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Old 02-07-2011, 11:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The PC of the Future: Fast, Portable, 3D

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Editor's Note: Given the rise of tablets and smartphones, we've all wondered what the PC of the future will be like--or whether the PC even has a place in the future of computing. With this in mind, we at GeekTech decided to take our best guesses at what the future holds for the PC. First up, James Mulroy.

What does the future of home computing hold for us? Will the PC of the future be small or large? What will it look like--a tablet or a laptop? These are all important questions to ask (well, maybe not that last one). But also ask yourself, what do I want the future PC to hold? Do I want it to be light and transportable, have lots of screen-space? After all of the great new gadgets and components seen at CES 2011 we can see that the PC of the future may take many forms. But take a moment to read what we think the next five years in computing will bring to your lap.

The Guts: Smaller, Faster, Cheaper

Given the current trends toward small devices that can do almost anything, it's very possible that your future PC will do all its processing on a single chip. System on a Chip technology is becoming more and more popular in gadgets like smartphones and tablets, so it isn't a stretch to think that it may end up on PCs, especially since Windows 8 will support Systems on a chip.

But the future PC will likely also take advantage of CPU-and-graphics-processor packages like the AMD Fusion processor, which has both the CPU and GPU. This means less lag time between the CPU and the GPU. Provided Moore's Law continues to work in our favor and isn't faulted by quantum tunnelling (where particles like electrons jump across thin barriers, causing problems across computer chips), the chips of the future will have over sixteen billion transistors on a single chip--yes, that's 16 followed by nine zeros.

For those out there who need even more speed--like researchers who feel like doing work in their bedroom instead of at the lab--you will be able to take advantage of the insane power of 1000-core processors, which researchers believe will become more and more available in the next few years.

For the mere mortals out there, you will be able to access this insane power with cloud computing. We're just starting to see what cloud computing can offer, so it'll be interesting to see where we stand in a few years.
New Display Tech

Ohhh yeaaaah.3D is a hot trend in HDTVs and other gadgets, so it seems logical that it would carry over to PCs. The future PC will also feature autostereoscopic 3D displays--that is, you won't have to wear glasses to get the 3D effect. The screen will have true multitouch features unlike most modern day single touch computers. Future multitouch PCs will also come in different forms
Form Factor

Future multitouch PCs could also come in different forms, like this three-screen Smartphone concept design, you may see three-screen laptops or tablets that fold out whenever you need that extra room (think of a three-screened computer that folds out like a map). You'll be able to drag-and-drop across your multiple screens using the multitouch features(for instance: grab a photo on one screen and pull it to the other with a single drag of the finger). Maybe we'll see something like the BendDesk in the not-too-distant future:

Best of all, these multi-screen devices would be extremely energy efficient, lightweight, and, if advances in display tech are any indication, they could one day be made of a thin film, saving lots of space.

The PC of the future will have more screen space and will take touch-features to the limit. The tablet-like form factor will become the predominate portable PC whether it has one screen or three.
Operating Systems

The OS of the future will be robust and will be able to support anything you try to run on it. Unlike Windows today, the PC of the future will house a simpler less-memory-hogging open source OS like Android that is more compatible with a wide range of programs where OSX and Windows fails . Cloud computing will be on the rise and you will have the option to automatically store your files online and retrieve them anywhere in the world that you have Internet (Think Dropbox on steroids).

Windows will still be around, but it won't be nearly as dominant as it is now. It will be competing a lot more with Android and other emerging OSes. Windows will be forced to open it's doors and become more aesthetically pleasing and user friendly to compete with Mac users.
Special Features

Your PC of the future will be able to play Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD), a new standard under development that is substantially more efficient than blueray and can hold as much as 6TB, although downloadable and streamed media will be much more popular. But for large amounts of data HVD will be used. The PC of the future will be better able to be connected to TV through the use of WHDI.

Traditionally the PC has not been a crowd pleaser with aesthetics, but that's about to change because companies are coming out with flashy new monitor designs. You will also see a huge improvement in PC audio. Your next PC may come with enhanced Dolby surround sound audio technology, a large step up from your standard PC speakers.

On top of a speedy processor, the future PC within the next two years will also come with speedy DDR4 RAM, and within five years it will come with DDR5. It will also come with an awesome wireless headset, cloud memory, and a set of robots (OK, just kidding about that last part, but you never know). You may have to pay extra for the robots, but either way, the PC of the future sure looks bright and colorful.

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Old 02-07-2011, 04:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The PC of the Future: Fast, Portable, 3D

I always love these predictions, gets me in a creative mood. They're also fun to look back on five years after and laugh at how silly these predictions seem now.
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The PC of the Future: Fast, Portable, 3D

Well, just like Obama predicted, there will be one million electric cars on the roads by 2015...

And what was that, 80% of our energy will come from green energy by 2035? I'll be waiting for that day...
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The PC of the Future: Fast, Portable, 3D

I recon there'll be more than a million of them, in the US at least. In the UK, maybe 100k, we've been very slow on the uptake of them so far.
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