I am a judgment broker who writes often. I might one day become the last person to own and use a computer. I am amazed at these times, where most new computer-related things are coming out as Apps. Most often, these new things are only available on a portable device, not a regular laptop or desktop computer. I am also amazed when young people walk past a movie playing on a large flat-screen TV, and then later, all crowd around some tiny screen to watch that same movie.
The bandwidth and power of portable devices have increased to an amazing level. Many smart phones and tablets are now used as personal computers. My guess is that people who use a smart portable device instead a computer can afford the data plan and are relatively young and/or do a lot of traveling.
I work at my home office, in front of a Macintosh having a 27-inch screen, and also a Mac laptop. I have played with the latest iPad and some new Galaxy and other Android devices, and while they are all fast and cool; I find I can work much faster and easier in front of my two computer screens. I have an iPod Touch, however I just use it to listen to music, podcasts, or meditation tracks when I am doing chores; or to keep my shopping list when I go to the store.
Stand-alone GPS device manufacturers are under pressure, however there is an advantage to using a separate GPS device, so you can multitask. However, the handwriting is on the wall; the GPS function is moving into the realm of hand-held devices, which includes portable devices, smart phones, and tablet computers.
GPS-related Apps such as Waze and MultAply are breaking new ground. http://www.MultAply.com is brand new, and is kind of a mixture of Groupon and a GPS function combined, on steroids. MultAply notifies you of nearby things; people, deals, or local events, targeted to what interests you.
I have read some statistics that say the home personal computer will become less important to many people soon, for example:
1) In the past three years, more than 300,000 Apps have been developed. In 2011, about 18 billion Apps were downloaded. By 2015, that number is estimated to grow to 108 billion.
2) About 90% of smartphone owners usually keep their phones within three feet.
3) In 2011, the use of mobile devices to read email increased by 34%, while the use of desktop personal computers to read email went down by 11%.
4) By 2015, more people will access the internet through a smartphone or tablet than a personal computer.
Of course, many smart portable devices, especially tablets; come with a docking port, where you can add a full-size keyboard, and sometimes external storage and displays too. Once you add all those, you are kind of back to a desktop model.
For me, it is difficult to imagine trading my 27-inch screen for a screen of between 1/20th and 1/3rd the size. Apple’s IPad and its competitors are constantly improving. Someday, there may be a portable device with a screen large enough to lure me away from my 27-inch desktop computer screen. While the power of portable devices is important, so is the data plan pricing.