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Living with Failure
Consumer Electronics and Netbooks - A Clarification
by John McClain
March 21, 2009
Summary
More on how and why netbooks might impact consumer electronics.

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After re-reading my post, Will PCs (Start) to Replace Consumer Electronics?, and reading the first comment I realized the title could be easily misinterpreted. One interpretation of the title is that consumer electronics will move to a "PC software model" where consumers install and manage competing applications on a single device. The notion I was trying convey was quite different - that with netbooks we will see dedicated, single function PCs (or their equivalent) filling roles that used to be filled by "devices" and that consumer electronics will move to a model where generic Intel x86 based hardware replaces the custom, usually non-x86, embedded hardware that dominates now.

As a software developer this is interesting because we will have the opportunity to enter the consumer electronics space with an (almost?) pure software play. Developers will be able to do consumer electronic like things without taking on the burden and risk of designing and producing custom hardware. A key part of being "consumer electronic like" is making the software disappear. This is why the availability of small, cheap hardware is key. Once the hardware is cheap and small enough that it can be dedicated to a particular application the software can become much simpler, easier to use, and generally user maintenance free.

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About the Blogger

John McClain is a member of Sun's Jini Network Technology development team. His current responsibilities include technical lead of the Outrigger development team and ownership of the JavaSpaces Service Specification. Prior to joining Sun, John worked at Lockheed Martin on distributed simulation and at DEC on network printers.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2009 John McClain. All rights reserved.

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