Excerpts from an interview in The Engadget with Hank Nothhaft, CEO of Danger, which makes devices like the Sidekick II:
I think the compelling aspect of [Sidekick II] is the fact that weve been able to blend these applications together on a single device messaging, email, web browsing, a phone service with what I would call doing justice to each application. We make it available to the user through a very effortless, simple interface. Id compare us to Apples iPod or to the TiVo. Thats our major achievement, weve simplified the complexities of all these phenomenal services so mere mortals can enjoy the fruits of this device.
Eighty percent of the people do use the device as their primary phone, so thats very popular. But the thing thats really amazing is the messaging activity that takes place. I call them messaging engines. The people who are using IM on these devices are sending and receiving 110 instant messages a day. Theyre also doing 25-30 emails a day, and theyre accessing 25 web pages a day. We also support SMS on this, and have a range of around 4 SMS messages a day.
The strategy is and was that our expertise is in writing data applications, Java-based operating systems, and enabling things like online commerce. To prove that our concept was valid and exciting, we had to build a device and then hopefully attract consumer electronics companies to work with us.
[In the future], were talking about displacing camera, audio players, maybe video players. Certainly 10 years out the industry will have a different look to it. Mobile devices will become a PC displacement product. I dont think youll see conventional laptops as we know them today that functionality will be subsumed into some device.
Personally, Im very much an online person, but Ive gotten to the point where the only reason Id take my laptop on a business trip is to do a Powerpoint presentation. Devices like ours and others are subsuming some of the functions of PCs.