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IBM gives channel the Horn over handheld device -- shock!

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The reign of the PC as king of the desktops has been challenged by one of its most faithful subjects, IBM. Big Blue apparently thinks the days of the desktop PC are numbered and that the loveable machines will have to abdicate in favour of newer portable and embedded devices. That's the opinion of IBM researcher Paul Horn, who was recently heard spouting such unwholesome views at a Millennium Speaker Series in New York. "The era of the PC as king is over," he said. "We are entering an era of 'pervasive computing' in which we will see a dramatic increase in the use of the application-specific handheld and [other specialised] devices to conduct ebusiness and simplify our lives." Horn's vision of the world includes networked cars that can be repaired wirelessly and supercomputers capable of rapidly mapping genes. He also mentioned wearable PCs, advanced display technologies and natural language speech recognition technology that are being developed at IBM's labs. ®

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