Convergence

There seems to be so much happening at once. There is currently a convergence in mobile computing. Smartphones have been getting smarter and laptops have been getting smaller and now all the mobile operators are offering netbooks free (or very cheap) with mobile broadband contracts in much the same way that they have always offered free mobile phones with airtime contracts. Three are even offering a wireless mobile broadband router that you can plug your mobile broadband USB modem into in order to share it with others. We just need to get the price per GB to come down so that sharing your mobile broadband isn’t like throwing money out of the window and bring roaming data/broadband in out of complete rip-off territory. We are also seeing the first devices to feature Qualcomm‘s new GOBI chipset which allows devices to connect to any wireless network anywhere. It will handle all major RF bands, uniting Wi-Fi and 3G, and has inbuilt GPS functionality all on a single, low voltage chipset.
At the same time there has been a lot of activity around connectivity and adding some smart to the internet as it transforms itself from a series of tubes to a cluster of clouds. Not least of all Microsoft’s recent and long overdue announcements at PDC about its cloud computing platform and other good stuff in the pipeline. We should also finally see some movement in Live Mesh, which has been sitting around like a 3rd wheel for so long you almost started to feel sorry for it. We should expect Mesh connectivity for mobile devices imminently so we can finally start getting all our devices connected, sharing and syncing in the cloud. I would also expect to see some kind of Mesh connectivity for the XBox 360 soon and the first pure Mesh and Mesh aware apps.
Finally there’s Silverlight for Windows Mobile, Silverlight for Symbian S60 (Nokia et al), Steve Jobs hinting at Silverlight for iPhone, Mesh in Windows Mobile 7, Windows 7 itself and a full .NET compact framework for Symbian S60 (albeit not a free one) from RedFiveLabs.
We are still waiting for the next big revolution in mobile power to close the loop but there have been a recent spate of advances in photo-voltaic cells and in batteries that run on plant cellulose, water, sugar, urine…you name it, someone is getting volts out of it. Some of these new power cells are also biodegradable which is doubly cool.
However you look at it the future of computing is looking mobile, cloudy and increasingly silver.
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