I wrote this about 3 years ago, on october 4,2009. its december 2012. besides being off by a year, it seems otherwise this wasnt too off the mark 🙂
Four years from now, there is a good chance that you’ll consider the laptop too bulky and slow for many of the things we use it for today; news, social networking and email. That “adaptation” of a desktop thing , i.e. the laptop is on its way out too, slowly but surely. Maybe us oldies might still use it but my kid would be using a flexible, touch screen based device and most of her work would be done in the cloud. Cheap Netbooks are a temporary solution to what is eventually going to be the norm in 2014 and beyond, a tablet based client machine that is connected to the cloud. And its got everyone from HP to Apple and even Nokia scrambling to come up with a solution and dominate the market. The software and user experience guys are scrambling to build next generation browsers and operating systems for these devices and even bloggers like Arrington are busy tinkering on their own versions of a tablet, presumably because they can’t wait for the big tech boys to get their act together. Rumours of an Apple tablet are abound while Microsoft’s solution has been “leaked” into the news today. HP already have a product out there and have said that they are working on a flexible display version of a tablet computer. When the user’s primary device changes, it usually leads to massive innovation and changes upstream from software, interfaces, networks all the way to data center designs…this is what happened when the smartphone became a commonly used platform, and is happening now when the “Web 2.0” paradigm is sending alot of the applications “into the network”. Remember the answering machine for the phone? We now have voicemail. Its in the network, not on our phones. Thats what’s happening with many applications, and has already happened to consumer email. While I still cant get over using a keyboard for typing and working (long live keyboard shortcuts), my little one is more interested in using my iTouch to play her games and watch videos, and whats more, she uses it like a pro. Touch is a paradigm shift, and moves us closer to a more natural way of working with computers. Star trek has been showing us the dream for years, everything on the Enterprise is essentially run by voice and touch based interfaces. Both voice and touch technologies have come a long way in the last ten years but its really been reduction in manufacturing cost and processing power that has brought them into the consumer’s (yours and mine) realm.