Business Week writes on the engineering going behind the next generation of smartphones, which are serving as gaming consoles, MP3 players, computers, cameras, TV sets, and more: “Two main areas of development are hardware — beefing up processing and power management — and the much-talked-about customer experience, which focuses on how to make features more compelling and easier to use. In short, researchers are scrambling to find ways to give new features better functionality and, more important, to make them so appealing that customers won’t think twice about paying for them.”

I wcouldn’t help thinking – why not make these smartphones as thin clients? That would simplify what they need to do. Yes, they wouldn’t work if the network is not there, but such places are becoming increasingly rare.

We crammed in a lot into PCs, increasing their complexity and cost (from the perspective of users in markets like India) and limiting adoption. If we were to design PCs in a world where networking was pervasive, would we do it the same way? I am not sure. I believe the way to get the next billion users is to look at thin-client computers/cellphones assuming ubiquitous networks, and centralise the processing and storage. And guess what, no sync-ing will be needed!

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.