When The SmartPhone Replaces The Laptops

In this Reuters piece, Duncan Martell ponders how long it will be before smartphones or PDAs fully replace laptop computers. Although this may sound like folly Martell argues that, at a time, the notion of a laptop fully replacing a stationary computer was equally zany, but now ‘desktop replacement’ laptops make up the lion share of the notebook market. But Martell does not explain how SmartPhones will replace laptops, so let me pick up where he left off: Under Moore’s law, the phone will eventually have satisfactory storage and processing power. Where it will be lacking is in expandability and Input/output interfaces. However, both of those problems can be solved with short-range wireless technology like Bluetooth or UWB. Imagine a SmartPhone that can be “wirelessly docked” to a keyboard, mouse, LAN, monitor, storage, and other expansion devices…voila, the technology to expand and improve I/O already exists. So at home or at the office, you will always have all your data, and all your configurations at your docked workstation. When mobile, you will have all the data, power, and configuration, but matched with 3G connectivity and the phones limited I/O. When ‘portable’ such as spending the day at a conference, you can bring a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for better I/O (or borrow a friend’s, since proprietary cables and plugs are no longer a problem). Smartphones that fully replace laptops and desktops will arrive. In fact, other innovations will make it even better: projected virtual keyboards, new screen and display technologies, better Bluetooth speeds. Obviously not everyone will ditch their PC for a SmartPhone, just as some still prefer desktops today, but I’ll bet we have the choice within 3-5 years.

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