Several years ago, I conducted an experiment on Symbian-Guru.com called PC-Free For 30 Days. My main computer had crashed and was going to be in service, so I decided to see how I could complete the tasks that I normally do on my computer using only a Symbian-powered smartphone. The conclusion at the time was that while it is possible, in most cases it wasn’t nearly as convenient to do things from my smartphone as it was to do the same task from a computer.
Fast forward to the present, and I’m honestly convinced that if I didn’t run a blog, I wouldn’t need a computer at all. In the past 6 months, I’ve used smartphones powered by Android, Symbian, and BlackBerry – some of the leading smartphone operating systems.
As I use these smartphone platforms more and more, I’m growing less and less dependent on my laptop for pretty much anything and more dependent on my smartphones to pick up the slack. Aside from the physical aspects (bigger screen, keyboard, etc) there’s really nothing my laptop offers me that my smartphone doesn’t. In fact, my smartphone has a few physical aspects that put it a step ahead my laptop.
1. Better battery life – sure, today’s netbooks can go several hours on a single charge, but the majority of laptops on the market today, barely eek out 2-3 hours of continuous use, much less 6-8. My smartphone – particularly the BlackBerry Bold 9700, can easily go through one, sometimes 2 full days of use before I have to charge it. Impressive.
2. Much more mobile – there’s a difference in mobility and portability. Mobility is the ability to use something while mobile – while moving. Portability is how easy it is to move something from place to place. Portability requires stops to really use something, while mobility doesn’t. My smartphone is a handheld object – I can use it with one hand easily. Even my netbook can’t do that.
3. Connectivity – my smartphone is connected via the cellular network all the time. I get notified of new updates this way, and I don’t have to hunt down a Wi-Fi hotspot to use it. I realize a few netbooks have this built-in now, but the vast majority do not come with this feature built-in.
As the younger generations grow up and get to high school, college, and beyond, how many will opt to have computers – even laptops and netbooks – versus just a smartphone? Even the most high-end smartphone is a few hundred dollars cheaper than the cheapest netbooks, and is just as capable. How many of the generations after them will opt for a full-on computer?
In fact, if I didn’t blog, I’d probably never open my laptop or netbook. Of course, there are WordPress apps for Symbian, BlackBerry, and Android, but it’s not really a great solution. What about you? Do you really need a computer, or have you started to depend more and more on your smartphone for everything? Are there any tasks that you simply need a computer to accomplish?