The question is not what the phone can do now, but more what will the phone become over time, Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates told on-line technology site Engadget recently. The phone, he said, sort of trumps everything. It trumps media players, it trumps cameras, it trumps GPS-mapping devices, digital wallets, and even entertainment.
The fact that many people already take their phone everywhere makes it a natural candidate to become what an analyst called the one device to rule them all. As Vodafone Group PLC executive Guy Laurence told a telecom conference earlier this year: There are only three things that people always carry with them: their wallet, their keys and their mobile phone.
And technology is making it easier for the phone to become what telecom guru George Gilder calls a teleputer a wireless device capable of performing all of the functions we associate with a computer. Devices are getting cheaper, but you’re also seeing bigger screens and more storage, says British-based Gartner analyst Benjamin Wood.
The phone is increasingly becoming the ubiquitous converged device at the centre of our lives, says Lawrence Surtees of IDC Canada. It’s becoming a small laptop in your pocket.
Some industry experts see such phones turning into thin clients or network computers that can access your data wherever it might be stored on a server at the office or on a PC at home a model that e-mail-centric devices such as RIM’s BlackBerry and palmOne Inc.’s Treo have already made popular.