Gartner: 'Personal Cloud' To Supplant PCs by 2014

The PC will no longer be the primary digital device for most users by 2014, according to a new report from research firm Gartner.

"Major trends in client computing have shifted the market away from a focus on personal computers to a broader device perspective that includes smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices," said Gartner Research Vice President Steve Kleynhans. "Emerging cloud services will become the glue that connects the Web of devices that users choose to access during the different aspects of their daily life."

Gartner expects the personal cloud to become the central mechanism by which users access digital information on their devices.

The research firm identified five "megatrends" that are contributing to the shift toward the personal cloud:

  • Consumerization. As users have become more technologically adept -- and more plugged into the Internet and social media -- they are demanding devices and connectivity on their own terms.

  • Virtualization. Thanks to virtualization, users are no longer tied to specific devices or OSes, even in the workplace.

  • "App-ification." User experience apps can be used to tweak existing applications so that they work on a greater range of devices and platforms.

  • Self-Service Cloud. Personal, self-service clouds allow users to create virtual workspaces, tailored to their preferences and available on multiple devices, anytime and anywhere.

  • Mobility Shift. Improved mobile devices -- including those equipped with touchscreens and other interactive UIs -- are increasingly able to perform traditionally PC-based tasks. Given this functionality, an array of mobile devices can be interchangeably used as primary devices while a user is on the go.

According to Kleynhans, "Users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub. Rather, the personal cloud will take on that role."

This new era in computing will have positive effects on the client computing space, the Gartner analysts report, as well as on users' personal digital lives.

About the Author

Katrina Carrasco is the associate group managing editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group. She can be reached at [email protected].