The Device After the Laptop, Tablet and Phone

Caught a breath of this interview of Om Malik and thought he put some interesting thoughts out there…

So in a few years, which device will survive?

Everything is in-between right now. The tablet is one way of doing things. But there is something after the laptop, the tablet and the phone. There will be one unified device and that form factor will be very different. Three years from now the idea of a laptop is going to be entirely different. But that will be defined by how much bandwidth is available and the network will define its intelligence. But that’s a few years away. The networks are not ready yet. And that is why I find Microsoft’s approach pretty interesting because at least they are doing whole things across the mobile and the tablet. I think the guys from Google are a bit all over the map on this one.

That device that’s beyond a tablet, mobile, and laptop. Some could think of it as some kind of networked, cybernetic machine. I don’t know though. I’m having second thoughts about that as the primary direction for computing. And that’s mostly because I think that perceptions about where computing is going rarely looks at the environmental implicatinos of such choices.

I do think that we’ll see a return to the watch, locket, broach-type of clothing accessory, but these would be computers in the sense like the MotoActiv. But, only in those regions where other screens and interfaces would be sifficient for productivity and life – that is, auto/tranport being one and work(plane) as being the other. I can see the Pen/stylus also fitting into this – potentially that’s what Samsung is seeing with their “wand” (the S-Pen which is a pushed feature of their Galaxy Note and Note Tablet devices).

I think we are only a decade away from cybernetics being something that’s more of the cosmetic computing option than it is the life-saving, life-enhacing model of things we use them for now. And for an economic group, and probably those involved in athletics and military, that would probably be the starting point for their kind of computing.

Lastly, I think we’ll go back to something along the lines of Nokia’s Internet Tablet, Apple’s Newton, or Palm’s original Pilot 100 PDA for the rest of persons. A 3.5in to 5in screened mobile device which is vertically integrated into a vendor’s specific set of capabilities – with some market-defining effects towards how long things should be supported. I feel these are the logical devices to which tablets and mobile go, as these would be telephony-enabled, and to some degree, a bit more regulated for continual support (think like the 10yr support requirement for autos sold in the US). I see the bulk of people utilizing this type of computing, and being more or less marketed to the previous two as being in-life evolutions of the same kind of experience.

I don’t think these will be measured by the network though. I see P2P and mesh computing being more important streams going forward as people – both those that care and those that don’t – are going to ask the harder and more truthful questions about what’s happening to their data, and is giving up who/where/what they define themselves as is as important as the experience of sharing, belonging, purchasing, or hiding from others. The ethical constrants more important than the technological ones if you will.

Of course, I’ve been saying a few of these things for a while. Eventually, every monkey writes their Shakespearean piece 😉

Later Thoughts:
I’m coming back to this because I think that in some respects, it could be that device-type like the large smartphone/small tablet (thinking Kindle and Galaxy Note here), could potentially be the best kind of wide-reaching disruption. Thing is, the Kindle seems to do this right by bundling the cost of wireless into the device itself. With the Galaxy Note, there is still some consideration that has to be paid to the cellular company offering service. As it stands, the Note is tied to whatever carrier offers it, not whatever carrier the user prefers. If, that carrier equasion is more open, then this kind of evolution towards computing is more likely to take place in those people groups and economies below the “noise” line.

2 thoughts on “The Device After the Laptop, Tablet and Phone

  1. That is a very interesting snapshot, Antoine. To address your addendum, the Lumia 900, smaller than the Fire but as big as the HTC Titan may make for an interesting pairing due to the comment – “Microsoft’s approach pretty interesting because at least they are doing whole things across the mobile and the tablet.”

    Great to speak with you today.

  2. Hey John, enjoyed the chat as well.

    MS seems to be going to a control center with different “windows” philosophy. Kinect is the input paradigm, XBox is the entertainment management platform, SharePoint/Office as the workflow enablers and productivity streams, and devices as the wands and windows between these. They aren’t going beyond the PC cmetaphor as much as they are taking ENIAC and older mainframe models of use and putting them closer with their services as the thread.

    Apple seems to be edging closer from a consumer standpoint. But, they too have issues in approach. Maybe one day I will unpack them as I did Nokia and BlackBerry towards a focus that points to the future they want, and the one that is coming.

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