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The future of End-User Desktops

Alex Christie

2 June 2008

Futuretech_2
Up to now, most of us have become fairly familiar
with the standards of working with desktops. Most of us either make use of a PC or a laptop running the industry standard (in many countries) Windows which has provided us with their form of a desktop. But things are set to change in the near future and I thought I might take a look at the five main points of interest.

1. Desktops will become virtualised

In the past virtualisation has proved it self as a means to save money, time and space in the data centre and desktops will increasingly, in the near future, make use of this technology. The advantages of virtualisation are wide spread but the main points are that it creates the potential to improve security, manageability and flexibility for the end-user desktop.

Server virtualisation has already proved it self, but many people believe that once the small amount of kinks have been worked out, it will be the future for desktops.

2. Desktops will become more mobile

Three years ago, laptops for the first time, surpassed PC’s in sales. Industry predictions show that 66% of corporate purchases will be laptops while 71% of all consumers will opt for laptops in the next 3 years.

But industry experts are quick to express that mobility within corporations does not necessarily mean they will be buying laptops. The reason for this is the amazing popularity of devises such as the Black Berry and IPhone. Devises such as these will continue to set the pace for mobility in the industry, especially with more hardware companies looking to break into the market.

3. Security layers will be applied to Desktop’s

Security should be applied in layers, but unfortunately that is not common practise today in corporations. This will however become standard in the next 3 to 5 years.

These changes will also play a big role as virtualisation becomes common practise. User’s desktops will be segmented into various isolated containers each with its own security validation’s. A great example would be to split the user’s installed applications into a folder and business applications into another for easy management by the IT department.

4. Windows will become optional

Microsoft has pretty much had a lock on all desktops over the years as they were unrivaled by other software organisations. As users, we did not have much of a choice. Things however are changing rapidly and Open source and Free ware software is increasingly becoming more popular and more compatible with Microsoft files.

It’s already got to the level where you as a user can literally exchange your Microsoft software for Free ware. A great example is Microsoft Office which can be replaced (in most cases) by Open Office. Sure there are a few compatibility bugs, but as time goes by and usage increases, these will be minimised.

Other services, such as Google docs, are increasingly breaking the strangle hold of Microsoft as well and making complete mobility of documents possible.

Microsoft, however, is still unrivaled when it comes to software and hardware certifications, but even this is set to change in the near future as hardware companies, Dell more than ever, are starting to make greater use of Linux on mainstream PC’s and Laptops.

5. Desktops is set to disappear

According to annalists, the end-user desktop as we know it won’t be a desktop at all in the next 5 years.

End users will be able to access applications and files in a data cloud, from whatever internet connected devices he or she might be working on. This trend is further more supported with new Web-based internet applications growing in popularity and functionality.

All in all, the End-User desktop is set for major changes in the long run. Hopefully most will be to the advantage of us, the daily users. But then only time and patience will be able to tell.

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