Remember Laptop Computers?

I am the judgment broker that writes a lot. I may one day become the last person to own and use a computer. I am amazed at these times, with the majority of new personal computer-related items come out as Apps. Often, these new things only are available for a portable device, not any laptop or a regular desktop personal computer. I am also surprised when I see young people walk past some movie showing on a large flat-display TV, and then later, all gather near some really tiny screen to see the identical movie. The power and bandwidth of a portable device has risen to a surprising level. Many smart phones and tablets are being used as a person’s main computer. My guess is that folks that use a smart portable device rather than a computer has the money to pay for those data plans and are fairly young and/or do a lot of traveling.

I work at a home office, at my Macintosh having a 27-inch screen, and I also have a Mac laptop. I’ve played with the newest iPad and some new Android devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy, and while each of them are cool and fast; I find work can be done much faster and easier with my 2 Mac computer screens. I have my Apple iPod Touch, but I only use it to listen to music, meditation tracks, or podcasts when I am doing maintenance work; or to keep my shopping list when I go to the store.

Stand-alone GPS device manufacturers are being squeezed, although there is a benefit to having a separate GPS device, to let you multitask. However, it is obvious that the GPS function is moving to the realm of handheld units, that includes smart phones, portable devices, and tablet computers.

Apps that are GPS-related such as MultAply and Waze are breaking new ground. www.MultAply.com is brand new, and is sort of a mix of a GPS and Groupon combined and improved. MultAply notifies you of nearby things; persons, deals, or local events, catered to your interests.

I have seen a few statistics that predict that the home personal computer will be less important to most folks soon, for example:

1) In the previous three years, more than 300,000 Apps were developed. In 2011, about 18 billion Apps were downloaded. By 2015, this number is predicted to rise to 108 billion.

2) Around ninety percent of smartphone users most often keep their phones within 3 feet.

3) In 2011, the use of portable units to read e-mail increased by thirty-four percent, while the desktop use of personal computers to read email went down by eleven percent.

4) By 2015, more folks will use the internet with a smartphone or tablet than a computer.

Of course, the higher-end smart portable units, especially tablets; include a docking port, where one may add a full keyboard, and sometimes storage and external displays too. Once you add all those, that is moving back to a desktop model.

In my case, it is difficult to imagine switching my 27-inch screen for a display of between 1/20th and 1/4th the size. The IPad and their competition are continuously improving. One day, there might be a mobile unit with a screen large enough to get me to move away from my 27-inch desktop computer display. Although the power of mobile devices is important, so are their data plan pricing.