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HP Labs Technical Reports

Breaking up is hard to do : family perspectives on the future of the home PC

Frohlich, David; Dray, Susan; Silverman, Amy


Keyword(s): home computing; home PC; disagregation; information appliances; family computing; domestic technology

Abstract: Industry analysts currently disagree about the future of domestic computing. Some predict increasing sales of home PCs while others predict the break-up of the PC into a variety of information appliances. In this paper we report a study of home PC use which illuminates this issue from the perspective of existing PC-owning families. Eleven PC-owning families from the Boston area were interviewed at home about their current PC use, their attitudes to computers and the location of technology in their homes. We found that the general purpose nature of the home PC offers something for everybody in the household, and quickly becomes an established part of family life. Indeed, it was so popular in the households we visited that it had resulted in widespread competition for PC time, and had caused parents to worry about how best to control PC and internet access and influence. These behaviours and concerns led adults and children to express quite different preferences for relocating their computing experience around the house. However in both cases the needs were for better access to multifunctional extensions of the main PC. The implications of these findings for home PC and appliance evolution are discussed. Notes: Susan Dray, Dray & Associates Inc., 2007 Kenwood Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55405, USA. Amy Silverman, HP Vancouver Division, 18110 SE 34th St., Vancouver, WA 98683-8906, USA

26 Pages

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