PCs on the way out for information appliances

Nat Semi advances the old 'NetPC' argument again

The dominance of the PC market will decrease as information appliances take hold said Thomas Rothhaupt, National semiconductors' European Information Appliances Marketing Manager in London today. The PC could soon end up as marginalised as the mainframe computers of the 60s are today, he claimed. The mainframe saw its hay-day in the 50s and 60s and was superseded by smaller networked computers. By the 80s and 90s the PC had taken over, and Nat Semi believe that the information appliance is the next step in the evolution of desktop computing. Nat Semi reckons its business would save $30 million a year on IT costs by replacing PCs with cheaper alternatives that don't need upgrading and can connect to all the necessary Internet Services. The company believe that the power of the PC is not required by most employees. Giving call centres as an example, Rothhaupt said that the system could be quicker and if the server goes down, the system can still be used locally. Little training would be needed due to the "ease of use and silent products", which Nat Semi claims the industry wants. Security issues could be resolved claimed Rothhaupt, as the PC is the biggest cause of leaked data. A networked PC allows staff access to data on the server which could easily be taken out on a floppy disk. A bank is a good example of this where more data is stolen in this way than through hackers. Nat Semi say the interface of the future is to be more natural with voice and handwriting recognition, currently being developed. Personalised information devices they believe will be the future of technology where products are developed in conjunction with other companies. The company has been trotting out this 'post-PC era' stuff for some time now, not least because it offers the kind of integrated x86-compatible chips it hopes vendors will want to base information appliances on. ®

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