It looks to me like the Smartphone market is going to spear-head of a lot of improvements to personal computing.
Surely location-based services are going to make our lives a lot easier in many ways, and of course, these technologies are probably going to completely change the face of advertising. But the ubiquity of GPS, and in turn, the development of new location-based services is only one of the more obvious ways Mobile will likely evolve personal computing as we know it.
Here are two areas where I think the powerful mobile devices of the near future are going to be major game-changers.
1. The Race for Affordability and SPEED in Mobile Data Connections – It seems like the mobile phone carriers haven’t been doing much to grow or improve their coverage. It’s like there was an initial land-grab and for the past several years, whichever carriers are dominant in a given area have been left alone by the other carriers. For years now, in the tech news I consume, I’ve been hearing about small, experimental rollouts of WiMAX and other alleged 4G technologies, but as far as can tell, connectivity is just as crappy and overpriced as ever.
Smartphones are a real incentive for carriers to improve their networks. The days of dumb-phones are coming to an end. It wont be long before we all have , in our pockets, devices capable of streaming video in either direction. We will all be using ‘cloud’ services from our phones. The devices are going to be practically free, so if the current major carriers don’t make better and more affordable connectivity available, some one else will.
So you see, the browser is a leak into the cloud. And devices/OSs that allow cloud Apps to run natively rather than through a browser window are appealing for users and developers. I just don’t see any way I could be wrong about this. Instead of your phone having a browser, imagine that your phone will be a browser. Right? You see? For instance, the settings pages on your phone are just little web pages hosted by a tiny server you keep in your pocket. Palm is on to something.
So the iPhone may stick around for a while, but I see a major uphill battle for for Apple or any other device manufacturer who wants to maintain complete control of what apps and services consumers can use.
I believe that the desktop computer and the desktop OS are going to move aside when it comes to what is really important to most people. Connectivity. Anytime, anywhere for anything. And rich Applications to go along with it. That’s what’s important. Your Mac OS or Windows can be virtualised.