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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I've been online since 1971 and I like to smoothe the way for everyone else. Among other things I co-founded Sympatico, the world's first easy-to-use Internet service (and Canada's largest).

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Computers continue to become more like phones

As readers of this blog know, I have long contended that personal computers as we know them today are an instance of temporary insanity. For the vast majority of people, the future is the same as the past, when people used “terminals” to access, via some kind of network, computing resources located elsewhere.

Phones have always been like this, both landline and mobile: a phone has never been of any use as a standalone device. I’ve recently written about how personal computers should behave more like phones, and now they’re being sold more like them too. Mobile carriers frequently offer subsidized phones (“sign a 2-year contract and get this expensive phone for only $X!”), and lately carriers in some countries have had similar offers with netbooks (“sign a data-plan contract and get this expensive netbook for only $X!”). This is now happening in the USA.


Blogger Unknown said...

This is something I first thought about 10 years when I got my first PalmPilot - If I had a cradle that would support a real keyboard and big monitor, could this PalmPilot replace a PC? In the end, the Palm device really was too underpowered to do that and I never did see big displays for it though I did eventually buy a Palm keyboard

Today's smartphones raise the stakes though. Given that an IPhone is OSX based, I would guess that it could support any device a Mac does, including displays, mice and keyboards. Same for any Linux based smartphone. If you could have a desktop cradle with desktop peripherals, would you need anything else? How about a MacBook "shell" with keyboard and display, where you just plug in the iPhone?

Given all the hassles of synchronizing devices and PCs and just the general hassle of managing a PC today, I think a lot of people would perfer one device they carry around and plug into different peripherals as needed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 4:01:00 a.m. EST  

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