Not all Windows PCs have a keyboard and a mouse

Everything is a computer. Perhaps everything doesn’t look like a computer. But practically everything has one or more components we associate with a computer. Here is a list of some of those computer components found in everyday items:

  • Display
  • Digital storage module
  • CPU
  • Graphics chip
  • Controller board
  • Operating system

Put all this together with a power supply, enclosure, keyboard and mouse, and you have a traditional computer. Take away the traditional chassis, keyboard and mouse, and you still have a computer. It may not be the kind on which you run Excel spreadsheets; but it is still a computer nonetheless. Here are a few examples of computers that don’t look and feel like computers:

Things that go “VROOM”

At kontron.com, there is a page full of things that go “VROOM” we typically see as vehicles, but they see as computers. Here is some of how they decontextualize things with engines:

You see an airplane. We see a business and entertainment system that puts the whole world at passengers’ fingertips.

You see a train. We see a smart mobility platform with innovative IoT applications.

You see a military vehicle. We see meeting harsh, environmental demands with cobalt, small form-factor rugged computers.

They are not the only company that views vehicles this way. Tesla Motors CEO famously called the highly successful Model S not so much a car, but a very sophisticated computer on wheels. One auto industry analyst called it a convergence of the car and the mobile phone. In the motor vehicle industry, dashboards and wheels have replaced keyboards and mice. But under the hood, they are still computers.

Mobile phones, tablets and everything else that helps you stay connected

Windows phones and tablets are the latest fad, when it comes to staying connected. May it be in terms of running Windows OS on a small touch screen phone or a bigger tablet interface, the concept behind the technology is pretty much what keeps things running. While these are not computers in entirety, they are definitely running systems which make use of extensive computer technology. Staying connected with your loved ones should never be compromised, after all.

Things that process money

Microsoft often touts its massive install bass as a way to attract developers. But some generic number of Windows-based PCs out in the world tells a developer nothing about the potential market for their application. For a long time, Microsoft was literally competing with Mac sales with computing devices that included cash machines and cash registers. From Bloomberg:

The 12-year-old software powers more than 95 percent of the world’s cash machines, Robert Johnston, a marketing director at NCR, the largest ATM supplier in the U.S., told Bloomberg Businessweek.

It is not just ATMs and cash registers. For the longest time, the PoS devices at the Apple retail stores were old Windows Mobile devices. Today, many small shops accept credit cards via iPhones and iPads. Some restaurants are getting table-top ordering systems which are little more than Android tablets with card readers.

With Paypal and Apple Pay online, every Mac and iOS device is a payment terminal. With or without a keyboard and mouse, if it processes money, it’s a computer.

Things that entertain

There is almost no entertainment device you can buy these days that is not a computer. From interactive toys for tots, to the PlayStation 4, it is a computer in all but name. Modern game consoles are powered by the same tech as the Mac before it moved to Intel. Instead of keyboards and mice, the most common input peripheral is a game controller.

But entertainment is not just fun and games. It is also TV shows and movies. The boxes that serve those to users are also computers. TiVO was the first mass-market, third-party entertainment computer disguised as a set-top-box. It is even powered by Linux. The Apple TV is an iOS device that can be controlled with an included remote control, another iOS device, or a Bluetooth keyboard. The point being, these are all computers.

This list could go on for a long time in this manner. There is a good chance that your morning cup of coffee is made with a computer. That goes double for those Keurig-style devices. The OptiGrill measures the thickness of the meat you place on it, then determines doneness based on that information coupled with the kind of meat it is. Your life is not just built on computers. Its computers all the way down.

Things that go VROOM. Things that process money. And things that entertain are just the beginning. Soon, it will be things you wear, and in the world of prosthetics, things you are.

 

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