When Will Smart Phones Overtake Laptops?: Page 2

Posted February 20, 2008

Rob Enderle

Rob Enderle

(Page 2 of 2)

The Right Solution May Be A Pared Set of Devices

Now the biggest problem, as I see it, in having a smart phone and a laptop both connected to wide area wireless is you have to pay for two expensive data plans and the products don’t talk to each other.

But if were you to take a product like an iPhone and merge it with a product like the Apple Air the combination would be fully connected and also provide for the portability you want. The full functionality would be very compelling.

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The only company that looked into doing this was Flybook and surveys they did seemed to favor this paired cell phone-laptop idea. But they never, to my knowledge, were able to figure out how to bring it to market.

Palm appeared close with the Folio but that offering was too limited and, for what it was, too expensive and it was stillborn. More recently, a company called Celio has brought out the Redfly which looks promising and HP is rumored to have something coming may be even better still.

What the market is just starting to explore is a cell phone accessory that can bridge the gap between the small cell phones we want, and the email and text creation experience we need.

The Rebirth of the Thin-Client

Remember the promise of Thin Client computing? This is the idea originally proposed over a decade ago as the way to turn the PC experience into more of a telephone appliance experience.

The problem was that the PC appliance experience not only turned out to be relatively expensive but it truly sucked. In addition, to get it to work you had to be connected and living off a 2 or 2.5 G wireless connection or a thin client device would be hell on earth.

But with 3G the data rates aren’t that bad and here has been a lot of work done to get the “sucked” out of both the wired and wireless experience. This makes HP’s acquisition of Neoware all the more interesting as that company was the first to do a Thin Client laptop computer.

In any case, I think we are seeing the rebirth of the Thin Client as a mobile accessory. It may take a while to get the mix right but I’m feeling change in the wind and change can be a good thing.

In the end I think we are talking a new kind of convergence, not into a single device, but a group of cell phone accessories which allow us to effectively have the best of the Cell Phone and Laptop words in a more secure and still portable always-connected laptop-like accessory.

All I can think is the related Acronym is going to be a bitch.

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