Computer trends for 2014

Here is my collection of trends and predictions for year 2014:

It seems that PC market is not recovering in 2014. IDC is forecasting that the technology channel will buy in around 34 million fewer PCs this year than last. It seem that things aren’t going to improve any time soon (down, down, down until 2017?). There will be no let-up on any front, with desktops and portables predicted to decline in both the mature and emerging markets. Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system: PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices. As a result, PC lifespan continue to increase. Death of the Desktop article says that sadly for the traditional desktop, this is only a matter of time before its purpose expires and that it would be inevitable it will happen within this decade. (I expect that it will not completely disappear).

When the PC business is slowly decreasing, smartphone and table business will increase quickly. Some time in the next six months, the number of smartphones on earth will pass the number of PCs. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone: the mobile business is much bigger than the computer industry. There are now perhaps 3.5-4 billion mobile phones, replaced every two years, versus 1.7-1.8 billion PCs replaced every 5 years. Smartphones broke down that wall between those industries few years ago – suddenly tech companies could sell to an industry with $1.2 trillion annual revenue. Now you can sell more phones in a quarter than the PC industry sells in a year.

After some years we will end up with somewhere over 3bn smartphones in use on earth, almost double the number of PCs. There are perhaps 900m consumer PCs on earth, and maybe 800m corporate PCs. The consumer PCs are mostly shared and the corporate PCs locked down, and neither are really mobile. Those 3 billion smartphones will all be personal, and all mobile. Mobile browsing is set to overtake traditional desktop browsing in 2015. The smartphone revolution is changing how consumers use the Internet. This will influence web design.


The only PC sector that seems to have some growth is server side. Microservers & Cloud Computing to Drive Server Growth article says that increased demand for cloud computing and high-density microserver systems has brought the server market back from a state of decline. We’re seeing fairly significant change in the server market. According to the 2014 IC Market Drivers report, server unit shipment growth will increase in the next several years, thanks to purchases of new, cheaper microservers. The total server IC market is projected to rise by 3% in 2014 to $14.4 billion: multicore MPU segment for microservers and NAND flash memories for solid state drives are expected to see better numbers.

Spinning rust and tape are DEAD. The future’s flash, cache and cloud article tells that the flash is the tier for primary data; the stuff christened tier 0. Data that needs to be written out to a slower response store goes across a local network link to a cloud storage gateway and that holds the tier 1 nearline data in its cache. Never mind software-defined HYPE, 2014 will be the year of storage FRANKENPLIANCES article tells that more hype around Software-Defined-Everything will keep the marketeers and the marchitecture specialists well employed for the next twelve months but don’t expect anything radical. The only innovation is going to be around pricing and consumption models as vendors try to maintain margins. FCoE will continue to be a side-show and FC, like tape, will soldier on happily. NAS will continue to eat away at the block storage market and perhaps 2014 will be the year that object storage finally takes off.

IT managers are increasingly replacing servers with SaaS article says that cloud providers take on a bigger share of the servers as overall market starts declining. An in-house system is no longer the default for many companies. IT managers want to cut the number of servers they manage, or at least slow the growth, and they may be succeeding. IDC expects that anywhere from 25% to 30% of all the servers shipped next year will be delivered to cloud services providers. In three years, 2017, nearly 45% of all the servers leaving manufacturers will be bought by cloud providers. The shift will slow the purchase of server sales to enterprise IT. Big cloud providers are more and more using their own designs instead of servers from big manufacturers. Data center consolidations are eliminating servers as well. For sure, IT managers are going to be managing physical servers for years to come. But, the number will be declining.

I hope that the IT business will start to grow this year as predicted. Information technology spends to increase next financial year according to N Chandrasekaran, chief executive and managing director of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest information technology (IT) services company. IDC predicts that IT consumption will increase next year to 5 per cent worldwide to $ 2.14 trillion. It is expected that the biggest opportunity will lie in the digital space: social, mobility, cloud and analytics. The gradual recovery of the economy in Europe will restore faith in business. Companies are re-imaging their business, keeping in mind changing digital trends.

The death of Windows XP will be on the new many times on the spring. There will be companies try to cash in with death of Windows XP: Microsoft’s plan for Windows XP support to end next spring, has received IT services providers as well as competitors to invest in their own services marketing. HP is peddling their customers Connected Backup 8.8 service to prevent data loss during migration. VMware is selling cloud desktop service. Google is wooing users to switch to ChromeOS system by making Chrome’s user interface familiar to wider audiences. The most effective way XP exploiting is the European defense giant EADS subsidiary of Arkoon, which promises support for XP users who do not want to or can not upgrade their systems.

There will be talk on what will be coming from Microsoft next year. Microsoft is reportedly planning to launch a series of updates in 2015 that could see major revisions for the Windows, Xbox, and Windows RT platforms. Microsoft’s wave of spring 2015 updates to its various Windows-based platforms has a codename: Threshold. If all goes according to early plans, Threshold will include updates to all three OS platforms (Xbox One, Windows and Windows Phone).


Amateur programmers are becoming increasingly more prevalent in the IT landscape. A new IDC study has found that of the 18.5 million software developers in the world, about 7.5 million (roughly 40 percent) are “hobbyist developers,” which is what IDC calls people who write code even though it is not their primary occupation. The boom in hobbyist programmers should cheer computer literacy advocates.IDC estimates there are almost 29 million ICT-skilled workers in the world as we enter 2014, including 11 million professional developers.

The Challenge of Cross-language Interoperability will be more and more talked. Interfacing between languages will be increasingly important. You can no longer expect a nontrivial application to be written in a single language. With software becoming ever more complex and hardware less homogeneous, the likelihood of a single language being the correct tool for an entire program is lower than ever. The trend toward increased complexity in software shows no sign of abating, and modern hardware creates new challenges. Now, mobile phones are starting to appear with eight cores with the same ISA (instruction set architecture) but different speeds, some other streaming processors optimized for different workloads (DSPs, GPUs), and other specialized cores.

Just another new USB connector type will be pushed to market. Lightning strikes USB bosses: Next-gen ‘type C’ jacks will be reversible article tells that USB is to get a new, smaller connector that, like Apple’s proprietary Lightning jack, will be reversible. Designed to support both USB 3.1 and USB 2.0, the new connector, dubbed “Type C”, will be the same size as an existing micro USB 2.0 plug.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Software Engineering Is a Dead-End Career, Says Bloomberg

    “Many programmers find that their employability starts to decline at about age 35. Employers dismiss them as either lacking in up-to-date technical skills — such as the latest programming-language fad — or ‘not suitable for entry level.’ In other words, either underqualified or overqualified.”

    ‘the half-life of an engineer, software or hardware, is only a few years,’

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

    “A little over a year after Microsoft released Windows 8, and a mere three months after it pushed out a major update with Windows 8.1, rumors abound that Windows 9 is already on its way. According to Paul Thurrott’s Supersite for Windows, Microsoft will begin discussing the next version of Windows (codenamed ‘Threshold,’ at least for the moment) at April’s BUILD conference.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Windows 9 preview updates can be installed with one click, no reinstallation required:

    Windows Threshold: Rapid release is getting really interesting

    Microsoft is working feverishly towards a release of Windows Threshold that is expected to be released late next month. The build will likely be called Windows Technical Preview (the word ‘Enterprise’ may be tossed in there too), but what will be quite convenient when the preview is finally released is how you will go about upgrading to new builds.

    On current internal builds of Windows Threshold, you can upgrade builds with a single click of a button.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Intel’s NUC 2.0 leaks: The next unit of Steam Machines and home theater PCs

    Thanks in large part to the Raspberry Pi, mini PCs are all the rage these days. In terms of power, none of them yet compare to a standard gaming rig, but they’re slowly creeping toward that end. If some leaked slides are to be believed, then Intel’s next NUC — the next Next Unit of Computing — is creeping much faster than the competition.

    The NUC 2.0 is a significant upgrade compared to the original

    The initial next-gen NUCs will be powered by Core i3 and i5 Broadwell and Braswell chips, can support up to either 8GB or 16GB of DDR3 RAM depending on the model, and will feature Intel HD graphics. Don’t balk at the inclusion of Intel graphics — Steam’s hardware survey shows that Intel GPUs are the most used on the service.

    Perhaps most interestingly, it appears as though the next NUCs will make standard 2.5-inch SSDs optional, instead opting for the more flexible M.2 drives — a type that can can even be shoved onto a stick of specialized RAM.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:
    The White House Gives Up on Making Coders Dress Like Adults

    The U.S. Government wants to hire more people like Mikey Dickerson. He’s the former Google engineer the White House recently tapped to lead the new U.S. Digital Service.

    In a White House video, Dickerson says he is asked one question again and again by people curious about his new job. They “want to know if I’m wearing a suit to work every day,” Dickerson explains in the video. “Because that’s just the quickest shorthand way of asking: ‘Is this just the same old business as usual or are they actually going to listen?’”

    When it comes to computers, the federal government has a nasty reputation for prizing ISO standards and regulatory checkboxes above working code.

    According to the Dickerson, that’s changed. He isn’t showing up in a T-shirt, but he’s free to wear a wrinkled button-down and comfortable pants.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:
    US Military To Launch Open Source Academy

    Open source software, which has become increasingly common throughout the US military from unmanned drones to desktops, has now been enlisted as a career option for military personnel. In September, Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center will open a Linux certification academy, marking the first time such a training program has been hosted on a military base.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:
    China to launch home-grown OS in October as Windows replacement
    Plans to compete with Microsoft, Google and Apple on the OS front

    China hopes to launch a home-grown operating system by October to wean the country from foreign-made OSes like Windows, the government-run Xinhua news agency said Sunday.

    The operating system, which Xinhua did not name, will be initially offered on desktop PCs, with the plan to later extend it to smartphones. The news service cited a report in the People’s Post and Telecommunications News, a trade paper run by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the agency responsible for, among other things, the regulation and development of China’s software industry.

    “We hope to launch a Chinese-made desktop operating system by October supporting app stores,” Ni Guangnan of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the trade paper, according to a translation by Reuters on Sunday.

    Historically, China has been a stronghold of Windows XP, in large part because of massive piracy of Microsoft’s software.

    China has long been at odds with foreign technology firms, particularly Microsoft and Google — but also at times with Apple — over their impact and influence in the country.

    China has worked on a its own OS before: In 2000, Red Flag Linux
    Red Flag never took off, and the company backing it shuttered earlier this year. But Red Flag — the OS, not the company — will be resurrected.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:
    If Java Wasn’t Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

    10 years ago today on this site, readers answered the question “Why is Java considered un-cool?” 10 years later, Java might not be hip, but it’s certainly stuck around.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:
    ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science

    “Over at the Communications of the ACM, a new article — Computing’s Narrow Focus May Hinder Women’s Participation — suggests that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs should shoulder some of the blame for the dearth of women at Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter and other tech companies. From the article: “Valerie Barr, chair of ACM’s Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W), believes the retreat [of women from CS programs] was caused partly by the growth of personal computers”

    “ACM continued its efforts to reshape the U.S. education system to see real computer science exist and count as a core graduation credit in U.S. high schools”

  10. Tomi Engdahl says: killed the distro star: Why are people so bored with the top Linux makers?
    Raise your hand if you’re interested – liar!

    At one time, Miller said, shows like LinuxCon would have been lined with booths showcasing free Linux distros like Fedora, Gentoo, OpenSuse, and others. This year there were none, and Miller observed that their absence wasn’t entirely due to lack of funds.

    “Over the last couple of years, those have really been less interesting for the people at the booths,” he said. “Our interactions are not that great. It really doesn’t seem to build up the community at all.”

    The rise of GitHub has changed this dynamic. Rather than just offering links to tarballs for download, GitHub allows developers to publish their source code in a standard format, accessible by a common set of tools. As a result, Miller observed, GitHub has rapidly become a preferred way for open source developers to offer their software to the public.

    “When you go to the Docker website, it doesn’t say ‘find us in these distros,’ it says, ‘fork us on GitHub’,” Miller said, “and you see that more and more in a lot of prominent open source projects.”

    “There are something like 15 million repositories on GitHub,”

    One way of looking at Docker is that it’s an entirely new format for packaging applications, one that obviates the need for distro-specific package formats.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Choose your side on the Linux divide
    The battle over systemd exposes a fundamental gap between the old Unix guard and a new guard of Linux developers and admins

    Mike Gancarz sums up the Unix philosophy:

    Small is beautiful.
    Make each program do one thing well.
    Build a prototype as soon as possible.
    Choose portability over efficiency.
    Store data in flat text files.
    Use software leverage to your advantage.
    Use shell scripts to increase leverage and portability.
    Avoid captive user interfaces.
    Make every program a filter.

    We have built the Internet and all modern Internet services on those principles. Systemd’s design and implementation violates nearly all of them.

    Should it be a surprise that so many long-term Unix and Linux developers, architects, and administrators recoil at the thought of something like systemd? It might seem that the design of systemd purposefully dispensed with the wisdom of 45 years of Unix development and struck out in a different direction just to spite the old guard.

    The old saying, “Those who don’t understand Unix are doomed to re-invent it — poorly,” has been used many times when discussing Windows. It’s disturbing to see it now used to describe Linux.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:
    VMware Partners With Docker, Pivotal And Google To Bring Container Support To Its Platform

    VMware today announced that it is partnering with Docker, Google and Pivotal to bring support for Docker containers to its platform. In addition, the company said that it will work with the Kubernetes community to bring that project’s container management solution to enterprises.

    At first glance, the Docker project and VMware should be at odds with each other. In many ways, Docker containers negate the need for a solution like VMware because the VMware model of the “software-defined data center” is squarely based on the idea of using its own virtual machines. There is no reason the two can’t co-exist, however — even in the same data center — given that you could run a container within a virtual machine.

    “With Docker, Google and Pivotal, we are simplifying the way enterprises develop, run and manage all application types on a common platform at scale,” said Ben Fathi, the chief technology officer of VMware in a statement today. “In this way, Docker containers and virtual machines provide an IT environment without compromise. Together, we are optimizing containers for the enterprise – ensuring they run effectively in software-defined data center environments.”

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:
    VMware plays nice with OpenStack, unveils a VMware-powered data-center-in-a-box

    At VMworld, the virtualization giant will unveil new service that makes OpenStack more compatible with VMware tools and VMware-loaded data centers as well as a new appliance that will come stocked with (what else?) VMware software.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Amazon Is Turning Into Google

    Tell me which company this sounds like:

    A company that…

    Has its own mobile operating system for tablets and smartphones.
    Has its own app store.
    Sells digital music, books, movies, and TV shows.
    Will soon have an online ad network.
    Created a way to accept payments with a smartphone.
    Owns the servers that act as the backbone for several major apps and startups and even parts of the CIA.
    Is experimenting with drones.

    It’s not Google. It’s Amazon.

    But just like Google has expanded beyond search into everything from finding ways to cheat death to making cars that can drive themselves, Amazon has been increasingly expanding beyond its core e-commerce business.

    And in recent months, that only seems to be speeding up.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:
    The Rise and Fall and Rise of Virtual Reality

    In the wake of Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR, can this revolutionary technology triumph anew?

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:
    VMware’s high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
    Get it right, EMC, or there’ll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words

    In the battle for the software-defined data centre, one of VMware’s challenges is how to deliver software-defined/controlled storage without screwing up parent EMC’s hardware-based storage revenues.

    VMware is an overall EMC Federation member along with Pivotal and the EMC Information Infrastructure (EMC II) unit. The three are allowed to compete, but what will EMC’s chairman and overall CEO Joe Tucci say if one federation member screws up another’s revenues and strategy?

    EMC revenues are largely based on hardware storage arrays with software over-pinnings and connective products. VMware revenues are based on server virtualisation software with growing seedlings for software-defined networking (NSX) and storage (VSAN).

    But VMware has now made it official – it is in the converged appliance business with the EVO range announced at VMworld.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Claim: Microsoft Alt-F4′d Chilean government open-source install bid
    The US has form in Chile

    Microsoft successfully lobbied against a law that would have seen Chile’s government adopt open-source software, says Elmostrador, a newspaper in the South American nation.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Windows Threshold ‘Technical Preview for Enterprise’: Here’s what to expect

    Late next month, we fully expect Microsoft to release a technical preview of Windows Threshold and as we approach that launch window, we are learning more and more about the release and what all will be included. For starters, the current watermark for the builds that are circulating refer to the pre-release version as the “Windows Technical Preview for Enterprise” which should help you understand what Microsoft’s intentions are for this build.

    While early Windows 8 builds were called Developer Previews, the watermark is very clear in saying that these builds are for the enterprise and that it is part of a technical preview.

    Microsoft will, in the very near future, start reaching out to key partners and informing them about the Threshold enterprise preview and will be offering up bits for testing, and around that time is when they will go public with their plans.

    Why? Well, Microsoft knows that once the enterprise has the bits, NDAs never hold and the builds will leak. So, to avoid having all of their fun being spoiled (like this: 1 2 3 4 5), they will release a public version of Threshold for testing.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:
    Death by 1,000 cuts: Mainstream storage array suppliers are bleeding
    Cloud, all-flash kit, object storage slicing away at titans of storage

    Great beasts can be killed by a 1,000 cuts, bleeding to death from the myriad slashes in their bodies – none of which, on their own, is a killer. And this, it seems, is the way things are going for big-brand storage arrays, as upstarts slice away at the market with converged systems, virtual SANs, all-flash kit, hybrid devices, object storage, software-defined storage and the cloud.

    Up until a few years ago, say around 2009, storage arrays ruled supreme, with monolithic, multi-controller arrays on the top of the heap: VMAX, VSP, DS8000, and dual-controller arrays beneath them – NetApp FAS, EMC VNX, HP 3PAR, and Dell Compellent for example. There were rumblings in the storage jungle from object storage, early flash arrays like those from Violin Memory, and scale-out filers like Isilon, but the rumbles did not take centre stage.

    These were early signs that the classic storage array was under attack because it was becoming too limiting, complex and expensive for more and more use-cases.

    Another indication was the rise of virtual SANs, software-only SANs like the one produced by LeftHand Networks, with LeftHand acquired by HP and the P4000 product emerging. Shared storage went through a renaissance

    In short, classic storage arrays are limited, not being software-defined in the latest use of the term, expensive, complicated to operate, slow to provide data, and with quality of service affected by RAID rebuilds.

    Cloud storage avoids the on-premises mess by putting the data elsewhere. Flash and hybrid storage, say, get high-speed access to data without suffering disk array latencies. Converged storage says combine servers and storage with VSAN ideas to simplify the whole complicated mess in your data centres.

    All of these ideas are “solving the problem” of traditional storage arrays.

    These mainstream supplier storage results indicate a slowdown. That has been and could be attributed to a recent recession and an enterprise storage spending freeze, but startups in converged systems, virtual SANs, all-flash and hybrid arrays, etc, have grown their revenues over this period, many of them dramatically, with three-digit percentage growth numbers.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:
    That 8TB Seagate MONSTER? It’s HERE… Have a look (sans specs)
    Data gulping disk drive

    Seagate is shipping an 8TB disk drive to selected OEM customers like object data-storing CleverSafe, with general availability next quarter. Tech details are sparse.

    We know the data devouring beast fits in a standard 3.5-inch drive slot and has a 6Gbit/s SATA interface.

    Seagate says it has “enterprise reliability and is for cloud content, object storage and back-up/disaster recovery storage”.


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