Primary vs Secondary computers

Discussion in 'Netbooks, Tablets, Slates and eReaders' started by Drillbit, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    3,799
    Likes Received:
    492
    Trophy Points:
    258
    When it comes to usage, it seems to me there are actually two kinds of computers. To break it down ---

    First there is the Primary Computer. The characteristics of it as follows:

    1. Moderate to high cost
    2. Mobility is moderate to stationary.
    3. Large screens
    4. Large local storage.
    5. High processing power with high power consumption
    6. Multiport, serves as a hub to other devices
    7. Long usage cycle prior to replacement
    8. Content production

    The Secondary Computer, on the other hand, has these characteristics.

    1. Low to moderate cost
    2. Moderate to high mobility
    3. Moderate to smaller screens
    4. Moderate to low storage
    5. Limited ports
    6. Low power consumption
    7. Shorter usage cycles prior to replacement.
    8. Content consumption.

    Desktops, gaming rigs, high cost notebooks, workstations would fit the category of the Primary. Smaller notebooks, netbooks, tablets, and even smartphones, would fit the second.

    For a long time, the Primary Computer has dominated, but in the last years starting around 2007, we saw the rise of the Secondary Computer, to the point that this is in fact, we see a lot more sales are being accounted for. The sheer cost, longevity of Primaries mean you are going to have lower turnover as demand is satisfied, and the demand for replacement is lower.

    On the other hand, high disposability and the lower price points means the Secondaries are going to inevitably dominate the market. But for a Secondary to actually succeed, it has to meet all given 8 criteria, and that hybrids between the two --- combining features of the two --- isn't going to work, despite the initial attraction of having to blend features by combining the advantages of both. The thing is, all 8 of the two sets are basic criteria are synergistic to each other, each a node that reinforces each other in a dependency circle. Breaking the circles with a hybrid isolates each characteristic, and the resulting product becomes less certain of its market intention, in essence, becomes a compromise.
     
    lelisa13p, jigwashere, hal and 2 others like this.
  2. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    1,202
    Trophy Points:
    288
    I use my "secondary" computer (the Duo 11 convertible tablet) 90% of the time, for both content production and content consumption, and my "primary" computer (Vaio F2 desktop replacement) 10% of the time, mainly for managing photos and for gaming.
     
  3. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    3,799
    Likes Received:
    492
    Trophy Points:
    258
    The kind of gaming I do won't run well on a Duo 11. In fact with an i7 and a GT630M nVidia, I still run it at minimal graphics mode.

    I also won't use an 11" screen to process a lot of photos either.

    The kind of money I can spend on a Duo 11 I can spend on a full blown Asus gaming laptop.

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk 2
     
  4. hal

    hal itchy and cold feet hal

    Messages:
    5,254
    Likes Received:
    316
    Trophy Points:
    186
    You have put in typeset the best part of 25 years in just a handful of paragraphs, Drillbit.

    After the average user makes an IT resource fit in the self life, all of this starts flying on the top of the head, with variable effect of just following it as a hunch, or totally putting it on a task list, and a wish list, and a shopping list. Indeed, the Primary computer means a bigger compromise and therefore deserves both a bigger budget and a more careful reflection and search for options. Because it will be the repository, permanent but to an extent, of the assorted information of the user. And I totally agree on your list of 'the regulars' as the Primary computers. I would even go as far as speaking of the primary computer as an investment, and of the secondary computer as an expenditure.

    As an empirical comment, I shall point out that there's a trend in that the secondary computer's cost can be measured as a fixed fraction of that of the primary. Perhaps cause an important factor is the specific spending power of a given consumer.

    Allow me to go a bit deeper in the timeline. During the 1980's, personal computing became a reality, but computers were far to be as ubiquitous as they are today (haha, like if you didn't know). There were few households with computers, and when you arrived at a new job there wasn't necessarily a computer waiting for you and for your specific work or hierarchy. That was the time when computer halls became mainstream at schools and libraries. It would take a decade until computers became, hmmm, home appliances, and i.e. any newly wed couple considered the purchase of 'the computer' just as they enlist 'the fridge', and 'the washing machine', and etc. In my perception, speaking of full-size computers (meaning with full-size OSs such as MS Windows and all that encompasses), the personal computing age was consolidated until 2002. Again, in my perception, there is a specific lapse, that goes from (around) 1988 to (around) 2002, in which personal computing was a reality, but cost and size of hardware wouldn't allow to benefit from it in a field manner. This 14-year span, is what I personally call The Golden Age of Mobile Devices. Yes, just personally, nothing you would find written elsewhere.

    Let me clarify that if I chose such a flamboyant name, is in imitation to the golden age of cinema, in which acting, and technology, and screenplays, and everything else, were far from being the best (in fact, if you see several movies of that age you're gonna wonder WTF are they cult movies). The point is that such golden age established the guidelines, and the motifs, and the conventions, of the whole business as we know it. Back to digital tech, it was during this 14-year span when all things mobility appeared in its earliest forms, stages, and purposes, obviously far from what we see now (and again sometimes wondering why this or that device actually deserved to exist :D ), but it was when the whole industry of mobile digital tech coined its own guidelines, and motifs, and conventions, as we know it. Calculators evolved from scientific to engineering programmable and graphing. Digital planners evolved from calculator-borrowed technology, to PDAs. Cellphones evolved from almost super-high-gain wireless phones, to true trunking-networked devices. Pagers evolved from one-way radios to networked devices. Laptops evolved from hardcase-contained computers (yuck), to true portable systems. And so on. Currently, many technology lines have converged, and OTA-driven applications have made a deep indent into this subject, but I still believe that many of the guidelines, motifs, and conventions of the industry remain unchallenged. Mobile devices didn't appear as a sign of the times, they appeared in order to cover a gap that the full-size computers of the era weren't able to cover. And, at some point, all these devices became the secondary computers.


    Regarding the rise of the secondary-computer categories, my perception is that for one the ongoing innovations of digital technology, of crossed technology pathways, and the dropping costs of critical components, have benefited these categories, to a point where lots of consumers consider them an all-in-one ticket. Frankly, not everybody photoshops, or uses AutoCAD. Not everybody is amused with the perspective of a whole evening reviewing a playlist and editing singers, and songwriters, and album, etc. As we have discussed in other threads, the geek stamina is very variable from one person to another.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
    scjjtt and Drillbit like this.
  5. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    1,202
    Trophy Points:
    288
    I already said I do my gaming and photo editing on a 16.4" laptop with a quad-core CPU and dedicated GPU. I never said I do either on the Duo 11.

    That Asus gaming laptop is going to be miserable carried around all day for work. I know because I did that with my 6.8 lb Vaio F2 for more than a year before saying "enough is enough."
     
  6. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    3,799
    Likes Received:
    492
    Trophy Points:
    258
    I never said bringing around the gaming laptop other than with gaming parties. For work a budget notebook is more than sufficient for me. The last one cost me $450 from K-Mart though its not small. Previous to that, to my HP, around $850. Actually my $450 laptop stays at the office now. I use a $350 notebook for my trips replacing my $400 netbook which I now leave in the office. But I am investigating if a $250 Chromebook can do the travel job even more. It just keeps getting lower. If I can find a keyboard dock for my Nexus 7...

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk 2
     
  7. weegie

    weegie Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    220
    Trophy Points:
    238
    Good post.

    Primary for me is a high end notebook and secondary is some type of handheld that MUST fit in a pocket [so no tablet], I've tried having a smaller in between notebook before but it just clutters and complicates my life.

    The only point I would disagree on is #8, because I'd rather consume content on a less portable/bigger device given the choice
     
    hal likes this.
  8. hal

    hal itchy and cold feet hal

    Messages:
    5,254
    Likes Received:
    316
    Trophy Points:
    186
    I feel some attraction towards tablets, but I figure they still don't have a place to fit in my life. Just like you, I better like something that is pocket-sized.

    Hmmmm, yes, I kind of agree. I mean, watching a video like a full-length movie in a small screen is of an arguable level of experience. However, I do agree with Drillbit in the general sense that secondary computers are more apt for media consumption in contrast to media creation. This last sentence is what I understand Drillbit is trying to remark. Not that you are totally due to edit a video on a desktop computer with a lot of screen real estate but you are forbidden from watching that same video on that same computer.
     
    scjjtt likes this.
  9. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    3,799
    Likes Received:
    492
    Trophy Points:
    258
    Video watching and game playing, which are also, and sometimes better done in Primary computers, are but two aspects of content consumption. The others are:

    Web browsing
    Social Networking
    News Reading
    Magazines
    Ebooks
    Podcast
    Music

    Aspects of content creation, or productivity, that is often exercised in Secondaries are email, note collection, and photo collection.

    There is a good overlap between content creation and content consumption on both primaries and secondaries. So this isn't a black and white thing, but rather shades of grey. I do think primaries have a stronger shade in creation while secondaries have a stronger shade in consumption.

    Trends in content consumption are showing a strong migration to the secondary, more mobile form. Especially with games. The ability to bring your entertainment with you means you are likely to satiate periods of opportunity boredom with a secondary.
     
    hal and scjjtt like this.
  10. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

    Messages:
    13,835
    Likes Received:
    2,439
    Trophy Points:
    288
    What really frustrates me is the need for a different pair of glass for each situation. On my desktop, I use 150s, 175-200 with my netbook, and recently added 225 for my smartphone.

    Sigh....

    As I begin to shop for my next computer, the characteristics listed in the OP will be helpful to keep in mind. I don't think I can go with a single computer to meet my needs. I'll still need a decent desktop as my primary. That leaves me freer to choose a more appropriate secondary computer.

    Actually, I don't completely like the terms "primary" and “secondary" because I probably use my secondary more often (at least, that's the plan once I upgrade).

    In my case, I expect to have 2 secondary devices, if you include my smartphone.

    Sent from my SPH-D710 using Tapatalk 2
     
    hal likes this.
  11. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    1,202
    Trophy Points:
    288
    My thoughts exactly. I use my "secondary" computer (aka my more mobile computer) most of the time because "serious work" for me means MS Office, not MatLab. The Vaio F2's advantages (larger screen with the same pixel count) are so minimal for this work, and the battery life and weight are so annoying for carrying with me for all day, that my "primary" computer collects dust except for when I need to do photo editing or gaming.
     
  12. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

    Messages:
    13,835
    Likes Received:
    2,439
    Trophy Points:
    288
    My current computer situation is pretty laughable by most standards. My desktop didn't cost too much, and I don't expect its replacement to be terribly expensive, but it will be stationary, have a large screen, lots of local storage, reasonable processing power, serves as a hub to other devices (it's the only device in the house with an optical drive, for example), and will get many years of use before I replace it. As far as content production is concerned, it might be a bit of a toss-up between my desktop and laptop in practice, but there are a lot of variables there. My laptop (or convertable/tablet/whatever) most definitely needs to be mobile, consume less power, and strong emphasis on content consumption. I think this will be a recipe for success.
     
    scjjtt likes this.
  13. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    3,799
    Likes Received:
    492
    Trophy Points:
    258
    The amount of time being used between primary and secondary isn't the factor between the primary and the secondary. I use my secondaries a lot more than my primary. But when I use the primary the job it does tends to be strategic.

    The primary computer also acts as your data vault. The secondary computer isn't the best machine to locally hold thousands of multi MB photos, or thousands of your music files, or thousands of your old emails, documents, spreadsheets, presentations. This is the machine that will read your CDs and convert them to MP3s for example. Do you prefer to code for web pages on an 11.6" screen or do you prefer to do it on a 17" screen or even a 22" screen? What about for coding apps, and compiling them, do you prefer to do that on a netbook or something with 16Gb of RAM and a 3GHz i7 processor? Creating a page for a newspaper, or a magazine, or even a comic or manga? Or creating a CG animation for a presentation? I simply won't consider complex document creation on a small screen, especially with spreadsheets.

    If your computer is old, usually you deal with the core needs first. That would be your primary computer. This is an investment meant to last, so you do expect to grow old. Once the primary is taken care off, then you splurge on the secondaries.

    An iMac or Macbook Pro are good examples of things used as primaries. An iPad would be a secondary. In fact, due to iTunes, the iPad makes having a primary a primary requirement.

    An analogy for the primary and secondary would be a rock star on a concert tour. On tour, he probably depends on living on his bus cavalcade, living on hotels or motels, from city to city. That will be the secondaries. But when the tour is done, its home sweet home on the mansion, and that's the primary.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
    hal, scjjtt and weegie like this.
  14. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

    Messages:
    13,835
    Likes Received:
    2,439
    Trophy Points:
    288
    I understand what you're saying and besides, the terms really aren't that important to the discussion. The idea you pose in your OP is very relevant: for tablets/ultrabooks/smartphones and similar devices to be successful, they need to know their place. When they try too hard to do what is best suited for the primary computer, they end up compromising on things like portability, price, battery life, and ultimately, usability.
     
  15. hal

    hal itchy and cold feet hal

    Messages:
    5,254
    Likes Received:
    316
    Trophy Points:
    186
    I reckon that the main distinction between primary and secondary devices, is that the latter are satellite to the former. Another distinction, regarding the content creation and consumption, is not quite the possibility of accomplishing either, but the depth of work that can be reasonably assigned to each.

    At least attaining to the originally intended purpose, netbooks, ultrabooks, chromebooks, tablets, were meant to be secondary devices. Whether a person can use them as primary, IMO this is not of a true weight in this discussion (for it's not about a proof of concept otherwise). These are the devices that all by themselves should be considered dumb, crippled, incomplete, in the hands of the user. I totally agree that primary computers are better suit for lengthy periods of activity filing and detailing what is unlikely (or impractical) to achieve in the secondary computers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
    jigwashere, Drillbit and weegie like this.

Share This Page