Personal Computer?!

Why keep we calling the desktop computer a personal computer?

I think we are entering a world where chips are everywhere. In our pockets, in our cloths, on our walls, and in the packages containing our food. Everything is tracked and made intelligent. Chips are moving to a waste product. This is not coming as a surprise and is the last stage of a cycle that begun nearly a century ago.

So the question that comes up is what is then truly personal computing? I think that the classical "PC", unfortunately, is not personal computing. It may have been a personal computer for a short transition time (bringing the computer back home from the office), but it was quickly replaced by something that is much more personal and useful.

I am talking of course of the "smartphone". We should drop the name already. These phones have never been smart. What they have been instead is the real personal computer. A computer that comes at a size that makes it easy to carry around. A computer with features that lets it connect easily to the world (internet) and our friends (phone, SMS, ...). A computer that knows the environment (GPS) and our way through the world (accelerometer, ...). A computer with a set of tools adjusted to our needs (apps) without standing in our way.

All this is in stark contrast to an ordinary desktop computer, which is by definition bound to the desktop and does not come with any of these features. No touch screen to quickly and directly interact with the device. No sensors to know more than what the user enters. No phone to call home. Yes, some computers (especially laptops) have sensors, even touch screens or GSM modules. But still it's not the device we would (or could) put in our pocket.

As a next step this kind of computer will vanish anyway. The only computers that are too large to fit our pockets are servers. Anything else can be handled from the phone. Every wall can be a screen. Specialized keyboards still exist, but projected keyboards can be used if nothing is available. On the other hand speech and gesture recognition make most keyboard and / or mouse interactions useless anyway.

So what's the purpose of this whole post? Well, its my understanding that there is no such thing as a "smartphone" - they are merely computers with extended personal capabilities: true personal computers. We should start treating them as such.

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