Bye, 2012. Bye, Laptops And PCs.

Using data from a variety of sources, writer Andrew Leonard points out the growing dominance of mobile computing, calling it "2012's biggest technological transformation."

What's the Latest Development?

We can't say we didn't see this coming: Old Man 2012 may finally be the year that hobbled off the stage carrying the PC with him. Writer Andrew Leonard cites a number of data points from different sources as proof, including the type of machines now used to get online (66 percent are mobile devices) as well as the type used to open e-mails (mobile devices are leading here as well). Leonard declares that the rise of smartphones and tablets represents the year's biggest transformative technology: "The decline of the PC is no longer subject to debate."

What's the Big Idea?

The rise of mobile computing impacts almost every aspect of business. According to Leonard, "The triumph of mobile...signals a triumph of volatility. If your livelihood depends on generating revenue from an advertising-supported business must figure out how to make your product work on mobile devices, or go the way of the dinosaur." It also impacts society at large: With more people carrying GPS-enabled smartphones, the amount of privacy any one user has is decreasing every day, and laws designed to protect them aren't being updated quickly enough. Despite these fears, many good things are resulting from the paradigm shift, particularly the ability to connect many people together quickly: "We carry with us the possibility for crowdsourced action as easy as our thumbs can manipulate a touch screen."

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