My Photo

Ordering Information

Tomi on Twitter is @tomiahonen

  • Follow Tomi on Twitter as @tomiahonen
    Follow Tomi's Twitterfloods on all matters mobile, tech and media. Tomi has over 8,000 followers and was rated by Forbes as the most influential writer on mobile related topics

Book Tomi T Ahonen to Speak at Your Event

  • Contact Tomi T Ahonen for Speaking and Consulting Events
    Please write email to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com and indicate "Speaking Event" or "Consulting Work" or "Expert Witness" or whatever type of work you would like to offer. Tomi works regularly on all continents

Tomi on Video including his TED Talk

  • Tomi on Video including his TED Talk
    See Tomi on video from several recent keynote presentations and interviews, including his TED Talk in Hong Kong about Augmented Reality as the 8th Mass Media

Subscribe


Blog powered by Typepad

« Of the iPhone at 10, What all it changed and what it didn’t, including the grand delusions in tech press; by the author who predicted all this exactly ten years ago. | Main | iPhone Q2 and IDC and Strategy Analytics Top 5 Smartphone Numbers. »

July 07, 2017

Comments

Per "wertigon" Ekström

Actually, no, I'm going to side with Tester here.

The workstations will never be replaced, since that's what you use to create content with, and it's almost impossible to find a more efficient workflow than keyboard and mouse. So, the professional market is safe for the foreseeable future.

However, I do believe we will start to see more and more convergence.

The Desktop workstation will not disappear. But the Windows PC will. Instead your phone will be your workstation.

But it will be another ten years before mobile technology has matured to the point that it can drive dual 4k screens and the latest 3D bells and whistles. It is close, but not there yet.

I also think Microsoft will do everything it can to get a piece of this action - but Windows is simply too locked down, too stale, to compete with the flexibility of Open Source solutions like Linux and Android. Try running Windows on a Raspberry Pi - you cannot, even though there is a Windows for the Snapdragon 835...

Baron95

@PWE
https://developer.microsoft.com/fi-fi/windows/iot/Downloads

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Baron95:

That is not a Windows desktop distribution...

Tester

@PWE:

"The Desktop workstation will not disappear. But the Windows PC will. Instead your phone will be your workstation."

While I mostly agree that technology will shrink sufficiently to be put in a smartphone there's still a few drawbacks here that will keep a specialty market for high end hardware alive.

The main issue with a smartphone is the same as with a laptop: If all hardware is so tightly integrated there's little chance to replace isolated parts, if their performance starts to lack or if they break. This is actually the main reason why I still use a large case: In order to upgrade I do not need to replace the entire thing but just isolated parts, which is still cheaper. Two years ago the magnetic hard drive got replaced by an SSD, and next month the graphics card is getting replaced by a more powerful one. I can also upgrade the RAM if needed without throwing out the entire thing.

"But it will be another ten years before mobile technology has matured to the point that it can drive dual 4k screens and the latest 3D bells and whistles. It is close, but not there yet."

That sounds about right. But we still don't know how far graphics performance can be pushed. CPU's seem to have reached an upper barrier where it's hard to get more out, but high end graphics cards are still evolving at an extremely rapid pace. What was a high end card 5 years ago when I bought my current PC may be considered below medium range now and I see no end to this kind of development for the time being.

"I also think Microsoft will do everything it can to get a piece of this action - but Windows is simply too locked down, too stale, to compete with the flexibility of Open Source solutions like Linux and Android. Try running Windows on a Raspberry Pi - you cannot, even though there is a Windows for the Snapdragon 835..."

Microsoft under Steve Ballmer has nearly done everything wrong to move Windows to the future. I have lost count how many technologies they invented to move software development to more current paradigms but they all failed to find acceptance because they all tried to reinvent how software needs to be developed instead of builing on and expanding what has been there before (i.e. there was a profound lack of backwards compatibility and interoperability with old code.) Sadly, on this front there's still nothing happening and for efficient Windows GUI development you are pretty much dependent on third party libraries.
On the other hand - to this day there is still no decent Linux solution that is compatible with the mindset of regular people. No idea if this will change - but too many Linux users appear too wrapped up in arcane conventions that make it very hard to let it become a viable alternative to Windows. MacOs is also out here because Apple's strategy of profit over market share.

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Tester:

"While I mostly agree that technology will shrink sufficiently to be put in a smartphone there's still a few drawbacks here that will keep a specialty market for high end hardware alive."

Alive, maybe. But consider this. In ten years, $200 Android phones will be able to do dual-screen 4k gaming at 60 FPS flawlessly. Meanwhile a decent GPU card will still cost around $200 alone. Memory will cost around $50-$100, motherboards $100-$200, CPUs $100-$200 etcetera - but since demand will be down, you will have a much more limited selection.

At that point, it's cheaper to replace the entire workstation (e.g. your cellphone). Peripherals will still cost about the same, sure.

"That sounds about right. But we still don't know how far graphics performance can be pushed."

Yes, that is true. I'd not be surprised if we see some GPUs switch to a GPU-FPGA hybrid model as well - where the FPGA runs AI and the GPU runs the graphics computations. As long as there is growth in tech, the GPUs will remain in business. But, GPUs are required solely for gaming and 3D modellers - and increasingly, GPUs are good enough now for 99.99% of the tasks thrown at them. And good enough trumps great, if good enough means cheaper.

"Microsoft under Steve Ballmer has nearly done everything wrong to move Windows to the future. I have lost count how many technologies they invented to move software development to more current paradigms but they all failed to find acceptance because they all tried to reinvent how software needs to be developed instead of builing on and expanding what has been there before (i.e. there was a profound lack of backwards compatibility and interoperability with old code.)"

Yes, exactly - and this will be their downfall, unfortunately. The problem with Windows is that the entire ecosystem is built of compiled programs compiled to a specific architecture. Porting stuff to ARM is something only the mayor houses can afford to do at the moment.

Windows cannot conquer ARM, because Snapdragon binaries are not compatible with RPI which are not compatible with Odroid which are not compatible with Pyra which are not...

"On the other hand - to this day there is still no decent Linux solution that is compatible with the mindset of regular people."

I'd say you're fairly wrong there. Ubuntu is slowly starting to get back to what made them great in the first place (the focus on a polished, good GUI), and the whole Wayland/MIR mess is finally getting resolved (as is Unity). Steam Linux has over 10 000 titles these days. Linux is finally starting to come together. In some ways I do not agree with (like systemd), but it's still getting somewhere.

Of course, you still want a command line for most under-the-hood stuff. But I consider the command line the equivalent of popping the hood to your car - sometimes necessary, most of the time not, but always great to have access to. As a programmer the command line is a godsend.

Also the prevalence of programmable editors in Linux is awesome. But that is a discussion for another day. For your average grandma, a Linux computer is not hard to use at all today, given that computer is supported just as much as a Windows computer. Remember, Windows always come preinstalled, so for an Apples-to-Apples comparison, look at Linux sans all hardware related issues.

Wayne Borean


Thanks Tomi!

As to the PC marketplace, everyone is missing the most important point - which company has the greatest hardware market share?

Intel of course, and any discussion about how changes in the PC marketplace will play out will be wrong. Especially if you don't understand Intel, and its weaknesses.

I've got a partially finished article on Intel. I'll see if I can get it finished before next weekend, and post a link.

Tester

@PWE:

"Yes, that is true. I'd not be surprised if we see some GPUs switch to a GPU-FPGA hybrid model as well - where the FPGA runs AI and the GPU runs the graphics computations. As long as there is growth in tech, the GPUs will remain in business. But, GPUs are required solely for gaming and 3D modellers - and increasingly, GPUs are good enough now for 99.99% of the tasks thrown at them. And good enough trumps great, if good enough means cheaper."

In general you are correct, but I somehow doubt you have ever discussed this with a true hardcore gamer... :D
Even now, the vast majority of PCs is already sold without a dedicated graphics card. For normal tasks you do not need them. But as it just so happens, most high end hardware that isn't sold to professionals is sold to gamers, and those will never ever be satisfied with "good enough", and that's really a market I do not see evaporating on short notice. These are true enthusiasts which will always strive to have the latest and greatest tech at their disposal - and if you think about it, that's actually a good thing because they pave the way for further improvements in the 'good enough' sector.

"I'd say you're fairly wrong there. Ubuntu is slowly starting to get back to what made them great in the first place (the focus on a polished, good GUI), and the whole Wayland/MIR mess is finally getting resolved (as is Unity). Steam Linux has over 10 000 titles these days. Linux is finally starting to come together. In some ways I do not agree with (like systemd), but it's still getting somewhere."

But it's still in the process of "getting there". Right now I simply couldn't recommend Linux to a non-techy person for various reasons, that are not all directly related to how it works.


Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Tester:

Sorry, even most gamers settle for good enough. Only a tiny percentage has to have the latest nVidia or AMD cards that costs thousands of dollars. Most opt to buy a 200-300 dollar card, since that's the best bang for your bucks.

Sure, there is an enthusiasts market out there, but it's niche and very tiny. The bread-and-butter are the mid-range cards.

chithanh

@PWE
> But it will be another ten years before mobile technology has matured to the point that it can drive dual 4k screens and the latest 3D bells and whistles. It is close, but not there yet.

My 2016 model LeEco Le Max 2 with SD820 which cost me 200 EUR already drives a QHD (1440p) screen fine, including compatibility with cardboard VR.
The Apple A10X chip in the iPad Pro is already outperforming Intel's Core-M ultraportable laptop processors, especially in GPU tasks which is important for driving high-resolution screen.

Once low cost and PC-like performance meet in a smartphone that costs less than an entry-level PC, I think we will see the

If you followed recent development in the PC market, there was AMD's Ryzen processor which Intel ridiculed for reusing the same chip for both desktop and server (in MCM package of up to 4 dies). But it is clear that developing separate chips for PCs and servers is no longer justifiable if you don't have infinite R&D money. Observers expect Intel to follow AMD's lead.

chithanh

(oops, hit 'Post' too soon)
> Once low cost and PC-like performance meet in a smartphone that costs less than an entry-level PC, I think we will see the
consumers and non-heavy users start to flee the PC market towards solutions that allow you to connect the smartphone to external monitor/keyboard/mouse.

Abdul Muis

It seems the game on mobile will have a makeover sooner than we thought.... And the surprise... China gamer leading the chart.......

https://venturebeat.com/2017/07/20/newzoo-high-fidelity-games-are-taking-over-the-mobile-market/
"Above: Lineage2: Revolution is a huge hit in South Korea.
Image Credit: Netmarble

Mobile games are now the biggest segment in the global games market, but high-fidelity games in particular are coming out on top. A new report from industry analyst Newzoo in a partnership with the chip manufacturer ARM, finds that hi-fi games have shown strong year-over-year growth, and have experienced 40.7 percent growth from 2015 to 2016 in China, North America, and Europe combined.

The report defines hi-fi games as those featuring advanced graphics. The market for these kinds of games is already well developed in China, where hi-fi games make up 42.3 percent of the revenue from top grossing mobile games in 2016. In the 200 top grossing mobile titles in China, 110 of them were hi-fi.

Newzoo reports that 60 percent of mobile revenue come from users in the Asia-Pacific region, though China alone accounts for 32 percent of that. This year, Asia-Pacific is slated to generate $27.6 billion. One of the top games in Asia right now is Lineage2: Revolution from South Korean developer Netmarble Games. In February, it was the top-grossing mobile game in the world and earned $176 million in its first month alone.

The North American market is still catching up, but Newzoo says that it’s growing. In North America, the top grossing mobile games grew 8.5 percent last year whereas hi-fi games grew 15 percent, nearly double.

Big publishers like Square Enix and Electronic Arts have also been active in the mobile space. EA’s Madden NFL is one of the top-grossing titles, and it’s been trying to reproduce that success with popular soccer game FIFA on the mobile platform as well. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment also doubled down on mobile titles and recently opened a New York office just to focus on live operations and its mobile games like the superhero-powered Injustice 2."

Abdul Muis

BTW...

Here is the detailed report from the above news
https://newzoo.com/insights/articles/the-global-games-market-will-reach-108-9-billion-in-2017-with-mobile-taking-42/

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Chithanh: I believe we are in agreement here. We agree it's a *when*, not an *if*. We disagree on the timing though, but hey, to each to his own.

To reiterate, I think when a $200 cell phone can deliver a solid 60 FPS 4K dual screen resolution, that's when I think a convergence will happen for gamers and professionals. As for consumers, they will not be the first to catch up to this trend. Even if more and more games are going mobile, the mobile market is still separate from the PC market.

Do note, it could very well just be a dock with acceleration capabilities. But someone still have to build and market the "Mobtop" or "Celltop" solution. The technology might very well be ripe today, but more realistically I estimate ten years before enterprise begins catching on in large numbers.

chithanh

@PWE
> I think when a $200 cell phone can deliver a solid 60 FPS 4K dual screen resolution, that's when I think a convergence will happen for gamers and professionals

If you look at Steam Hardware Survey, even among PC gamers, 4K screens are a small minority. Dual 4K screens are much less widespread even.

And the data says that 60 fps doesn't matter, 30 fps is enough.
http://www.insomniacgames.com/how-much-does-framerate-matter/

So our timing disagrees by two iterations of Moore's law.

> a dock with acceleration capabilities

Dock with acceleration capabilities won't fly. You would need at least 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes in the mobile chip. PCIe is a major contributor to power consumption in modern CPUs. I expect cloud gaming to fill the performance gap, rather than docks with extra computing resources.

Maybe (and that is a very big Maybe), Apple will produce an iPad Pro with Thunderbolt after Intel curiously opened Thunderbolt licensing to third parties. I imagine that Apple was behind this. But the other manufacturers will just not see any sensible reason for following suit.

Also, enterprises will not switch to mobile. Rather, new businesses will be built around mobile/cloud/browser interfaces while existing ones will often ride out their VBA code until the bitter end.

Jim Glue

It's fun listening to you folks stake your ground for what the future will be like. I'm not sure where I fall. Right now I like Apple's "right size device for the right purpose". I like Microsoft's Surface books, but as ultra portable PC's.

And I certainly do not enjoy paying and repaying for computing power just to have different sized screens. It certainly would be nice to just have a phone and plug it into a "laptop doc" or a "desktop doc". There have been some early attempts including the newest Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Motorola Atrix before that.

Still, as much as it SEEMS logical, I'm not sure it will ever be practical. While the CPU and Memory seem to be redundant to have in a phone, tablet and pc....it's really over kill to have the kind of graphics in your phone that would drive large 5k (and more in the future) monitors....multiple of them.

The size of a phone hasn't lent itself to modularization either. On the contrary, everyone has followed Apple's lead in tighter and tighter integration to get smaller and smaller (except the screen) devices. And while tech always advances....there will always be a gap between what you can do with all the power you want (plugged into a wall) verses battery power. By the time mobile cpu's can deliver today's PC performance, we will be in tomorrow and tomorrow's power-a-plenty desktops will have even MORE speed. More storage.

So then you have to imagine wireless communication that allows wireless/dongleless connectivity between the components in your phone and the components in your computer doc where you could have that desktop class GPU, and extra storage and the like. I don't see it.

I think just as likely is that a huge segment of the customer base of PC's will simply no longer need or want PC's. Their phone will be enough. Those who need PC's REALLY need them and need them to be powerful.

Whither the iPad? I know I like having my iPad as my "couch surfing" device. But with the increasing size of the phones, I'm not sure "for the mass market" what is there. As Steve Jobs said, the iPad had to prove there was a niche between the phone and the computer. Now Apple is marketing the ipad as a PC replacement, but I don't see that. Yes, SOME people can. But the iPad will never have the software for general computing.

I believe we will have first of all smartphones, then PC's, then tablets, then "2 in 1's". I think the Macbook (the thin one the size of an iPad) is a better format than the Surface for an ultra portable. I think the 2-in-1's might well go the way of the netbook. They simply aren't great tablets and for a computer, it's better to have a clam shell than a keyboard cover that can't hold up the screen or be used on a lap.

If there is convergence I can believe in -- it would be pervasive computing. Computing power in the cloud delivered to you in whatever device you have at hand at the moment - including video walls in your home.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Available for Consulting and Speakerships

  • Available for Consulting & Speaking
    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Hong Kong but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit www.tomiahonen.com Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

Tomi's eBooks on Mobile Pearls

  • Pearls Vol 1: Mobile Advertising
    Tomi's first eBook is 171 pages with 50 case studies of real cases of mobile advertising and marketing in 19 countries on four continents. See this link for the only place where you can order the eBook for download

Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009

  • Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009
    A comprehensive statistical review of the total mobile industry, in 171 pages, has 70 tables and charts, and fits on your smartphone to carry in your pocket every day.

Alan's Third Book: No Straight Lines

Tomi's Fave Twitterati