The convergence of the Laptop and the Cell Phone
IntroductionThe availability of information and the quest to understand the evolution of technology and its use can be seen as the drivers that experts and others use to gauge where the future of technology will be in the years ahead. To the layman this may be referred to as a prediction. Several other terminologies are used to understand the evolution of technology relative to predictions. Determinism, forecasts, theories and others are some of the popular terminologies that are used to describe the intricacies of predictions (Sherden, 1998).
Nonetheless, the desire to know more and to compete in the current global economy fans the flames of predictions (Sherden, 1998). While experts and others make predictions on a daily basis, they do not always come through, nor do they all fail (Leigh & Wolfers, 2007). Although it is sometimes difficult to understand the true rational that drives one to predict, predictions are made daily and will continue to be made (Sherden, 1998).
Synopsis of the Computing Evolution
The history of modern computers might be traced to the inception and gains from the strides (advancement) made from LEDs, programming, operating systems, applications, circuit and circuit boards, transistors, storage devices, input and output devices, memory and other components. Undoubtedly, the demands for micro and mini computers have helped to pave the way for new generations of computing devices.
Laptops, and other handheld devices have benefited from the evolution of larger computing devices. In addition, the advent of wireless handheld devices provides instant communications with other systems, have become popular. Thus, it not uncommon to see a telecommuter, or a student with a laptop connected to a wireless handheld device to access the Internet. Usually these connections are either done with a cord, a PCMCIA or a USB card attached to the laptop or desktop. Figure 1. shows a cell phone used with a cord to access the internet.
Figure 1. Cell Phone broadband solution.
In figure 1., the cell phone can either be used for voice calls or data calls; it cannot be used for data and voice calls at the same time. Moreover, the Wireless PCMCIA Card in figure 2., is an option that customers can use to access the internet. Nonetheless, the card must be purchased seperately and broadband (data) service must also be purchased.
Figure 2. Wireless PCMCIA Card.
The speed and convenience that users obtain from these connections are impressive. Moreover, the solutions above show that users are forced to buy a wireless card to get broadband access if they need uninterrupted access to their cell phone.
The ubiquity of laptops has come a long way. They have gotten smaller, faster, lighter, cheaper and vendors are constantly pushing the envelope to launch new and exciting products to enhance the user experience. In the recent past, we have seen laptops that come with internal Wireless LAN cards. In addition, WIMAX technology is lurking the horizons and the technology is available to converge devices to enable true broadband.
While cell phones can be used via a specialized cord to enable the same functionalities as modems to facilitate broadband connectivity, and wireless cards are available, the cost of having both can voice and data service at the same time can be prohibitive. The author predicts that the new frontier of convergence will foster laptops that have a built-in docking station for cell phones. The cell phone will sit on a docking interface on the laptop. It will allow the cell phone to charge, accept calls and enable broadband connectivity wirelessly to the laptop simultaneously.
For instance, while the phone is docked on the laptop, a few mouse clicks can be made to specialized software on the laptop to engage the phone to connect to the Internet. Through multiplexing, compression and other 3G technologies, the broadband capabilities will enable calls to be received via the blue tooth port on the phone, laptop or the speakers (speakerphone) on the laptop. This capability can also enable video conferencing for telemedicine (Halal, 2008).
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Sherden, W. A. (1998). The fortunes Sellers.