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What Kinds of Computers Do You Use?

Not so long ago all of us pretty much did our computing either on a desktop or a laptop. Those were pretty much our only choices, unless servers are included and they’re pretty much desktops without…well, a desktop.

These days we have all sorts of computing devices available to us, with more options being added daily, or so it seems. Although many media outlets evidently want us to believe that the traditional computer is on the way out, I don’t think that’s what’s happening. As The Motley Fool would say, were only seeing a market correction.

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 05/03/2014 14:37:06
end_date 27/03/2014 10:59:58
Poll Results:
What computing devices do you own? (Choose all that apply)

With the advent of the Internet, many people began using computers not because they liked computers but because they wanted to use the Internet. We used to read about these people often, folks who only used computers to surf, check email and occasionally do a little word processing. This group of users was quite large and until a few years ago was probably the majority of home computer users. Nowadays, however, mobile offers this group an easy option, resulting in desktops and laptops being abandoned in favor of more user friendly mobile devices.

We thought it might be time to run a poll to see what the people who visit FOSS Force own and use in their homes. Because our readers are overwhelming FOSS supporters, we figure we might see a little different mix than what we’d see from a more mainstream site.

Server We included server as a category in our poll because we figure we have a pretty savvy audience and that some of you will probably have an old box set up somewhere that you’re using as a file server. Most likely, some of you are even serving web pages through a broadband connection, bypassing the need for a host. FOSS users are a very ingenious lot.

Desktop: Also because of our audience, we figure we’ll find a higher percentage of desktop users than the national average. Since Apple changed the game with the introduction of the iPhone and iPad, the desktop is no longer the default computing device in consumer computer space. These days, desktop and laptop users are people who actually need to get some work done. With the right monitor, a desktop can also double as a widescreen TV.

Laptop or Notebook: Although a laptop pretty much serves the same function as a traditional desktop, a laptop’s portability makes it much more convenient since it’s not anchored to a single location. However, just about anything that can be accomplished on a desktop can be done on a laptop–you can just do it at Starbucks. By our way of thinking, Chromebooks are included in this category.

Netbook: For a very brief period about six or seven years ago, it appeared as if the netbook, basically a laptop clone with a crowded keyboard and limited specs, would be the next big thing in computing. This was a star that quickly fell to earth in favor of mobile devices. However, there are still a few of them being made and some folks continue to like and use them.

Tablet: My roommate was given a Nexus 7 for Christmas, which has been my only experience with tablets. It’s a very nice device, great for watching videos, listening to music, checking emails or playing games. They’re not very good for work, however. For example, while it would be possible for me to write this article on the device, I’d probably still be working on the first paragraph. Mainly they’re just a way to consume entertainment and spend money with Google.

Smartphone: I’ve never owned a smartphone and have very limited experience using them. They have a lot to recommend them, especially since apps can turn them into devices that’ll do just about anything while on the go. One example, nobody ever wants directions to my house anymore. They just want the address. Their smartphones get them here. They come with a hefty monthly fee though–too much for my blood.

Other: We’re starting to see all sorts of hybrid devices. Mostly these are laptops that can do double duty as a tablet.

So what devices do you have in your house? Take our poll. Feel free to comment below.

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux.

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5 comments to What Kinds of Computers Do You Use?

  • Chris Guiver

    I’m like you – have a smart phone, and really only use it as a phone. Yes use its inbuilt GPS with TomTom software I got for Christmas one year.

    Purchased by [Linux/Android] tablet to use as ereader (reading ebooks); found it lacking & later purchased a dedicated ebook reader which was better, but still prefer paper books.

  • I agree re the “market correction.” I don’t think it’s time to write off desktops or laptops. Desktop sales might not be as robust, but laptops will still be in demand. Personally I imagine anybody who types letters or lengthy emails can appreciate having a real keyboard.

    Tablets are okay, I guess. (I don’t use ours, my wife does.) Smartphones are just too small for my tastes. I’ll check weather, send texts, and use the phone. That’s about it. Games don’t interest me.

  • Abdel

    I’m using a desktop at home and a laptop when I’m on the go. I tried the tablet but I soon discarded it. It’s not my cup of tea.

  • “I’ve never owned a smartphone and have very limited experience using them.”

    My smartphones ain’t any different from my desktop, most application I run on the desktop I can run on the smartphone (some limitation on GUI based applications of course), this is the case if you have a smartphone running GNU/Linux like Maemo/MeeGo/SailfishOS.

    The smartphones running Android/Linux are a lot more limited and often drenched in advertisements.

  • Eddie G.

    I have a desktop and server at home…and two laptops that I carry (one or the other not both!) when I’m on the go. I have tried tablets and although like many people say, they are absolutely fantastic for watching a video, or listening to music, or even reading a pdf or eBook, but to use it on a daily basis would kill me. I am in the I.T. field and having to type up emails, Word docs, (well WRITER Docs, as I use LibreOffice and not MS Office!) the touch keyboard thing isn’t for me, I need BUTTONS and a keyboard, so it’s my desktops and laptops for working…..my tablet on occasion for watching a movie – tech video – reading a pdf/eBook and that’s it. I do own a smartphone but I refuse to do ANYTHING on it but send texts or make calls, I know people who try to do EVERYTHING they can on their “Galaxy-Quest-Version20011″…or their iPhone-Version900″ and when they want to show me something they’re doing…or looking at…or about to order online, they show me this tiny screen with a few dots of color (representing their item!) and they seem as pleased as punch about the ability to do this. I like ordering things on line, I like being able to connect to the web anywhere, anytime, for anything, but not at the expense of my eyesight! I would rather commute to / from work, wait until I get home and in the comfort of my robe & slippers order items at my leisure, being able to see the ENTIRE ITEM (on my 22″ flat screen LED monitor!) than to be squinting somewhere in Starbucks hoping like hell that I ordered the right size…..color..and have sent it to the correct address. And yes, I know that there’s the “pinch-zoom” feature……but now you’re talking about going around all day making silly hand gestures on your phone and then sliding your hand all over the screen looking for the info you want…..just doesn’t make sense to me, guess that makes me old fashioned!….LOL!