The PC era is over. How do we know this? Because IBM just declared it so.
Meanwhile, the world's No. 1 maker of personal computers announced it is bolting for the door, and No. 2 may be following it shortly, after its most recent anemic earnings report.
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Also over: the era of clocks and of radios. And clock radios -- definitely dead.
But here's the funny thing about clocks: Once upon a time, clocks were technological marvels, expensive to obtain and requiring great expertise to build and maintain. If you wanted to know what time it was at night or during a rainstorm, though, that old sundial wasn't worth much.
Fast-forward a few centuries. Quick, how many clocks are in the room with you right at this moment? I'd wager half a dozen, easy -- one in your phone, another in your PC, in your microwave oven, your fridge, and so on.
Oh yeah: There's also a clock inside your clock.
Did clocks die? Obviously not. They just got smaller, cheaper, and totally ubiquitous. So did radios, for that matter. In the beginning, many families were lucky to own one -- a beast of a thing that sat in the middle of the living room, near the settee and the davenport. Now there's one in every car, mobile phone, and PC, as well as (yes) inside your clock radio.
Today's PCs are like yesterday's clocks and radios. They can be found in all kinds of devices -- your TV set, your microwave, your fridge -- and they'll continue to get smaller, cheaper, and more ubiquitous. They won't all have keyboards and mice, but they'll all be using a CPU to process bits in pretty much the same way God and Intel intended.
And that device you have on your desk or inside the walls of your office that lets you do things like surf the Web, write emails, make phone calls, and get work done? There'll be a PC inside there too.