One of the more questionable markets to emerge from the smart device explosion is the new "Smart Monitor" subset of PC monitor sales. Monitor manufacturers believe that adding "Smart" features like app support using Android, touch screen functionality, and the ability to operate without a native PC or operating system is the wave of the future.
What Is A Smart Monitor?
A "smart monitor" on its most basic level is a PC monitor that does not need a PC to operate. This is more than the all-in-one monitor computers offered today that contain a fully capable PC infrastructure within the monitor along with using an operating system like Apple OS or Windows. The new "smart" monitors are closer to a tablet than a computer.
The new wave of "smart" monitors operate with touch screen and run smart device operating systems like Android that allow for the monitor to perform just like a tablet, albeit on a 22" to 24" screen. There are even versions of "smart" monitors that are designed to operate like a tablet, detached from the normal cabling and stand associated with standard monitors.
The "smart" monitors also work perfectly well with normal PCs by switching to a "dumb" mode when connected to a PC. Pricing for a "smart" monitor can be upwards of twice the price of an equal sized "dumb" monitor and is not expected to fall much beyond this percentage.
What Is The Point?
Monitor designers and manufacturers have been drinking the Microsoft Kool-Aid. As soon as Microsoft decided to force desktop users to consider using touch screens with desktop system, monitor manufactures jumped at the chance to join the party. Neither company considered the ergonomic impact of desktop touchscreens on power users and the declining sales of Windows 8 illustrates the negative impact this choice has made on the industry as a whole.
The choice by monitor companies to attempt to turn their 24" monitors into smart tablets that do not need a computer to operate, yet take up the same basic area on a desk as a full PC would, only highlights the ridiculousness of a poorly thought-out product. The benefit of using a tablet or smartphone comes from the portability of the product. Why would a consumer want to limit his or her options and performance while still having to sit at a desk using the same type of monitor?
Most people are not going to set up a standalone monitor beside a couch or drag one into the lavatory with them when a more portable and easy to use option is readily available for approximately the same cost. The creation of the "smart" monitor is nothing more than a cash grab on early adopters who purchase technology more for the ability to say they own something rather than for the usability of the product.