Phones and laptops are running towards each other at amazing speed. Microsoft is betting they’ll meet somewhere around the form factor of the Origami devices. On the low end, phones like mine and T-Mobile MDA (featured in this NYT story) are coming at it from the low end.
Here’s the fascinating thing though: these devices are only useful to the broad market if they run Windows. The OS of choice for the new crop of phones is Windows Mobile 5.0, but it’s clear that people really need that. Even the Blackberries see a huge demand for reading and writing MS Office documents.
I think they meet somewhere in the middle at the Origami, but futurist predictions aren’t usually that linear. I can see a point five years from now when you have four kinds of portable devices:
- Tiny phones (available today)
- Small phones that run windows and are a laptop minus the form factor (almost there today)
- Tiny laptops (like the Vaio, and available today), and
- Monster laptops, like the Apple one with the widescreen. (available today)
It’s possible that the form factor dominates all and Origami devices are too big to be phones and too small to be laptops. I hope that’s not the case, but only time will tell.