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Innovation

The Weekly Round-Up: Doomsday for desktop PCs, jargon busting and iPad vs Kindle

When 'computer says no' turns to 'user says no'...
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor on

When 'computer says no' turns to 'user says no'...

The poor old PC has taken a bit of a bashing in the last few months.

Recently it hit the venerable age of 30, but instead of enjoying best wishes, balloons and cards, it found that those pesky tablets and smartphones had not only stamped on its birthday cake but also stolen its presents.

PC turns 30

Life over at 30? According to CIOs, the desktop PC mightn't have much life left in itPhoto: Shutterstock

Yes, indeed, it's tough being a solid, sensible PC, with all these glamorous touchscreens floating around. And by the way, if you want some eye candy, check out our photos of the seven new tablets and smartphones that want to be your next iPad.

But, thinks the unhappy PC, at least there's always a home for me in the world of business, right? Everybody in an office needs a beige box on their desk, and that will never change, will it?

Bad news PC - it seems that even the business is falling out of love with the desktop. For when silicon.com's CIO Jury was asked, 'In five year's time, will the desktop PC still be the dominant computing device for business users?', it voted no by a margin of eight to four.

Tablets, smartphones and netbooks have been knocking on the door of businesses for quite some time now, and finally the CIOs are getting ready to unbolt the door and let them in.

Another way of looking at it is that after years of putting up with 'computer says no', this time around it's finally 'user says no' instead.

Still, there's a little bit of hope left for the old PC. Many businesses expect the desktop to stick around for quite a while to come. For one thing, they're much better as doorstops than smartphones.

Who said cheats never prosper?

The IT industry is home to some of the world's finest jargon. That's very handy for keeping the HR and finance people in the dark about exactly what goes on in the server room all day and where that enormous IT budget went.

But sometimes it can get a bit painful to hack your way through the jargon jungle when you want to understand a new concept quickly. That's where silicon.com's Cheat Sheets come in, of course, and now we've gathered up 10 of our must-read Cheat Sheets into a handy ebook.

The ebook covers issues from cloud computing, IPv6 and Office 365 to Google and gamification.

You can also find Cheat Sheets explaining RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook, Kinect, Groupon and private cloud computing. And what's more, if you are a registered member of silicon.com, it's free too.

Follow the link to download your copy of the 10 must-read silicon.com Cheat Sheets ebook.

Windows 8 for slates

Continuing on a similar theme, the rise of the post-PC device has lead us all on a merry chase over the last 18 months. It was only January 2010 when Microsoft's Steve Ballmer was showing off tablet PCs, not long before the Apple iPad turned up and changed the game somewhat.

Since then we've had all the excitement of various iPad rivals, and finally come full circle on the multi-coloured tech industry roundabout to find Microsoft doing, of all things, something rather splendid and innovative with tablets.

The company this week took the wraps off...

...Windows 8, Redmond's next major overhaul of Windows, and it's fair to say that there's never been a Windows like it, as it features Metro - its touch-friendly, tile-based interface designed for use with tablets.

You can take a look at some of the screens from the launch in our picture story, Windows 8 - a tour of its new features.

The Round-Up has often poked jibes at Microsoft for its apparent lack of imagination but the Windows 8 UI, taking inspiration from the company's phone interface, refreshingly eschews icons and plumps instead for coloured tiles.

It's a genuinely interesting approach to the tablet interface. The Round-Up is looking forward to playing with one, and that’s a first for a Microsoft product.

Still, this is a long way away: Windows 8 won't be released for around 12 months. Who knows what the landscape will look like by then?

The great debate

Finally this week: iPad or Kindle? It's a debate that’s raged since time immemorial - or at least the last couple of years.

silicon.com senior reporter Natasha Lomas considered this same question this week, and while one is matte and monochrome, and the other is shiny and colourful, at the end of her deliberations she had 10 reasons why her Kindle wins over the Apple über-slab.

While acknowledging that the Kindle lacks the all-round functions of the iPad, the Kindle still won out as her favourite gadget since a pair of battery-operated walkie-talkies she owned way back in the 1980s. Ah, the 80s...

One of the Kindle's greatest strengths is its purpose and its form, both of which are geared towards reading.

The magical e-ink screen does a great job of letting you read in the light as opposed to the iPad's glossy display.

Best of all, with a battery life of the best part of a month you rarely run out of juice.

The column has kicked off quite a debate among readers with agreements and disagreements on both sides.

Which side are you on? Jump in and join the discussion, the water's lovely...

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