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Could the PS3 be a Home Computer Replacement?

What do most typicaly people use home PCs for?

  • Web Browsing. This is the biggest and broadest use and covers many types of web applications.
  • Messaging: Email and IM
  • Word Processing + Spreadsheets
  • Music + Photos + Movies
  • Games

The PS3 is way ahead of home computers for games, and it’s better for movies (IMO) as well. But the PS3 still has a ways to go in several other areas. What if the PS3 made these improvements:

  • Made a really good web browser. The current browser is great for occasional use when you don’t have a PC handy, but realistically, no one would use the existing browser for their main web browsing. But what if the PS3 really did make a great browser that was nearly as good as a PC: fast, standards compliant, tabs, improved support for USB mouse/keyboard, search box, cookie management, all the preferences and options that power users want, and something that overall could be used as a primary browser. I don’t know if this is possible given PS3’s hardware design, but if they did this, people could use web applications for regular email, word processing, and spreadsheet functionality.
  • Impoved Music and Photo apps. PS3 has great music and photo features, but they still are missing many of the polish and features found in the better PC software such as iTunes, Windows Media, or Picasa.
  • IM. There are web clients, but the native clients work better. Also, people want to use their existing IM networks (AIM, Jabber, etc), not just the PSN network.

Sure, all the programmers, 3D animators, CAD people, and other specialty users want general purpose computers with apps highly tailored to their specific needs, but why does the common user who basically wants a web terminal need a full-blown general purpose Windows/Linux/Mac computer?

If the PS3 did the above, would people really start using the PS3 as a genuine home computer replacement? Would you start seeing PS3’s on desks and in small offices in addition to living rooms?