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Can smart phones drum computers out of our lives?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Who would have thought that all those rough-cut, clumsy devices with long antennas and tiny screens in black and white were to become that smart? Using a cell phone, you are virtually able to do almost everything that you can do on your PC these days.
This holds true to the so-called smart phones in particular. When it comes to cell phones, it’s no longer all about brand and outward appearance, but processor frequency, amount of RAM, broadband support and as of recently, HD video playback capability as well.
Of course, computer technologies are following suit, getting more advanced as we speak. However, where is their advancement turned to? Notebooks (laptops) have been gaining an increasing popularity in the last several years; simply because they offer something that desktop computers can’t beat which is portability. On the other hand, portability is something cell phones are tenfold better at.
Our daily grind, the life in the fast lane that many of us just can’t shake off, requires internet access wherever we are. We often need to read emails, go through documents and do our job on the run. Desktop computers can hardly help us out in this case, while laptops aren’t always that easy or comfy to use. That is why the so-called netbooks (small portable laptop computers designed for wireless communication and access to the Internet) have been causing such a stir lately.

Well, what’s the better option?

It is quite clear cut and easy to see that cell phones are becoming smarter and more functional, while computers are getting smaller and thinner. But there’s another factor playing a major part on the market which is price. A top of the range smart phone costs about just as much as a mainstream notebook. The thing is you can easily get a decent smart phone at a far lower price than a laptop.
As of today, PCs offer more power and bang for your buck in terms of processor frequency and RAM, but… Is the difference that huge really?
Contemporary computer CPUs run at speeds between 2 and 3 GHz, but 1 GHz processors are about to overtake cell phones as well, and the upcoming Qualcomm 1.3 GHz Snapdragon chipset comes to mind here. While computer processors have remained where they are for quite some time, smart phones got halfway there at a fell swoop in less than year and a half, and they may well get where computers are really soon.
As for RAM itself, computers still hold the lead with one, two and above-gigabyte capacity, while the current smart phone standard is meager 256 MB. Doubtlessly, this can change in a snap if necessary; just the way we saw it happen with personal computers. In this line of though, it won’t come as a surprise if we see some decently performing, affordable cell phones really soon, carrying the advantages of pocket portability.

Keyboards, mice and touch screens.

We just have to mention that cell phones are being designed with their pocket-assistant function in mind and are hardly meant to play games on. That is why they are so competitive when it comes to accessing and surfing the Internet.
Not last, QWERTY keyboards are getting all the rage on mobiles. Manufacturers have grabbed the opportunity to captivate more customers, and portable keyboards can now be seen even on non-featured phones. And the underlying reason is the growing number of people eager to chat on popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter,…).
Well, computers still have an ace up the sleeve though - the mouse. The mouse has brought about a new era of interaction between people and computers. But cell phones have also found their way to counterattack and it’s called a touch screen. It allows you to do the same thing you use your cursor for, i.e. indicate and confirm your choice. Touch screens have a major advantage over the mouse though, the multi-touch technology, i.e. the ability to recognize two or more simultaneous touch points to provide wider control facilities. Imagine how much more work you’d be able to complete if you could use two mice at the same time!

Is the good old PC doomed to oblivion?

Let’s have a look ahead at what future may look like when it comes to smart phones and computers… This shouldn’t be an uphill battle, since we already know much about the plans of many leading companies, including Microsoft (for good or bad, the Redmond Giant has already managed to secure its leading role in the mobile industry), to converge and even blend cell phones and computers together into a single device.
We do expect to see devices offering both pocket portability and mainstream computer productivity soon enough. Pocket size technological marvels that will allow us to talk to other people, surf the Internet, go through documents and play present-day games anywhere we go, anytime we want, without the need to carry about several different devices.
Are computers doomed to extinction when ultra fast smart phones begin to take over? We believe computers will still be around for those whose work requires high performance applications and large displays such as programmers, and graphic designers; while other office-work users will go for smart phones.

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