community from a number of websites. What really drags me into woot though is the feel. The whole thing feels more personal and small business-y (just read their disclamer – yes, I suggested reading disclaimer – and you’ll know exactly what I mean) and it makes shopping a more pleasant ordeal. If there’s anything you’re looking for, I suggest this site as one of the places you should look before you buy. That’s my tip for today, more coming your way next week!

Tech Deals

Whenever people see my collection of technology, they either get the impression that I’m rich or I squander away my fortunes. But having technology isn’t as expensive as you may think and I’ll show you in this new segment. Let’s start with basics that even grandma can get in on. You may be bumming out on that missed chance over black Friday and maybe cyber Monday didn’t rack in the treasure trove you expected to but don’t fret, it’s not over yet. This season is ripe with deals from online retailers; Chiefly Amazon.com. Just watch the hourly deals ticker and you’ll be sure to find yourself a steal. Last year during this post black Friday/pre Christmas sale I was able to snag a pair Monster Turbines for $54.99, these things retail for 129+ regularly so that’s a pretty steep mark down. If you’re looking for a phone, get a new line of service and you’ve got yourself a free high-end smartphone (I’m talking Galaxy, Droid and all of HTC’s offerings, not the cheap stuff) for a penny shipped! Also, if you got that great deal on the TV or Monitor or speaker system, don’t buy the cables in-store! Store often mark up these products to make up for the lowered price on the real tech. And no matter how many BestBuy employees tell you that you need gold plated connections, don’t buy it. If you go to Amazon you can have a brand new pair shipped the next day for 5 bucks or less (assuming that you have Prime, which you should). Newegg, TigerDirect and other retailers also blow out their inventories around this time so if you’re at a desk job or have access to the internet otherwise, it can’t hurt to check out these and other top sites once every hour or two. That’s it for now but there’s definitely more to come!

 

Changes

I was thinking about this blog and how I’ve been looking at it and I think it’s due for a change of pace. As you’ve noticed, I don’t write often but I write a lot. I don’t mean to drag on and on but my double major in history kicks in when I’m writing and I feel like I have to cover all my bases. These posts are actually a cut of my original drafts because they come out so long. Another thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve been very selfish in treating this blog as a way to output my thoughts and never really considering using it to give something to my readers (more on that later). So, starting this week, I’m going to cut down on the editorials (for the sake of your time and my sanity) moving them to once a week on wednesdays or fridays… whichever I see fit. I’m also adding some new topics more focused on you lovely people. Two such topics that I already have in mind are about buying tech products without breaking the bank and answers to questions I get from everyday people about technology and one about hacks that you can try out. I just need to take a break from writing three page Exposés and add a little variety to my blog. I hope you guys enjoy the new layout and expect to hear from me very soon!