There are over one billion PCs used in the world nowadays. This number is expected to double by 2014, Gartner says. Developing markets show the largest growth in computer sales. The current PC sales dynamic in the world allowed analysts to predict that the number of computers installed all over the world would double and reach two billion by 2014.
Users in the USA, Japan and Europe own 58 percent of all computers. It is worthy of note that many computers will become outdated and useless in a very short period of time. Specialists say that people will stop using 180 million PCs soon and about 35 million of them will eventually rest in landfills.
The capabilities of the PC have changed greatly since the introduction of electronic computers. By the early 1970s, people in academic or research institutions had the opportunity for single-person use of a computer system in interactive mode for extended durations, although these systems would still have been too expensive to be owned by a single person. The introduction of the microprocessor, a single chip with all the circuitry that formerly occupied large cabinets, led to the proliferation of personal computers after about 1975. Early personal computers - generally called microcomputers - were sold often in kit form and in limited volumes, and were of interest mostly to hobbyists and technicians. By the late 1970s, mass-market pre-assembled computers allowed a wider range of people to use computers, focusing more on software applications and less on development of the processor hardware.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, home computers were developed for household use, offering personal productivity, programming and games. Somewhat larger and more expensive systems (although still low-cost compared with minicomputers and mainframes) were aimed for office and small business use. Workstations are characterized by high-performance processors and graphics displays, with large local disk storage, networking capability, and running under a multitasking operating system. Workstations are still used for tasks such as computer-aided design, drafting and modelling, computation-intensive scientific and engineering calculations, image processing, architectural modelling, and computer graphics for animation and motion picture visual effects.
Eventually the market segments lost any technical distinction; business computers acquired color graphics capability and sound, and home computers and game systems users used the same computers and operating systems as office workers. Mass-market computers had graphics capabilities and memory comparable to dedicated workstations of a few years before. Even local area networking, originally a way to allow business computers to share expensive mass storage and peripherals, became a standard feature of the personal computers used at home.
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