Personal Cloud Will Overtake PCs by 2014, Gartner Predicts

PCs fade as primary digital device for most users in just a few years.

Gartner's new report predicts that the PC will no longer be the primary digital device for most users by 2014. Taking its place: users will access "the personal cloud" as the mechanism for accessing digital information on a variety of devices.

Steve Kleynhans, Gartner Research vice president, says of the changing landscape: "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. 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."  He points out that the PC won't disappear: "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."

Gartner analysts identified five "megatrends" behind the shift to the personal cloud:

  • Consumerization. Users are becoming more technically adept.  They're more "plugged into" the Internet and social media and want that connectivity on their own terms
  • Virtualization. The technology frees users from having to use specific devices or OSes for both personal and business computing
  • "App-ification." User experience apps can customize applications to work on a greater range of hardware and platforms
  • Self-Service Cloud. Personal, self-service clouds help users build virtual workspaces that are customized to suit their preferences; they are available on a variety of devices around the clock and around the world
  • Mobility Shift. Improved mobile devices -- including those using touchscreens and other interactive user interfaces -- are better able to perform traditionally PC-based tasks; a growing number of mobile devices can be used interchangeably as primary devices while a user travels

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 kcarrasco@1105media.com.