Hard to believe that what seems to be a only few short years ago, the entire personal computing world orbited around Microsoft, Apple and IBM. IBM eventually fell out of the personal computing scene for the most part, but even with them in the game, we were all either PC people or Mac people…on our desktops and laptops.

Now roll forward to present day, and the personal computing landscape has changed drastically. The explosion of the smart phone has brought us much more than just better phones, these are of course now just a different form of personal computing devices. Add to that the emergence of tablet computers, and it appears that we are already in the midst of an actual paradigm shift.

Not only do we have new computing devices, but they bring with them relatively new and innovative operating systems. Who would have ever thought there would be anything else to choose from besides Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX? Yes, yes I know there have always been “other” OS choices out there, but they’ve never had the same kind of obvious momentum to hit mainstream like these newcomers seem to have. I still use (and love) the desktop version of Linux Ubuntu myself, but this, and many other great operating systems, are still just alternative operating systems used primarily by “geeks”.

Most people know Android as a popular type of smart phone, but it’s actually of course the underlying operating system. In addition to the myriad of smart phones now using it, the Android operating system is now found on quite a few tablet options from many different hardware vendors. These also include the very popular tablet devices known as the Amazon Kindle Fire, and the Barnes and Noble Nook.

iOS is of course Apple’s mobile operating system powering both the iPhone and the iPad. Windows Metro is a new, triple-purpose operating system that will apparently run Microsoft’s Windows Phone, their recently announced “Surface” tablet, and of course it’s to be the new Windows desktop OS as well. BlackBerry maker RIM, provides yet another operating system for their tablet offering, appropriately named the BlackBerry Tablet OS.

Even though Android (Google) and the iOS (Apple) currently dominate the smart phone and tablet scene, cycles of innovation are ever faster…and it seems that even newer players are emerging daily.

Amazon and Facebook Phones anyone?

Amazon Phone, Potential iPhone Rival, Could Be In The Works, According To Report

Facebook phone blue experience

Without a doubt, with the successes of the iPhone/iPad, and all the Android based products…it seems everybody is rethinking their traditional business models. Software-only companies are getting into the hardware business, and now…even Web site-only companies seem ready to become players in personal computing.

But, even so, who knows what we will be using as our main computing device(s) over the next few years. Is it possible that even smart phones and tablets (as we now know them) will become obsolete?

How about personal computing glasses? Barely out of the concept phase…and yet it appears there will be more than a few choices:

Project Glass

Olympus plans to fight with Google Glass for your eyeballs

Patent points to Apple augmented reality glasses