Mobile – the future Desktop?
Looking at the current trend – with Mobiles becoming more sophisticated, connected and also coming up with larger keyboards (where you can type using both hands) and high quality displays and Desktops relying on connectivity for data storage as well as processing – convergence of mobiles and computers seems inevitable.
Would we just be having Larger LCD screens and normal keyboards, when at homes and offices – and use our mobiles as the computer?
The idea is not to suggest that Mobiles become more and more functional – or bulky and become another computer (of smaller size and configuration). Instead Mobiles with the current features – ability to run applications and connect to Internet would suffice.
If Computing and Data processing happens outside – somewhere in the internet – why are desktops or laptops needed? Wouldn’t Peripherals alone suffice? Can PC be called “Peripherals for connecting”? Possibly, Yes – in a long term. Network Computer – as perceived by Larry Ellison – is not yet a reality as it seems to take people back to the Mainframe Dumb Terminal days where instead of Mainframe now the reliance is on Internet.
The factors to be considered are that Internet Bandwidth is not unlimited, it comes at a cost that is based on usage, and there is a perceived privacy risk in having certain information in Internet. This clearly points out to a middle path where the user has (without having to depend on Internet) certain capabilities – however limited – of processing, storage etc. The basic functions of processing, and storage of memory would also allow certain amount of efficient usage of Internet Bandwidth. For example, no need to be connected while writing a document or painting a picture (more like the age-old “Pseudo-conversational programming in CICS”). Most sensitive data and critical information (which you need to access even if the internet connectivity is not available) can be held in local storage.
Mobile fits in exactly in this respect with the device itself coming up with tremendous features and capabilities – even if you are not connected – and hence can replace the processor, hard disk and other core parts. Mobile as Desktop really implies that there would be seamless continuity and you just can proceed with your work while travelling and otherwise – and no need for data transfer, synchronization etc. When not travelling, you still enjoy the additional advantages of having a bigger display, better speakers, larger keyboard or input device etc.
The idea itself is not new and mobile desktops are already there in the market. With the progress made technical feasibility is no longer a question. With desktop virtualization on the rise and mobile applications becoming mainstream, the near future seems to hold the promise for mobiles becoming desktops in organizations.
With Mobiles as Desktops concept, the organizations can have huge savings in terms of cost but have to focus on the other issues that come up with it. In addition to the Desktop computer, even the desktop phones would become redundant.
If Mobiles are the desktops, then the dividing line between personal and official use would blur and the level of control organizations currently have in terms of what software is loaded in a desktop, which version and which internet sites are blocked etc. would have to reduce significantly. Mobile security and managing mobiles in an enterprise environment if addressed well can set the trend rolling.