Speaking at the Digital Landscapes conference at UCD, European Director of Google’s online sales John Herlihy said that Google is mostly oriented towards mobile devices, claiming they’ll become more important than desktop PCs.
“In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant. In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs,” he said.
Herlihy’s remarks echo a speech made last month by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who announced that the search giant is focusing on mobile, not desktop, search, and urged application developers to do the same.
In his keynote at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Schmidt pointed out that global sales of smartphones and other mobile devices are growing rapidly and will soon eclipse sales of conventional PCs.
True, with Android and Nexus One Google has shown a commitment to extend its dominance from the online world to the mobile world. But will desktop PCs really become irrelevant? Depends on how you look at it. Google isn’t really interested in how we edit our photos; it’s interested in where we store them, and increasingly, we do that at a place is a part of their domain — the cloud.
And if your data moves to the cloud, and most of your daily online activities are done on devices such as the Nexus One and the iPad, where simple, widget-style applications cater to your precise needs, then yes, desktop PCs as we know them now will become a lot less important. On the other hand, not many users are ready to ditch the desktop just yet; we’ll see if it all pans out according to Google’s plans.
There is no way to replace desktop performance with a portable device, at the very least, wired connections are many times faster, and the inherent “heat problem vs performance” limits choices for mobile devices. It’s an age old problem, performance vs portability. I think portability is winning, but the performance yearning still remains. But far reaching pronouncements aside, desktops will be around for a very long time.