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March 3, 2015

In the era of the smartphone the desktop is still king

No amount of Angry Birds sequels will usurp the office workhorse.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

On the weekend before Mobile World Congress in Barcelona much of the mainstream press took the opportunity to hail the era of the smartphone, which has gone some way to usurping the humble desktop and laptop that have been the mainstays of computing for so long.

Sensational statistics on the ubiquity of Android and Apple phones are easy enough to come by these days. Marketing gurus have long claimed there are more mobiles than toothbrushes, an idea that is at once impossible to verify, probably false, yet increasingly likely to be true.

More sober figures from eMarketer, a research firm, predict two billion people will have a smartphone by 2016, a staggering success story given the iPhone, one of the pioneers of the industry, was only launched in 2007.

The benefits of having a mini-computer in your pocket should not be sniffed at, especially since it has brought significant processing power to poorer parts of the globe that lack the access to the desktops and laptops enjoyed by the West.

The technology has also indisputably made us more mobile (ahem) than ever before, even as it has been pelting us with Angry Birds sequels, giving the boss a direct line to us as we holiday, and allegedly distracting 10% of us during sex, as a recent survey claimed.

Yet the runaway success of the technology is, like all market performances, no sure indicator of its future as a tool for personal or business use, whatever Apple, Lenovo, Samsung and so on would have you believe.

Indeed the main strength of the smartphone as a tool for work – its size and resultant portability – is exactly what makes it so fiddly and irksome to use for anything more complex than sending emails.

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It should also not be forgotten that even as Salesforce and Microsoft chase the enterprise mobile app market many of us are still bound to an office of some sort, whether it be at work or at home, – a situation that is unlikely to change.

For now at least, long live the desktop.

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