Technalysis Research
 
Previous USAToday Columns

January 15, 2015
Commentary: Tech device diversity set to explode with IoT

2014 USAToday Columns

















USAToday Column


January 29, 2015
Microsoft Hololens and the evolution of computing

By Bob O'Donnell

FOSTER CITY, Calif. -- A sure fire way to determine whether a new product is going to make an impact, is to see if it makes you think about other things in a different light.

With that in mind, Microsoft's utterly surprising unveiling of its new HoloLens head-mounted, holographic computing device last week was not just a home run, but a grand slam.

In one bold, unexpected move, the Redmond, Wash.-based company roared back to relevance in the tech industry in a way that I think many of us are still trying to completely understand. (That, and they're making Marty McFly and Back to the Future 2 — set in the 2015 of almost 30 years ago — look pretty darn prescient.)

Frankly, having personally experienced HoloLens, and pondered more about what it could enable, makes me think that things like wearables and the Apple Watch now seem, well, quaint.

The HoloLens has also brought to light a common fallacy about how people use and choose devices, and how the tech market evolves in reaction to those choices. Ever since Steve Jobs' infamous declaration of a Post-PC Era, we've had people pontificating on how one device somehow negates the need for another. First, of course, the argument was applied to tablets replacing PCs. But now that the tablet market has slowed, we've moved onto smartphones replacing tablets and PCs — the Post-Tablet Era.

However, there are already signs of the smartphone market starting to peak, especially in the U.S., so a few have pointed to the "inevitable" transition to computing on your wrist. Now, with the HoloLens, I suppose we've moved to computing on your face. But, of course, that's likely only a modest stop before "implantables" make biological, in-body computing the real end game.

Call me crazy, but it seems increasingly obvious to me that we live in a technological world of "and," not "or." One device does not necessarily replace another for most people. Sure there are exceptions, but writing off one category for the next hot "thing" seems ridiculously short-sighted. Yet, much of the tech industry — especially in the often insular world of Silicon Valley — seems to think that way (or, at least, they sure act that way).

Instead, most people have a wide range of different computing and information needs, and they will continue to use existing devices in addition to new devices, in various combinations based on each individual's unique demands.

Given this reality, developments in all the major computing platforms continue to be relevant. In fact, I think Microsoft even managed to make using a PC look fresh and new with its Windows 10 announcement. For example, I have a feeling that Cortana, Microsoft's virtual personal assistant, will end up getting a lot more use on PCs than it does on phones because Cortana's capabilities are likely to be most useful when you're in a sitting down, PC-style, work/research mode.

The whole definition of computing and what devices are used for computing, thankfully, continues to evolve. As a result, even today's most advanced ideas will soon seem rather simplistic. But it's still exciting to see when truly groundbreaking ideas come to life, and to think about what an amazing future we have to look forward to.

Bob O'Donnell is founder and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, a technology and market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

Here's a link to the original column: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/01/29/hololens-microsoft-and-the-changing-face-of-computing/22549405/

Podcasts
Leveraging more than 10 years of award-winning, professional radio experience, TECHnalysis Research participates in regular audio podcasts in conjunction with the team at Techpinions.com.
LEARN MORE
  Research Schedule
A list of the documents that TECHnalysis Research plans to publish in 2015 can be found here.
READ MORE