The Cell Phone Computer

by Krishna on December 19, 2006

Cell phones are becoming amazingly inexpensive, but increasing in power and features all the time. I was discussing with a friend recently about the possibility that a cell phone would one day replace the laptop and the desktop. You would probably have all your data and processing power in your cell phone and would only need a monitor, keyboard and mouse (portable or as part of a docking station) to use the system.

This is not a new idea – there is a TV ad which shows an executive walking into a meeting with no laptop and just using his handheld to show a presentation. Nowadays, we have Windows Mobile and other mini operating systems running on phones – it is only a matter of time before processing power allows a full-fledged operating system to run on a regular phone.

Right now, the cell phone is already performing many roles. For example, many people are using it as a digital camera and, increasingly to take short videos. They have been using it as a contact manager. In some countries, the cell phone is now acting as a credit card or smart card. We have MP3 players in cell phones.

Apart from processing power which is sure to increase, the main limitation of cell phones is their smaller screen size and small keyboards. This is not really a problem while on the road, although there are portable keyboards or virtual laser keyboards to help. The docking station could solve the problem while at work or at home. The only question is perhaps will the cell phone or the iPod get there first?

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