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Old 02-26-2006, 10:55 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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Some weekend thoughts about mobile computing

It seems a resonable time to reflect. The weekend is winding down and after a short sleep, another work week is ready to begin. And for mobile computing, there is no longer any doubt that we are definitely in the beginnings of our "heyday."

Microsoft is expected to announce a new type of portable computing device with a touch screen and connectivity. Even if you don't like what Microsoft comes up with, it will surely spur other competitors for whatever is announced. Cell phones are almost ubiquitous, and they are beginning to have features that are bringing the typical phone closer and closer to what we now call smartphones. Music players, video players, streaming tv content, messaging, web access and PIM functions are all in the works and will be available in more and more devices. Right now it's only the geeks that have it, but soon it will be your neighbors and co-workers.

That's great news for us in many ways. First of all, as this type of technology becomes mainstream, we will see costs go down, features beefed up, and we'll see all kinds of variety in designs and software platforms. I guarantee that Windows Mobile and Access Linux Platform (the new PalmOS) are not going to be the only games in town. And investment in power supply, processors, displays, communications, input devices, 3rd party add-ons and all kinds of related technologies will bring tremendous improvements. And with the huge markets developing, we'll see some really impressive making someone some really impressive profits.

There are still some battles to be won or lost. Standards will need to be chosen. DRM technologies and copyright law are up for grabs, and it's beginning to look like it's content providers versus the consumer. There are some pretty big issues to be worked out relative to who carries the internet traffic and how. Will it remain a "single" infrastructure freely carrying content inexpensively, or will we see service providers locking it up with service tiers, high prices and control over devices and content? Nobody knows yet.

But like I said, this is the best of times for mobile computing. We will live the excitement of the PC revolution, but faster and with better technology and better connectivity. Every week we see new devices and rumors of devices. There are new companies entering the field. Gaming is coming to mobile devices in a new way. And it's (slowly) becoming more affordable to the general user. It's a great day for mobile computing and it's only getting better!

Last edited by BobR; 02-27-2006 at 11:53 AM. Reason: Grammar!
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Old 02-27-2006, 04:03 AM   #2
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True, the problem is that the mobile computing world does not have much history behind it yet. Which is also the strength of it. We are unencumbered by old standards, masses of old devices and operating systems. It is a two edged sword though, because we don't have standards yet, no masses of the same old device and no standard OS on those devices.
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Old 02-27-2006, 04:04 AM   #3
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And I'd like to add...the only way to make sure the books you buy now are going to work in this bright new worlds (War of the Worlds?) is to make sure they are DRM'less.
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Old 02-27-2006, 11:19 AM   #4
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Good points Bob. The economies of scale are starting to kick in both in price and in technology. Much of the technology being developed for mobile phones, mp3 players, like better displays, processors, storage, batteries, are going to spin off and also help mobile computing devices.

It's going to be interesting to see who emerges as the new players in this market. I suspect Apple might get in there.

I also think that cheap smartphones with email capability will really open up acceptance of mobile computing to the mainstream users.
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