Desktops Gone With The Cloud – Think Smartphone

by Elias Shams
On my way back to DC from NYC  yesterday, I read an interesting article about one of Google’s vice-president, John Herlihy and his view of desktops vs smartphones.  He is predicting the desktops will be irrelevant in three years time and the Smartphones will take over. Well, given they are not in PC business, and having aggressively exercised their push for the Android Operating System and Nexus One, no surprise there for his prediction.  Frankly, this was expected. In fact, I covered such prediction a few times on my blog. I guess we should thank Apple, Google, and RIM for the launch of their iPhone, Android, Nexus One, BlackBerry, and now iPad which has significantly contributed the path to such direction.

The rise of Cloud Computing in conjunction with widget-style applications developed for the mobile phone platform have contributed to faster adaptation of doing many tasks via our smartphones.  I also think the testosterone war between Apple and Adobe over HTML5 vs Adobe’s Flash that began since the launch of iPad last month will be a factor in such transformation.

Anyway, what does all this mean to the corporate market? How would they know which smartphones to pick for their employees? Once such transformation kicks in, how about blocking certain sites on smartphones that you can do with the desktops in corporate networks today? How would they stop the employees from watching porn during working hours? If you are a man reading this, you know what I am talking about. On average, how much do we spend on porn? 101% of our time! 🙂

Such phenomena will certainly be a big headache for the CIOs and CTOs of the companies responsible for thousands of the corporate employees. Not to mention the installed base of applications, the data, platform transparency, the firewalls,  intrusion detection systems (IDS) at VPN endpoints, and file structure coming with such transformation which I will address- in a different post.

If you are an enterprise IT manager trying to make sense of all this, and trying to figure out which smartphones to select for the employees who need one, here are a few tips for you to consider.

Before getting into specific device choices, you need to define the criteria and the needs:

First, the frequency that employees will need to carry or access phones for voice calls, text messaging, and in some cases, email, calendar, phone book, and other applications.

Second, the type of information needed to access? Are they the information stored on the open Internet or behind the company firewall, or whether the employees need to create work while in the field, and if so, what type of work. Any needs to access data collection, PowerPoint presentations, or long memos or other documents?

Third, whether the employee and the employer understand the basics about wireless and Internet access, as Internet is not a mission-critical network, and Wireless connectivity is not always available. Our wireless devices can best be described as being always on and ‘most of the time connected’. There is no guarantee of connectivity, nor is there a guarantee that you will always be able to access the information you want and need when on the road if you are connected. Data that resides only in the cloud or behind your corporate firewall is not always accessible.

Once the criteria are defined, you can then evaluate different types of wireless devices in the hands of the right employee. To make such determination, you really need to evaluate the right Smartphone OS (operating systems). Questions like:

a) Are they business friendly?
b) Which ones provide easy set-up and access to corporate email and information, support data encryption?
c) Which ones can be remotely managed by IT departments?

Based on my own personal experiences and coverage of BlackBerry, Android, iPhone, and reviews on other type of smartphones, here is how I would rank them for business use:

1. RIM (BlackBerry OS)
2. Microsoft (Windows Mobile OS)
3. Nokia (Symbian OS)
4. Apple (iPhone OS)
5. Sprint (Palm OS)
6. Google (Android OS)

Although, I have an Android myself, it is certainly not made for the enterprise. Even Google says so. At least for now. Android does not support most of the business functions listed above. They say they will offer that in the near future. So, for now, they are at the bottom of the list. You need to follow their progress very closely.

While, Android, Droid, iPhone, and Nexus One are the most popular smartphones for the consumers, they are not for corporate use yet. They can’t handle the corporate email, calendar, and address book functions quite well. All of the other operating systems provide solutions that will work in the corporate environment, some with more capabilities than others.

BlackBerry is primarily for the enterprise market for its robustness – particularly its awesome synchronization with the corporate applications. The downside to the BlackBerry platform is its weakness in browsing the Internet. The screen size and the slow page download times make- the BlackBerry not nearly as robust as the iPhone or Android.

As for Windows Mobile Phones, I never had one. My evaluation is based on reading reviews and feedback from former colleagues who had one. Microsoft certainly lost some ground in the mobility space in recent years. They do a good job of integrating desktop and server-based Microsoft applications with those on the handheld. It will continue to be a player in this space and perhaps gain more market share when it releases Windows Phone 7.

As for Nokia Symbian OS, I would say they do most of the functions as Windows Mobile Phones and BlackBerry, but not as business friendly as either one of them.

As for the iPhone, I would say their third version is decent for the enterprise market. The first version of the iPhone was pretty much a consumer oriented product and not at all business friendly. However, with the 3GS model, it is a solid choice for business customers, partly because of improvements to interface with Microsoft Outlook and partly, because of it is ease in writing company-specific applications-. Not to mention the iPhone‘s ability to multitask. You can send and receive messages while on a voice call, which works very smoothly on the iPhone today and will become commonplace for all smartphones in the near future. [As far as I know all the smartphones can do that – I can certainly do that on my Nokia]

Here are a few interesting related surveys  conducted by ZDNet UK late last year. Looking at the statistics, it appears that the smartphones are breaking out of the ‘only-for-the-suits’ niche they occupied. That said, many companies are still conservative when it comes to anything that smacks of consumer frippery, with the usability of the iPhone almost counting against it in some circles, where seriousness goes hand in hand with complexity and a poorly thought-out user-interface.
Would you cast your vote?

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @

48 Responses to Desktops Gone With The Cloud – Think Smartphone

  1. LOL… Good one.
    I think kids are the only ones who try to use Phones as primary computing device. Granted there are a lot of applications showing up on these devices, but they are far from suitable as a primary input device. Try working on a spreadsheet, document, or lengthly email with your phone.

    • Elias Shams says:

      Do you think this will become a reality in three years time?

    • Aaron Brooks says:

      I don’t think it matters much…smart phones and the app platform on them will become conduits to the true owner of information…the cloud. I would be more interested in how we are securing the virtual environment and the cloud services. The apps will become windows to access and manipulate the data we consume.

      iPhone, great platform for apps and easy UI
      Blackberry, better corporate services.

      Personally, I think we should be setting up our environments to take advantage of the changing technology landscape instead of constantly trying to enforce legacy standards on employees to will reduce the overall productivity impact these new technologies bring to the table.

  2. Guy Davies says:

    While there’s no doubt that smartphones will have a major impact on how we work over the next few years, to say that they’ll make laptops/desktops irrelevant is a bit premature 😉 I can’t see myself writing (or even reading) 100 page documents on an iPhone or any other smartphone for that matter. The smartphone is fine for quick, short bursts of reading but when it gets to any serious length of document, if it has to be read in a single go, then the larger screen of a laptop/desktop is very important. When it comes to writing documents, then again, the smartphone is suitable for a quick email or similar, but completely unsuitable for longer documents.

    Even once the limitations of the smartphone have been overcome for documents, there will almost certainly be applications for which large screens (or mechanisms for displaying on a large personal display of some kind) will be important.

    So, IMHO, the smartphone and the laptop will both have their place for some time to come (at least until we have high quality, highly reliable speech synthesis and speech recognition that will work on a small device like a smartphone).



  3. Great article Elias. I think your evaluations are spot on particularly with regards to the BlackBerry and iPhone devices. RIM has built its business model on security and administrator control. The President of the United States and most of the Canadian government carry BlackBerry devices. The ability to manage user access and even kill a lost or stolen device is crucial. Conversely, last year when Apple decided that they wanted certain apps to no longer be supported they simply removed them from everyone’s phone; I can’t imagine many IT managers that want Cupertino in control of the content on their devices.

    Windows Mobile is a good platform for enterprise, but has lacked a marquee device. There have been great offerings over the years particularly some of the HTC phones, but without the synergy that comes from being both hardware manufacturer and OS designer Microsoft has never really achieved the mainstream adoption others have enjoyed. Too bad, it’s a strong platform and an excellent alternative for those not interested in hosting a BES.

    • Elias Shams says:

      Thanks. If agree with the google guy, how long do you think it will take for Desktops to become irrelevant? Did you cast your vote at the bottom of the article? Cheers

  4. 🙂 Good thought!!!

    I’ve been looking forward for blackberry to do more than mails.

    The last I worked on blackberry based apps was five year back. The projection was that things shall change in 5 years…. 2010 to be exact.

  5. I don’t believe that cloud computing: technology mainly for business applications, will make the desktop obsolete. I don’t own a smartphone; of the four people that I know have one, only one of these has the web enabled. The expense of a fully enabled smart device is cost-prohibitive for the average Joe Sixpack. Not to mention the millions of pensioners in America who don’t even know what a smartphone is. Such an assumption demonstrates that Elias could do well to get out from behind his desk and mingle with the little people more. As far as “cloud” is concerned: I believe that opportunities exist in ANY emerging technology but I have no clue as to which of the phones will benefit most. The Apple Iphone gets the most press, but that does not mean that they won’t get passed by another player in the field. I agree with George regarding the limitations of trying to do ‘real’ computing on a phone. These phone apps appear to be mostly toys to me with the possible exception of GPS on a phone.. I will give up my keyboard when, and only when voice recognition software makes them obsolete.

  6. I recently came to know the potential of cloud computing. Let the input and output devices (smart phones !) also come smart a little (currently these are not very friendly except running small applications) and we will see new frontiers unfolding. I look for my device to manage the code and instructions while the actual number crunching is done over cloud.

  7. Mike Manoske says:

    Thanks Elias. Several of my clients are either Smartphone builders or apps creators.

    I keep hearing that the desktop doesn’t go away neccesarily, but the smartphone is docked on the desktop.

    We’ll always need a keyboard and large display for intense data or word processing.

    Once you throw more memory and CPU power in a smartphone, it starts to get feasible.

    As far as corporate “lock down” Blackberry has done a good job here – my clients expect Android to follow this sooner that the iPhone.

    Great discussion

  8. Lawrence Lau says:

    Thanks to Cloud Computing and the rise of other smartphones, it looks like the Desktops will be irrelevant in a few years.

    Thanks to the PC and the rise of the internet, it looks like the Mainframe will be irrelevant in a few years. How many times have I seen this style of quote? There is a reason why Moore classified the people at end of S-curve the late adopters. There is simply a lot of inertia in the business ecosystem and investment cycles.

    Why cloud services are increasingly popular is because the complexity of even Web 1.0 technologies is becoming overwhelming. When it takes a law degree to parse your privacy settings, it is time to outsource to someone who can rollup/wrap all the necessary software services. Now what would be different with smart phones is the combination of smaller display screens, and onboard sensors (dead-reckoning, tilt, etc) hence all the buzz about multi-gestures. If the PC era can be characteristed by the WIMP interface, the smartphone (taking cues from Wii) will be noted by more free-flowing ways of interacting.

    Re: George comment on iPhone spreadsheet … different horses for different courses … try doing a piano riff on a keyboard.
    Re: Michael comment on toy apps – exactly … much like Apple only attracted hobbyists until VisiCalc came along. The type of creative sparks attracted to developing for iPhone will hopefully mashup a killerapp that mainstream see Moore’s crossing the chasm) will use. There’a reason why the running joke was that it took IBM 1 year to design an empty box.

    Re: Bharat … whilst in principle I agree, there are still a lot of concerns wrt privacy, security, etc … Just look at the crowd hustling mobile eCommerce and it is taking a while for the prevalent appStore design architecture to shake out (.NET, Java, etc)

    In short, whilst everyone has been predicting the convergence of desktop and mobile phone for years, nobody can predict who’s going to rise out of the primordial muck (esp considering the mess the US PTO made of software patents) to become the new stock market darlings (or at least until real earnings get published).

  9. Guy Davies says:

    I thinks it’s conceivable that the need for larger devices such as laptops and particularly desktops will be very much reduced in that time. People may use handheld devices for a lot of things for which today they use a laptop, particularly if their job is very mobile. I am not looking forward to a teeny weeny screen on every device. I’m a technophile but I still prefer to read something at full size. My eyesight couldn’t cope. And I’m not sure that I’d enjoy a synthesized voice Reading to me all the time. I like to read 🙂

    so. Yes a lot may be covered by smaller devices but there will still be a need for existing types too.

  10. I think what Elias is probably envisioning is a smart phone, that plugs into a docking station / port to interface with larger screen(s), keyboard, mice, and accessories – i.e., a laptop in your pocket.

  11. I just don’t see it. PDAs aren’t likely to phase out desktop PCs any more than hand held video games would signify the end of consoles. The increased processing power, more apps and greater access to the cloud is going to make smart phones a more integrated part of your digital identity, but they’re not likely to replace the comfort and convenience of a full sized keyboard and large monitor. Besides, you are always going to get more processing power out of the larger form factor, that’s inherent in Moore’s Law.

    I don’t think the Google guy really believes what the Google guy is saying. Google is in the cloud computing business and now the PDA business. It’s just a crafty sales pitch. A Google designed world would be one where we all carry terminals to connect to their servers which warehouse all the world’s data to be accessed using their super-secret algorithms exclusively while we watch target advertising Google researchers have selected just for each user’s unique habits.

    Posted by

  12. Ron Spiker says:

    Desktops and Laptops won’t become irrelevant. There are plenty of things that smartphones can’t do. The same claim was made about mainframes many years ago, they are still around although not as prevalent. One big problem with smart phones is that the screens are way to small, and even though they have a full qwerty keyboard you can’t use all of your fingers so you type slower.

    Now if all the users want to do is access e-mail and websites yeah smart phones may replace alot of desktops, and laptops for that purpose, but as for the real processing that true computers do now its not going to happen, even with the advent of cloud computing.

    As to something that will have some impact on laptops are devices like the iPad, and other tablets. Even with the enhancements to those devices laptops and desktops will still be around.

    As to your question I like the iPhone/iPad model. Droids also work well.

  13. Brent Hunter says:

    Uhhh. I don’t see Final Cut Pro on an iPhone anytime soon. Desktops and laptops will still be

  14. I don’t see this happening until a phone size box can handle, data/processor/connections wise, everything a laptop/desktop can do now. Once you can get a 4GB duo core/quad core phone that can output to two or more monitors, then sure. Everyone will carry around their desktop system, which just happens to have a small display/output for use when not docked.

    Can’t wait!

  15. The desktop as a machine may dwindle away (given the constant miniaturization of computer technology), but the large screen keeps growing in size and, until voice recognition is perfect, the keyboard is a constant… even if it’s virtual on the screen of an iPad. The “few years,” though, is yesterday. It’s been possible to transform enterprise apps for use on smartphones for awhile (check ), and that progression is almost certain to make smartphones increasingly valuable for many business users.

    As a computing platform, the smartphone is, currently, vastly under-utilized. Yes, there are hundreds of thousands of iPhone apps and a growing number for BlackBerry, Android, and other mobile OSs, but most of them are single-function tools that are far less than “industrial strength.” Email is de rigeur, and Outlook-style calendar, task, and contact management is expected. But that’s the lowest common denominator of what’s possible.

    Companies like Helzberg Diamonds (part of Berkshire Hathaway) use WinMobile smartphones to access store and regional sales and inventory data, compare types of sales (cash, check, credit, store credit), and the like, and Lionsgate Films uses BlackBerries to connect to avails — the availability of titles and products. DDR (a property management/investment firm) connects its mobile users to rental and lease information, vendor data, work order status, and the like.

    Those connections are all viable on a smartphone’s small screen because it’s possible to transform enterprise apps so they function through standard smartphone UI menu-ing. As long as those menus can take users to pick lists of choices and minimize or eliminate keyboard entry, the smartphone is a viable successor to a netbook or laptop (and eliminates the extra cost of a broadband wireless subscription).

    On a tablet-style device — even one as functionally simple as the iPad — that same connectivity approach to enterprise access (which avoids the coding, cost, and time of traditional mobile development) can simplify the standard browser navigation routine and reduce the steps to a series of phone-like menus (and what’s configured for a smartphone can work on any platform, so there’s no duplicate effort). And those configurations can be completed in hours, not the weeks or months it takes for custom-programmed mobile apps.

    So the notion that smartphone users have to wait “a few years” for interaction with databases, reports, XML Web services, or web based functions is wrong. They can get that now… on any phone they want.

  16. Ummm. Not in this lifetime they won’t. Can I create Identity Guidelines in InDesign and create exhibits in Illustrator on an iPhone? Not. On an iPad? Not. On a Blackberry? Not. Smartphones are cool and I love mine…but it is not a desktop computer or a laptop and they never will be. They are simply not capable.

  17. And from what I’ve read…the iPad isn’t even capable of playing iTunes whilst web browser. Not sure if this is fact but it was in a journalist blog who was at the press conference with Steve Jobs.

  18. I don’t see PCs going the wayside, I can build a fast, effiencient one for about 200 bucks, throw in a very fast video card for under 100 bucks and run multiple OSes, applications and anything under the Sun.

    Think about this, Google would not exist as a entire company without the Internet. They would be dead in the water.

    Smartphones are not that smart, they can only retrieve what is existing on the other end. PCs and netbooks make smartphones look like calculators.

    nuff said…

  19. Amitava says:

    I do not believe that Ipad will make any dent in the corporate market, yes there will be PR guys carrying the ipad not for utility but for show, i see ipad in kitchens, pharmacies, trade show booths, hospitals, travel info booths etc….

    • Maggie McFee says:

      Sorry. :/ I disagree with the basic premise. That’s not to say that some future device might not fill the same niche(s) in our lives, but I don’t expect my smartphone to do it any time soon. It will, however, in the short-term change how I approach my laptop/desktop and what I require of them.

      One day, sure, I fully expect that I’ll carry a device that will act as my primary computing device around in my purse or pocket. But that device will be very different from my iPhone (tiny numerous cores? mesh-computing? super-thing client? etc). Its inherent ‘phone-ness’ will become increasingly irrelevant as communication moves away from the primary-carrier model. One day, yes. But I think that day is further away than we think. Technologically it’s not difficult, but there are humans (and human nature – aversion to change – squabbling over methods, etc.) and telcos and regulatory bodies in the mix and that will slow it all down considerably. (Step into my flying car and I’ll tell you all about it on the way to my nuclear powered home.)

      So… I say don’t think smartphone or laptop. Think ‘something else’… eventually. In my opinion smartphones are not usurping laptops/desktops, they’re simply the lego brick that fits the current phone/computer shaped hole in our desires (complementing existing devices). They’re a mutated gene on the way to the next evolutionary stage in computing – ubiquitous and full access to our and others’ data and the power we need to process or enjoy it 24/7.

      (Clearly, I’ve just had my morning coffee… blah blah blah blah… heh)

    • I think the iPad will be the start of the end of the desktop. Desktops numbers have been decreasing greatly lately in favor of laptops, but this will start the end of them. I don’t see desktops being sold in a few years time, but for maybe the all-in-one types holding out for a while longer than that.

    • This entire discussion so far sounds like trying to determine what technologies will be used in several years based upon what was available several years ago. I remember having a very similar discussion a number of years ago with the president and several VPs from Philips Information Systems. You may (or may not) remember the company. It was one of the true powerhouses in the field of word processing hardware. They spent quite a while explaining to me how PCs would never replace dedicated word processing system because WP systems had better software, better screens, and better keyboards. All they said was true, all based upon history, not upcoming technology. Today “PC” software, screens, and keyboards are far better than anything the Philips guys imagined for even their WP systems, and companies like Philips (Micom), CPT, Lanier, Wang, NBI, Xerox Info Sys, Qyx, etc. aren’t even memories any longer.

      So, let’s start with the first part of your question: Desktops. Desktops are dead. They are the buggy whips of personal computing today. Notebook computers now outsell desktops and will increase their dominance over desktops. Today almost any computer you buy will more than adequately run any software you want to run and do it in a multi-tasked environment. The price difference between desktops and notebooks is miniscule. The notebook can do everything a desktop can do, costs about the same, plus takes up on space and can easily be moved around. That ship has sailed.

      Now, a computer (notebook or desktop) versus a smartphone? That is like making a decision between staying at The Plaza or a Hotel 8 … and not considering all of the choices in-between. The iPad is only the first of many devices coming out that will provided a gradation of choices based upon real user requirements. And with cloud apps like Dragon Dictation, even a keyboard may become superfluous for many people.

      Also, Shams original article spent much space describing how specific items would be more successful than others because they better satisfied the requirements of the IT manager … and we all saw how well that worked out in the 1980s when IT was able to control the rise of the PC in enterprises … oh wait, that’s right, IT never did get real control over the systems until they gave into users and provided users what they wanted.

      As far as iPhone vs. RIM, has recently predicted that iPhone will overtake Blackberry in market share by next year, and that assumes no technology or market changes. Once Apple tweaks its software to make it more secure and allows use of iPhone on additional wireless services, RIM will have no advantage over Apple. Unless some big changes happen, that game might also be over. And why haven’t I mentioned Windows Mobile? I’ll admit to not having tried it out again for about a year. However, my experience with it was so user unfriendly that I have no desire to subject myself to it again.

      And as far as pad computing goes, while it still needs to prove itself, Apple learned from Microsoft that taking a notebook computer and merely adding a touch screen does not make a sale-able product. If the iPad is ¼ as successful as Apple hopes it to be, we’ll see a flood of products from many vendors to fill the gap between phones and notebook computers.

      So, is this an opportunity? You bet. However, figuring out exactly what the opportunity(s) actually is will be the challenge.

  20. Elias Shams says:

    Joel, I agree with you today. Not sure that will be the same case 3-5 years from today. The same way iPhone revolutionized the smartphone industry, I have a feeling iPad along with iPhone in conjunction with cloud computing will revolutionize the desktop industry. Not quite sure yet.

  21. The iPad is not the start of the end of the desktop. Sorry folks. It cannot, nor will it ever be able to handle running applications like Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro and all the massive software that animators and FX folks use to create all those incredible special effects. I have a friend that works at ILM and there’s no way on God’s green earth she could do what she does, on an iPad. And she’s never gonna want to do it on the 17 inch screen of a laptop either. The desktop is here to stay. It may morph into your TV/computer and be 55″ wide and mounted on your wall (we’re already seeing a bit of this) and change form. But you won’t be carrying it around like an iPad.

  22. Folks, Folks… The iPad is not here to replace the desktop nor the iPhone… It is here to create a different market, a different need for… I agree that some types of desktop will not go away due to the complexity of some applications that need something like a full powerhouse computer… But for emails, web surfing, reading and even some business applications that do not need much horse power, I can see the iPad’s of life taking over and probably replacing those desktops that are sitting there collecting dust and old and so on…

    How long will that take? Only the Market will tell us…

  23. Leo Marihart says:

    @Laura Pickering Bearing in mind that this thread started from some bloggah asking a bombastic faux question to provoke / drive readers to his site, I agree with you in part.

    What’s happening is that we’re REALLY beginning to see the rise of information appliance / tools. The iPad is the first mainstream one for that segment I call ‘civilians’. They want the right tool for the job, and they just want it to WORK. Just like you.

    Sure you’re going to need desktops for heavy rendering work like video editing. But for guys like me a desktop is now overkill (as I type this to you on my C2D 2.5Ghz 64-bit 4 gigs ram MacBookPro, XCode running in the background, etc).

    Getting civilians off of PCs (Desktops, Laptops) and on to secured hardened devices like iPhones + iPads (where they can passively read and occasionally tap out an email) is the way to go. Of course, it’s going to put a lot of tinkerers and MCSEs, the guys who used to delouse your PC, out of a job.

    The tools that succeed are the ones that fill a need for the bulk of the user base they’re targeted for.

    Desktops aren’t going away. Have they ever? How will you generate content?

    Laptops aren’t either. See above, for those of us who don’t mind ‘making do’ with 2 processors or 4-8 gigs of ram.

    The iPad is NOT SUITED to dedicated content generation use. It’s for passive readers like 80% of the civilians out there who won’t be doing much beyond posting Twitter or Facebook.

    If you have an iPhone or a Android phone, what do you do with it now?

    If your Mum has an iPad, what do you THINK she’ll be doing with it? See above.

    What’s happening is that Apple SEEMS to have finally made the tablet segment viable and tapped into the frustrations of a very large user base. People who want information & rich media but don’t want to deal with what is handed to them — Net / PC / Laptop / Desktops which are not suited to what the user actually wants in the first place — the information, presented to them.

  24. I am enjoying my IPhone immensely. I use it quite a bit although I cannot foresee doing away with PCs or MACs. When I need to compose an article or write a detailed email, I want that larger keyboard and screen. I did switch to using laptops years ago, and find the portability helpful.

  25. Desktops are on the way out. This product will help that.
    I know some people will stick by their massive desktops and defend them, but laptops will do everything desktops will do, but also be more desirable because of portability.
    I’m sticking to my guns on this one. Check the sales totals in 5 years and compare them to today, and that downward slope will keep getting closer to zero.

  26. Interesting article. BUT I’m thinking of Mark Twain’s quote about premature obituary notices.

    The iPhone and similar sized smart phones provide great benefit. I love my iPhone and my Bberry. (I’ll ignore business models and other items at this time/)

    But for many creative and instructional tasks, a phone OS and the form factor just won’t do it for me. (I also think that computational power and other attributes would negate me from using it for life science simulations, number crunching and similar). I note that many software developers that I meet in companies use large screens (even multiple screens) and keyboards to be productive. There is a question of whether they rely uniquely upon server farms for building | testing their applications. They all seem to have local development capabilities for working remotely even when not connected via a company approved umbilical cord. So not likely to be the platform of choice for scientists, engineers.

    Memory will have to increase substantially I think even if one assumes it is all done in the cloud.Think of the benefit when people started treating transistors and memory as ‘free’; the acceleration of new silicon applications and software applications.

    I would think that graphic artists would be very ineffective creating their product on a smart phone sized object…or architects in rendering buildings…Makes me wonder how DaVinci would have done cathedral ceilings if limited to a card sized viewpoint…

    iPad and similar size platforms are very complementary to the iPhone and Smart Phones. Still a phone OS though. I expect that there will be apps for the iPad that weren’t considered for an iPhone or Droid.

    I note that workstations continue to sell and even mainframes.

    Segmentation still important in my humble opinion.

    I also think that the constraints of the phone OS, the form factors and feature set of smart platforms will create/enable new sets of applications that would have been unlikely on a desktop. And new business models and new businesses.

  27. My new Android phone is awesome… If it were a 6.5″ screen instead of 3.2″ and I were a road warrior… I could definitely see myself leaving my notebook in the hotel for the day when I’m out to client sites or on personal travel. Personally I will always have to have the large format screen of my desktop for gaming, movie watching, coding and other activities that require screen real estate… Increasingly that platform becomes my docked notebook and if enough processing and graphics power ever becomes available in a 6.5″ to 7.5″ docked tablet device… You’re right, the desktop may go the way of the dino. If Google and Microsoft can continue expand and extend seamless functionality from the very large (think HDTV/3D) to the very small handheld size screen… I’m all in!

  28. Marc says:

    I loved my samsung smartphone ( windows mobile). It’s biggest problem was the awkward interface with web fire. My iPhone’s apps makes it more productive.

  29. penny says:

    I like my blackberry better, just waiting if blackberry can do more then e-mail:)

  30. Amitava says:

    I agree, i am hoping that the new BB operating systems kicks ass…..

    • I have flashed many blackberries with new operating system images, have “cooked” roms for my HTC windows mobile phones, used an IPhone for a year and am now playing with Android. Although Blackberry holds the top spot in the corporate world, I think the open development environment of Android and the Nexus One could change that soon. I love my HTC phone running 6.5.3 and it works just as well as my IPhone did with the exception of web browsing. That has yet to be beat on an IPhone. I am not going to make any predictions but it is my thought that Blackberry better do something to improve the web browsing features or it might find out that Windows7 and Android have built momentum and are prime to take over its top spot in the corporate world.

      In my tests, security on a windows phone is the same as that on a blackberry…if the user is willing to actually USE the screen password feature.

    • Marc Stroo says:

      Firstly, I think the definition of a smartphone makes a difference. For me that means it’s a SMALL device, so the iPad is no smartphone. When using this definition, I think it’s total nonsense. There are many activities where you need a big screen. Looking how bigger and bigger screens have been happening, now we would all go and ‘work’ on tiny screens? No way.

      ‘Conventional’ computers like desktops and laptops, often with an external screen, offer the possibility to work on multiple programs and/or documents on a big screen. There is a lot of work where this works. Tiny screens like a smartphone are in no way a substitute for this. This Google person that said this was clearly delirious.

      Big screens are like paper; they are here to stay around for quite some time, until they can be replaced by something else with big enough size. This won’t be the smartphone.

    • I will never give up my large screen, keyboard, and ever increasing bandwidth to these little slow gadgets.

  31. the biggest emerging threat in cloud computing will be lack of informational control on the application. the aplication residing on the cloud will have no hold over the data coming to it, which will certainly raise eyebrows on application security.

    cloud computing might be comming with lots of flexibility along with wide range of customized threats. So then, the threat remains same on the way the data is send might be a desktop or through a mobile device.

    • Mainak, would you care to explain this a little further to someone starting in the field? What hold would a traditional database-driven application have over the data coming to it that a cloud-based application would not?

  32. Richard Rees says:

    I don’t know if I agree with the idea that a lack of informational control is a threat. If we truly believe that security is about enabling the business to take advantage of technology in a reasonably safe manner, then we have to take a position that enables the business to use cloud services.

    Lack of control of information is something the business has always had and grappled with. The security community has exacerbated this issue as well by cultivating the hacker/cop mindsets. The business simply sees this as a better way to get work done with the same issues they’ve always had around informational control.

    Overall, cloud is simply transitioning the IT organization from a support cost with a support organization mindset to a support cost with a service delivery mindset. The business can negotiate SLAs and reparations directly in a contract, and understand what they are paying for (unlike IT), getting made whole if there is a failure (also unlike internal IT). Security SLAs are part of that process.

    Corporate security will become a compliance function, and IT security administrators will be in the cloud providers. The issue of unknown data and unknown trust for the business will be the same it’s always been.

  33. Still, the form-factor is a major factor for many of us. I do like the mobility of the products like iphone. BTW, between apple and most carriers, they try to control the apps and contents type. This will be another barrier unless they fully open.

  34. Roberto says:

    Hey please take a look at the pool results and review your article. Iphone is not just easier to use and much more solid phone than Nokia, Android and why not even a blackberry. It can be fully supported by most business (mainly the ones that base their email systems on Outlook).



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