Computing paradigm shift

Are we looking at that? I was thinking about this the other day. In The Beginning, There Were Desktops. And They Were Good. Then, we started wanting a bit more mobility, so we got us some Laptops. And They Were Good, Too.  So I am back to my first question.  Based on all the new hardware released in the last couple of years, are we looking at a paradigm shift in computing?  An entirely different form factor than what we’ve accepted lo these many years?

Think about it.  When cell phones first came out, they were huge, fit in a bag over your shoulder, and cost a gazillion dollars.  Now, they’re as small as a cassette tape (remember those?) and can pretty much do everything.  Swiss Army Knives with a Net connection.  Cell phones, or mobiles as they would say in the UK, are actually really small personal computers that happen to make phone calls.  Unless you <ahem> use AT&T.  The computing capacity of an iPhone is amazing.  Look at all it can do.  The upcoming Nexus One will certainly join the league of SSPs, or Super Smart Phones. Will the iPhone eventually kill off the iPod?  Perhaps.  Why have two devices?  I’ve got 4,771 songs in iTunes.  Can’t get all those on an iPhone.  Yet.

So that’s one way that the computer has moved off the desk and laptop.  The other- wait for it- the tablet.  If the fanboys are to be believed, the iSlate is going to be another game changer for One Infinite Loop.  Not right away, though.  Initial cost is likely to prohibit that.  Remember how much iPhones cost in 2007?  The same thing will happen here.  Eventually, the cost will come down as the technology advances. But the portability is the key here. You can take it anywhere, easier than a laptop.  Lighter, faster, and full of zoom-zoom.  People want things small, fast, sleek, and powerful.  Hmmm, sounds like the iPhone or iSlate, eh?

There will be desktops for decades to come.  Corporate IT departments that still run Windows XP and IE6 won’t go within 100 miles of the award-winning Firefox browser, much less some weird techy thing from Star Trek.  Eventually, lightweight, fast, mobile touchscreen devices will rule the roost.

Until the next big thing comes along, of course.