The Crossover year for Portable Computing

Posted by: Steve Hamm on December 08, 2008

The long-predicted crossover has arrived. More laptop computers will be sold this year than desktop computers. But it’s actually a double-crossover year. Handhelds and other ultra-small devices, in the form of smartphones and Net books, are fast emerging as the mobile computers of choice among consumers. Things are moving so fast, it’s hard to predict where they’ll go next. For a long-term perspective, see my new book, The Race for Perfect: Inside the Quest to Design the Ultimate Portable Computer. But for now, in spite of all of the smartphone hype and advertising, I feel compelled to point something out: Smartphones and Net books are all about consuming and communicating, not creating. One of the most disturbing images in the Pixar animated film Wall-E was the fat humans floating around on car-like contraptions with their lips glued to straws and their eyes glued to TV screens. The image of people drifting through life with their eyes and fingers glued to smartphones is only slightly less disturbing. At least, in many cases, they’re using their legs. So my plea to iPhone users is, sure, take your iPhone wherever you go, but take your MacBook, too, and create something with it.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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