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13 new technologies coming to your PC

Analysis: the future of the PC revealed

Ultra-small PCs that fit on a single chip. Batteries that recharge without cables. TVs that respond to your every gesture. These and other developing technologies will fundamentally change the way you think about and use your computer. PC Advisor looks at the technology of tomorrow.

64bit computing with more RAM

In 1986, Intel introduced its first 32bit CPU. It wasn't until 1993 that the first fully 32bit Windows operating system (OS), NT 3.1, followed, officially ending the 16bit era.

Now 64bit processors have become the norm in computers, allthough Microsoft still won't commit to an all-64bit Windows. But it can't live in the 32bit world forever.

What is it?

64bit versions of Windows have been around since Windows XP, and 64bit CPUs have been with us even longer. In fact, virtually every computer sold today has a 64bit processor under the hood.

At some point Microsoft will have to jettison 32bit altogether if it wants to encourage consumers and third-party hardware and software developers to upgrade.

Microsoft isn't likely to make that move with Windows 7. The next Windows OS is already being demoed in 32bit and 64bit versions. But limitations in 32bit's addressing structure will eventually force everyone's hand; it's already a problem for 32bit Vista users, who have found that the OS won't access more than about 3GB of RAM because it simply doesn't have the bits to access additional memory.

When is it coming?

Expect to see the shift towards 64bit accelerate with Windows 7; Microsoft will probably switch over to 64bit exclusively with Windows 8. We don't expect Windows 8 until at least 2013. Meanwhile, Mac OS X Leopard is already 64bit, and some hardware manufacturers are currently trying to switch customers to 64bit versions of Windows – Samsung says it will push its entire PC line to 64bit in early 2009.

The next big change after that will be the one to 128bit computing around 2025.

NEXT PAGE: Windows 7

  1. Analysis: the future of the PC revealed
  2. A groundbreaking new circuit
  3. 32-core computing
  4. 64bit computing with more RAM
  5. Windows 7 – inevitably
  6. SuperSpeed USB
  7. Goodbye graphics cards
  8. Recharge without wires
  9. Gesture recognition
  10. Curtains for DRM
  11. The Google PC
  12. Your fingers do even more walking
  13. Mobile-phone ticketing
  14. Location, location, location

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