CARACAS, Monday May 16, 2011 | Update
102nd Anniversary
Computer, a withering term

The image of a hard disk and a fixed screen connected to some cables will soon be possibly erased from the collective mind. Experts would rather talk about a transformation of computers and their applications rather than disappearance. The truth is that such changes have already begun, as corroborated by market release of laptops, mini laptops, tablets and smart phones. New operation systems are also adapted to changes in equipment and users requirements

Monday May 16, 2011  09:05 AM

Technology does not stop and equipment evolution is part of a never ending race. That is why many people anticipate that the day when the word "computer" falls into disuse will soon arrive and computers will form part of a past object collection. Presently, laptops, mini laptops, tablets and smart phones are more efficient to fulfill the tasks that only a desk computer could previously fulfill.

"The hard disk, keyboard and screen computer will continue to be used for a while, but for specific tasks to be performed from a desktop or for specialized work like design, point of sale consultation and data back-up. The truth is that portable computers have taken the lead and fulfilled most of data and connectivity needs," says Alcides León, a journalist specialized in digital matters.

Daniel Cáceres, community manager of Digital Equilibrio, points out that computers will become smaller and portable devices. "The intention is that they are more efficient and quick devices and that they use less energy."

It is not a secret that equipment changes are characterized by portability, which entails an overturning of the computer concept. Computers are now conceived as a service available at all times, instead of a program running device. "Wireless connection is very important. We move forward not having devices attached to cables," points out Cáceres as the reason for evolution to portables.

"Computing is becoming an individual experience, and thus, it uses more and more the advantages of wireless connections," León emphasizes.

He adds that things are now being done from "the Cloud," a term used to refer to applications operating via web.

Portable computers have adopted many of the characteristics of desktop computers, but they have added the easiness of movement, power, quickness, and efficiency in fulfilling any function, even multimedia.

US technology consultant IDC reported sales amounting to 42 million tablets for this year.

"The devices we use on a daily basis will soon end up integrating themselves in something similar to the tablet: we will have phone, TV, GPS, video and photo cameras, added to a computer capabilities, all in the size of a notebook. The Ipad 2 is the best current example," concludes Cáceres.

He assures that progress and substitution of certain pieces of equipment by others is so widespread that the fact that desktop computers can be replaced by portable computers is not even raised; the latter merely compete among them.

In 2010 alone, laptops sales went down due to the tablets coming out. The 42 million of tablets sold throughout the world represent 50% of portable computers' sales.

Free systems
Not only is equipment changing, but also the programs that equipment works with. Such programs are known as operating systems.

Cáceres points out the progress made in this field: the diversity of offers, the security or stability they offer, and the opening to uses and improvements for users. Diversity is based on ever fewer brands maintaining system monopolies. "Any equipment needs programs, but we now wonder if the program has to be Windows. A good example is the tablets that come with Android," says Cáceres. Operating improvements are up-to-date. "iOS, Android or Honey Comb are stable and secure; they do not freeze and are less exposed to viruses. In this area Windows lost ground."

Open operating systems that permit to incorporate free software offer the most advantages. This implies that you do not need to purchase brand equipment in order to have benefits, and users may contribute with improvements. "For example, Apple continues to have a private operating system, and people criticize the impossibility to make improvements. Changes should then come through that way," says Cáceres.

The opening includes data handling from any equipment and the integrality of being able to use applications regardless of the brand. Other aspects that these new systems offer and should be considered is how easy their installation is and the memory space they take.

Translated by Mercedes Alonso

The end of a cycle

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