All-in-Ones Are The One-Way Forward for Desktops

Route of the All-In-One (AIO) PC

Atish Ghosh is the branding and messaging manager for Lenovo’s Idea Product Group. He’s lived in Beijing for more than a decade, with previous stints working as a journalist and in advertising.

Back in the day, I remember how computers could take up a whole room. It was sometime in the early 70’s that the personal computer that fit on top of your desk came into being. Today, with urban housing prices skyrocketing in cities like Beijing, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to find dedicated desk space for your computer. I don’t need the latest projections from IDC to tell me that the tower desktop is certainly on its way out. In five years or so, it may become the proverbial dinosaur of the IT industry. But what if I need something more than a laptop or a tablet? Multiple PCs in the Home Seems to me, the only real way forward for desktop computers is the route of the all-in-one (AIO) PC. Thanks to rapid advances in technology, AIOs are growing slimmer and more powerful by the day. With Moore’s law holding true, we’ll see AIO prices keep going down in the coming two or three years, and when that happens they’ll snap up a larger market share. But I feel the real game changer is their unique form factor. Size does matter!

IdeaCentre B520 The IdeaCentre® B520 is Lenovo’s latest premium AIO for consumers, and it really takes high-performance to a new level. Quite a few AIOs today may come with a 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i family processor and NVIDIA® GeForce® or AMD Radeon™ graphics like the Sony Vaio L21SFX or the iMac. But the B520 really stands out because it uses desktop components (CPU and HDD), which makes it an all-powerful machine. From what I know, other than the B520, there’s only the Gateway® One that uses desktop components. Also, the B520’s 23” frameless (edge-to-edge glass) display is the first of its kind to support state-of-the-art multi-touch technology. It’s super intuitive and your entire computing experience becomes a lot more interactive. You can do a lot more than just play Angry Birds on this machine (sorry tablets).

With 3D vision support, all you need to do is slap in the latest 3D blockbuster in the Blu-ray disc drive, put on your 3D glasses and voila…you’re virtually in the cinema! While you’re at it, don’t forget to crank up the volume. The 5.0 speaker system (a row of five built-in speakers) is really unique and an industry-first. More Consumer Friendly One of the main drawbacks of AIOs has been their serious upgrade limitation. That’s not the case with the B520. Its sliding back-cover gives you easy access to the memory and hard drive. So whenever you feel you are running out of memory or disc space (believe me – with up to 16GB DDR3 memory, 2TB HDD & optional 32GB SSD storage – you’ll take a while to run out) just get some more. A friend of mine recently moved into the new apartment she’s just bought in Beijing. It’s in central Beijing alright; but – it’s TINY!  As she’s used to bigger places (because it’s still possible to RENT bigger places), she’s having a mighty difficult time planning and designing the interiors of her apartment. She basically needs to utilize every square inch of the 40 odd square meters available to her. She’s a graphic designer and I know she uses a relatively high-performance desktop PC on top of her laptop. So I suggested she could consider buying an all-in-one, and told her how they sometimes even double up as a TV (I had the Onekey TV feature on the IdeaCentre B320 in mind). She immediately accused me (of course jokingly) of going for a hard sell on behalf of Lenovo (maybe I was unconsciously doing that). Anyway, I think the idea caught on, because she called me the next day to find out more about all-in-ones. All this talk about tablets taking over the world is a bit premature in my opinion. The tablet is the new kid in the block and it’s good for what it is – a device for content consumption. The more traditional form factors however, are what really appeals to those who create. And people will always create. So till the time tablets satisfactorily match those needs, laptops and desktops will definitely be around. In closing however, let me go back to my opening argument. The traditional desktop is most definitely on its way out! Why do I say this? It’s because we’re fast reaching the next stage of evolution, as far as the desktop computer is concerned. It’s grown too bulky and clumsy for this day and age. The AIO form factor on the other hand, is not only more agile, but is getting smarter and more powerful with each passing day. It’s almost as if there’s some “IT Darwinism” (to coin a phrase) at play here.