Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Sep 2012 16:08 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless "High Tech Computer (HTC) has grown up with Microsoft, from the old HTC-built iPAQ's running on Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system, to the Orange SPV - Microsoft's first Windows smartphone. The Taiwanese company has always been a loyal aid to the software giant, but lately that close relationship has started to feel a little dated. HTC's investment in Android and its Sense user interface has taken precedent over its initial work with Windows Mobile, and the company's Windows Phone flagships have been impressive, but overshadowed by Nokia's colorful Lumia range and partnership with Microsoft. That all appears to be changing though." HTC announced some good-looking Windows Phone 8 phones (ugh) today, but from my personal experience of owning several devices from both brands for over a decade, Nokia has the edge on quality. Good to see a serious commitment to WP8 though - we wouldn't want the Android dominance to continue.
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The problem (well, *one* problem) is that smartphones are being positioned to kill the general purpose PC.

The big guys know this and are trying to vest as much control as they can this time around and get rid of pesky concepts like 'device ownership' and 'user control'. Think locked-down app stores and development models.

If we, as consumers, are willing to replace our computers with smartphones and tablets, we really need to start examining what we're giving up. When everybody's buying smartphones and tablets, the general purpose computer market will begin to dry up.

Personally, I'd like to make sure that the good parts of existing computer culture survive into the next evolution of computing.

So much of today's tech innovation was born in the humble home computer room. The barrier to market entry is already becoming more difficult for small players now that walled gardens becoming the de facto method of software distribution. Even on the desktop, Apple and MS are trying to push their app stores over traditional retail channels.

This is all really important stuff to think about, and it seems like most people just aren't interested in the long-term implications of today's trends. We're not just gaining convenience by subscribing to this new computing model. We're also giving up independent software development and retail. We're also signing up for more regular forced hardware upgrades. It's no secret that smartphone and tablet manufacturers aren't exactly chomping at the bit to provide indefinite software updates.

If smartphones and tablets are to supplant the good ol' general purpose computer, we need to stop thinking of them as simple consumer electronics and demand at least some of the accessibility and control we've relied on for the past 30-ish years.

Sorry for the mouthful.

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