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Users Will Dump PC, Head For Cloud: Pew Research Center

By 2020, the majority of application and data access will be via the Internet, with the general-purpose heading towards museums, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

By 2010, the majority of computer users will be using Internet-based applications and devices such as smartphones instead of general purpose PCs as their primary means of accessing IT, according to 71 percent of the respondents to a survey by the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit research center.

Only 27 percent of respondents believed the opposite, that the majority of users will still access applications using general purpose PC, according to the report.

The Pew Research Center survey included responses from 895 people, the majority of whom are veteran Internet users.

A key implication of the survey results is that software developers will need to take cloud computing and the increasing use of the Internet and smartphone-like devices into consideration when designing applications going forward, Pew said.

The findings of the survey reflect the movement already underway to depend more on the cloud for applications, storage, or other IT tasks, the Pew Research Center reported.

A Pew survey done in 2008, found that 69 percent of Americans had either stored data online or used web-based software applications at least once.

"Using a Hotmail or Gmail account for email, storing Firefox or Google browser bookmarks online, sharing friendships in cyberspace on social networks like Facebook, maintaining a blog on WordPress, and storing personal videos and photos on YouTube and Flickr are just some of the ways many people are already 'working in the cloud' every day," Pew wrote.

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