Tag Archives: iPhone

Is the PC Dying?

For years, people have speculated that Personal Computers will eventually die out and be replaced by simple, cheap “interface devides” that will allow you to log onto the Internet (where all your software and data resides).  That’s what Google is coming out with soon (a simple appliance to sign onto the Internet with almost no hard drive, no actual storage space and no programs to upload or update).

For some, HP’s sudden decision to stop making PCs and write-off the billions they paid to purchase Compaq and later Palm (to power their now dead tablets) signals the beginning of the end for PCs as we know them.  This article from BNET further explores that topic.

By Erik Sherman, BNET.

Does HP’s (HPQ) recent move to spin off its PC business underscore the end of the PC era? Not if you ask Microsoft (MSFT), or at least its vice president of corporate communications Frank Shaw. To Redmond, the PC is the hub of technical existence, with e-readers, tablets, set top boxes, and smartphones anything but PC-killers. Instead, Shaw argues on his corporate blog, PCs do a lot more and will remain vital and necessary in the future.

In one sense, he’s right. The PC isn’t going away completely, because there are important things it can do more easily than the other devices. But a PC-centric world? Oh, no, sorry, those days are done. Furthermore, if you look at Microsoft’s strategy, management already knows it. The company just doesn’t want to let on, because it would spook investors — and tank stock prices.

PCs will never die and cars are a fad

Shaw’s argument that we’re in a “PC plus” age came down to two basic points:

  1. There are a set of important things that PCs do uniquely well, and they aren’t going away.
  2. PCs are rapidly and dramatically getting better at doing the things those companions do.

He’s right on number 1 — for now — and irrelevant on 2. When it comes to creating material, the PC still rules because it has a bigger screen, which means more working real estate, and greater horsepower to do what you want. That said, at least one artist for the New Yorker has created a number of covers on an iPhone. No, not an iPad … an iPhone. You can also shoot images and video from small handheld devices and even do some basic editing.

A growing number of people can do what they need with mobile devices that are becoming better at what PCs do. Are PCs getting better at what the other devices do? Of course, because the basic capabilities of software improve. But are PCs getting much lighter and faster? Nowhere near enough for people to tote them around they way they might a smartphone, e-reader, or tablet.

Look at us!

Shaw took the official Microsoft corporate line that the PC is the center of the known universe. Only, that’s got things backwards. The product isn’t the center; the customer is. Microsoft has assumed that the PC and the consumer are the same, and that what’s good for the PC — which means what’s good for Windows and Office — is good for the consumer.

Utter nonsense, of course, because a business can’t win in the long run if it expects customers to play second fiddle. That’s why smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and the like are gaining success, because they are doing what people want and not expecting customers to do what the vendors want.

But then, Microsoft already knows that it’s in a post-PC-centric time. That’s why the company created the Xbox and keeps pushing the services available through it. The console is Microsoft admitting that its vision of home entertainment centered around a traditional PC wasn’t going to work. If PCs were really that important to everyone, why bother pushing so hard on the smartphone front? After all, the client business wouldn’t go away.

Investors don’t heart tech

But Microsoft is pushing on all other boundaries because it knows the PC center will not hold. From the company’s perspective mere anarchy is loosed upon the industry, and it stands a strong chance of losing its relevance.

What makes it so devilish is that for Microsoft to lose, PCs don’t have to disappear. Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs was right in saying that PCs would be like trucks: large, powerful, necessary for commerce, and not what most people need to drive the majority of the time.

That doesn’t mean extinct. But in the tech world, if you make trucks and not cars, you don’t get to help form what consumers will use, and so you also lose influence over what businesses do with their systems and how they make them work for customers.

However, many investors have undervalued technology companies and Microsoft has been high up on the list. Management knows how Wall Street could suddenly get buggy should anyone in Redmond admit that the PC has seen its heyday. Look at the 20 percent drop that HP (HPQ) stock took after the company announced last week that it looks to get out of the client PC business.

Why else would Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claim that an iPad was just a “different form factor of PC?” Microsoft practically trips over its own corporate tongue to avoid admitting that the emperor has no clothes. And yet, it also tries, at the same time, to gain dominance in these new areas.

No wonder the company has such troubles, because it’s living in a land of cognitive dissonance. Maybe that explains part of its internal reluctance to push technologies that might challenge the dominance of the company’s historic juggernauts.

10 Must Have Mobile Apps

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Courtesy of PRNewser

It’s been a little while since PRNewser updated our list of favorite mobile apps for PR professionals. At the rapid speed at which the mobile app industry evolves, much has changed since our last update, and yet several apps made the list this time around as well.

We’re skipping the consumer apps that many of us already use: Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc. This is a focus on some apps that frequently come in handy when in a bind.

1) Pulse – Pulse is a well-designed news aggregator app commonly compared to Flipboard, the wildly popular iPad app that has not yet made it the iPhone. It lets you add all of your top news sources and displays them in a visually appealing manner.

2) Instapaper – Save articles and content that you know you’ll want to read later. The app saves these articles in a clean format perfect for mobile reading.

3) Tripit – This one didn’t make it in last time, but makes it in this time after a recommendation from Jeremy Pepper. Aggregate all of your travel information in one place, including those must have confirmation numbers. Also, plan out all of your trips. Perfect for the PR pro on the go.

4) Open Table – The best app for booking restaurant reservations on the go. Because you don’t want to get stuck with your big client at a fast food joint.

5) Recorder – This one may be more popular for reporters, but PR pros should also have a recorder app handy when you really want record an interview, a chat with a colleague or client, etc.

6) WordPress – If you do a lot of work on WordPress, this is a must have. Beat others to the punch by having info on your company or client’s blog before anyone else. Or save images and content ideas when you’re on the go.

7) Analytics Agent – Google Analytics on the go. What else do you need to know?

Group texting (GroupMe, Beluga, etc.) – Very useful for teams on the go. We won’t get into making specific recommendations on any one app, but setting up a group texting app for different teams you often work with can speed up communications.

Repeats from last time (these are too good for us to leave out):

9) Evernote — “From creating text and ink notes, to snapshots of whiteboards and wine labels, to clips of webpages, Evernote users can capture anything from their real and digital lives and find it all anytime,” reads Evernote’s description. This is incredibly useful for capturing, researching and organizing content on the go.

10) Dropbox — Never email yourself or lose a file again. Dropbox is an “impressive file sharing service which makes it easy to sync your files across multiple computers and the web,” writes TechCrunch. Great for handling those PowerPoint presentations and other docs while on the road.

Next Gen iBooks: a Glimpse of What’s to Come

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Had to pass along this video from a recent TED conference re: the next generation iBooks and what is possible with clever audio, interactive video and touchable links to tell your story. Though these books are still based around a linear plot line, they will let the reader stop along the way to wander off and follow some subplot or dig deeper into some idea, photo or topic before returning to the main narrative. In that sense, their narrative flow feels more like someone tracing a tree’s trunk to the top while periodically running up and down each branch that springs off from the main story.

Fascinating stuff. So what will your next brand story look like?