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Future Tech 2013: The PCs, tablets and cutting-edge hardware of tomorrow

PCWorld Staff | Jan. 7, 2013
The forward march of technology moves at a dizzying pace. Yesterday's gadgets look like quaint antiques.

Connectivity must improve as well. Today's mobile broadband speeds are improving, but bandwidth continues to be expensive per gigabyte. Consumers will crave access to higher-capacity wireless broadband, and if the carriers can't deliver that capacity at a more reasonable cost, alternative solutions will likely emerge. Metered connections aren't going to disappear, but prices need to drop well below the levels we see today.

Also coming soon are better tablet docks, tuned to the needs of business users. Such tablet docks will include a full-size keyboard, support for multiple monitors, and additional storage.

The traditional clamshell laptop won't completely disappear, however. Some users will still need access to larger screens, robust keyboards, and higher levels of performance. Engineers, professional graphics designers, and others may need 15- to 17-inch systems while on the go. But they will constitute a niche market focused on business users. Mainstream consumers are driving tablet adoption today, and those users will flock to the converged devices of the future.

In the long run, the two extremes will coexist. Users will have a powerful desktop system that connects and is synchronized via the cloud to mobile devices that every user will own. People won't need bulky laptops, but instead will carry lightweight tablets whose performance will exceed today's Ultrabooks. As a result, consumers will have the best of both worlds: a powerful PC at home, and a tablet with docking options that will offer enough performance and capability for their on-the-go needs.      --Loyd Case

All-in-Ones and Desktop PCs

Predictions about what will happen at the end of the PC era have been floating around for years now, and they become more dramatic and more inaccurate with each claim. Why would desktops die off now, especially when they're becoming so cool?

Sure, drastic changes are afoot, and perhaps the desktops of the near future won't look at all similar to the desktops of the present. But change and evolution are facts of life in the tech industry, and adjusting to the new is a necessity.

All-in-one desktops were once seen as a luxury that couldn't possibly support the needs of the average computer user. They lined the walls in sci-fi movies and boasted futuristic-looking programs that had no discernible purpose. Today, they have become centerpieces for PC companies to showcase the glamorous side of desktop computing. Vizio, for example, strayed away from focusing on televisions and media players to create the new CA24-A2, a beautiful touch-enabled media marvel. Even so, many all-in-ones continued to ship with some corny apps and software installed--there are, after all, only so many ways you can pretend to paint; playing Tap-a-Mole gets old, and so does challenging someone to a spirited game of knock-off Pong.


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