Locative Lab

researching locative media

Japan is the first market to see PCs shrink

An interesting read in the SF Gate: this article about the decline of PC in Japan by Hiroko Tabuchi. Some excerpts I found pertinent:

The PC’s role in Japanese homes is diminishing, as its once-awesome monopoly on processing power is encroached by gadgets such as smart phones that act like pocket-size computers, advanced Internet-connected game consoles, and digital video recorders with terabytes of memory.
Japan’s PC market is already shrinking, leading analysts to wonder whether Japan will become the first major market to see a decline in personal computer use some 25 years after it revolutionized household electronics — and whether this could be the picture of things to come in other countries.
The industry is responding in two other ways: reminding detractors that computers are still essential in linking the digital universe and releasing several laptops priced below $300 this holiday shopping season. (…) Recent desktop PCs look more like audiovisual equipment — or even colorful art objects — than computers. Sony Corp.’s desktop computers have folded up to become clocks, and its latest version even hangs on the wall.

The author explains that by two reasons. On the one hand the fact that PC have less added value than other devices: a bigger TV is more obviously relevant as a nice output system, a mobile phone allows mobile consumption. On the other hand, it’s because “50 percent of Japanese send e-mail and browse the Internet from their mobile phones”. A third reason is also that japanese do not really work at home.

Why do I blog this? lots of relevant stuff there, but one should be careful to draw parallels between japan and other countries. The mobile phone usage (and infrastructure) is SO different that the situation is not comparable.

Anyway, I also find interesting this idea that PC (as motors in the past) are now folded up in other devices (clocks, displays)… as if computation was meant to go “in the background”, the added value lying in the services provided by the devices, not the machine itself.


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Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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