The future of PC’s

PC sales, both desktop and laptop, are in decline. There’s good reason… that tablet you’re using and your smartphone are already more powerful than the PC you bought just three or four years ago. And they’re a fraction of the size, cheaper, more robust yet offer resolutions that make many desktops and laptops look very ordinary.

I’m currenly using a 5.5″ Lenovo smartphone with amazing performance and a full HD resolution (1920×1080 pixels). It cost $USD180 fully unlocked!  My 8″ tablet is dual boot Win 10/Android 5, has 2gb of RAM, 32GB of storage, is full HD yet cost just $108! I reviewed it here.

Wireless monitors, keyboards and mice now allow you to use your smartphone or tablet as the equivalent of a desktop. So is there a future for PC’s? The answer is yes and no…

The ‘yes’ applies to many business applications which simply need more ‘grunt’ than current and foreseeable smartphones and tablets offer. CAD and financial modelling, graphic design and even building and maintaining websites are good examples. The ‘no’ probably applies to the vast majority of households. Why have a stationary system when you can have one that fits in your pocket or purse or that can move from kitchen benchtop to the bedroom in seconds?

Lenovo and Microsoft can obviously see this coming and have developed their Yoga and Surface models to capture the new consumer sentiment. Others are in catch-up mode. But one company that seems to really have a grasp on the opportunities is, in my opinion, Hewlett-Packard, who unquestionably offer the most innovative computer being sold anywhere right now… the Sprout.

It’s a system that steps right outside the box and takes a courageous look at what they (and I) believe is the future of computing. The key is the 3D camera/scanner/projector that sits on the top edge of the monitor together with the 20″ ‘Touch Mat’ that has double the sensitivity of other leading edge touch devices. Throw in the HD touch screen and a very responsive stylus and you have a whole new class of desktop. Of course, it also has all the functionality of any other Windows 10 computer so it can do your accounts, emails and data management.

The system has been out and about for almost a full year now but seems to get very little attention. That may be because the price point, at $1,899 is a lot higher than standard desktops but it’s an odious comparison. The Sprout is a totally separate class of computing and represents excellent value for the performance and inclusions. For another $300 you can add the ‘3D Capture Stage’, a motorized turntable that allows the most complex items to be scanned with remarkable accuracy.

Here’s another video that demonstrates the extreme ‘user friendliness’ of the system:

Note that the prices shown are for USA customers where the suggested retail is $2,199. Maker Shed are offering the system at $1,899 with just $5 shipping.

Pricing in Australia seems discriminatory at $3,999 which may be a reflection of (apparently) a single reseller. If you are a serious AU/NZ contender for this unit, email us at [email protected] and we will try to get a group buying price.



  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64 bit
  • HP Illuminator: HP Illuminator, powered by the HP DLP Projector, the HP High-Resolution Camera with up to 14.6 megapixel resolution and the Intel® RealSense™ 3D Camera for instant capture of 2D and 3D objects, along with an LED desk lamp
  • HP Touch Mat: 20″ diagonal, 20-point touch-enabled touch mat with an ultra-resistant top coating
  • Stylus: Adonit Jot Pro stylus to write and draw comfortably. It can be attached magnetically to the upper-right side of the sprout display
  • Processor: 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7-4790S Processor
  • Graphics; NVIDIA™ GeForce GT 745A with 2GB DDR3 dedicated memory
  • Integrated Display: 23″ diagonal, 10-point touch-enabled, Full HD (1920×1080) Wide Viewing Angle, White-LED backlit LCD Display
  • Memory: 8 GB DDR3-1600 (expandable to 16GB)
  • Hybrid Drive: 1TB SATA Solid State Hybrid Drive with 8GB flash acceleration cache offers SSD-like Speed & HDD capacity
  • Webcam: HP High Definition 1MP Webcam
  • Sound: DTS Sound
  • Wireless10/100/1000 Base-T Network and Integrated Bluetooth® 4.0 and Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n featuring Dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 2×2 MIMO technology
  • USB Ports Dual USB 2.0 ports and dual USB 3.0 ports, including a powered port to charge phones or other USB devices
  • Memory Card Reader: HP 3-in-1 Media Card Reader – Supports SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Keyboard and Mouse: Premium wireless chiclet-style keyboard with volume control, Windows 8 hot keys and optical mouse
  • sprout Workspace: The app for capturing, creating and sharing your ideas
  • Size and Weight:
  • Height: 23.4 inches (59.3 cm)
  • Width: 22.7 inches (57.6 cm)
  • Depth: 23.8 inches (60.4 cm)
  • Weight: 33.7 lb approx. (15.29 kg approx.)

As always, we live in interesting times but HP seems willing to take us one step beyond. What do you think is the future of the PC? Has HP got it right?



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