7 PC Usage Patterns that will Change in 2011

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1. DVD and CD drives will go the way of the Do Do bird – and the floppy drive – as the iTun-if-ication of the world continues. What is the "iTun-if-ication?" It's the move toward simple downloads of content and software rather than buying media offline and slipping it into an optical drive. DVDs and CDs are becoming a hassle in a world that is demanding hassle-free computing.

2. Tethering Internet connections via wireless devices – like the Palm Pre Pixie or iPhone 4.0 or Samsung Galaxy devices – will be the undoing of those kludgy, annoying and expensive (but often necessary) on-the-fly, daily T-Mobile, hotel or conference center accounts. In 2010, Verizon began offering $80-per-month, all-you-can-eat tethering deals on Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pre Pixie devices, and the iPhone will allow for WiFi tethering at much less than that via AT&T. This, in addition to mobile WiFi hubs, like the MyFi, mean that always-available 3G will be the answer to a new majority of those needing remote access.

3. Video will begin to match or supplant voice and text as a preferred method of instant communications. That's because of advances in client-based video conferencing by vendors including Skype, Logitech and, yes, Apple with its Facetime software for both its iOS and Mac OS X operating systems.

4. Anything less than all-day battery life for notebooks just won't fly.

5. The world will just stop using crashy, unstable software even if it has become a de-facto standard for many web sites. (Cough cough Shockwave cough cough.) Developers will either find a way to stabilize it, and work with all manner of device drivers, or it's over.

6. Online, client-based storage services like Microsoft's Sky Drive, Apple's iDisk, Box.net and Dropbox, will become default drives for basic file storage – if they can perform as quickly and reliably as HDD and SDD drives.

7. Pre-loaded PC bloatware will finally become the dealbreaker that it should have been for everyone all along.


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