Could a Smartphone Replace Your Laptop?

About two years ago, I asked whether smartphones could ever replace laptops. With subsequent advances in the iPhone and the rise of the Google Android market, smartphones are the hottest new toy – and I raise the question again.

I used to have a Nokia E71, then downgraded to a normal phone, and later picked up a Sony Ericsson P990i. At some point I will invest in an iPhone.

I love my chunky and old Sony; it is a powerful touchscreen device with a full physical QWERTY keyboard. It runs the UIQ 3 operating system.

I have an old ThinkPad 600 and an iBook G3, but I find myself using my Sony for everything from emails to surfing the Web – and even writing using QuickOffice, including this article.

It’s small compared to my laptops. It’s even small compared to netbooks. And it’s always there in my pocket.

It is old, and the UIQ OS is clunky and quirky. Newer Symbian phones and Android phones have a slicker OS and interface and have powerful processors (up to 1 GHz).

The iPhone Changed Everything

The iPhone has taken the world by storm. No longer does a phone just call and text. Smartphones have been around for a long time, but they were always a bit nerdy and business oriented. The iPhone brought coolness to installing apps on your smartphone.

The Web experience on mobile devices has never matched the desktop. The iPhone, iPod touch, and now the iPad have made the leap in bringing full HTML browsing to small devices.

However, a smartphone doesn’t have an optical drive (neither does the MacBook Air), has a maximum of 32 GB solid state/flash storage (so do some netbooks), and some have mini physical QWERTY keyboards, although some have virtual onscreen ones.

Smartphones are great. You get a phone, still camera, video camera, music player, email, and Web device all in one compact little machine.

Can Smartphones Replace Laptops?

In answer to my original question and the one raised nearly two years ago, I think the answer is yes.

I have changed my mind since my earlier article. Advances in smartphones and media devices have come a long way.

You can use your smartphone to do most of what your desktop or laptop can do, and it is great for when you are out and about.

With the importance of speed and portability, the next 24 months will see a huge shift in portable connectivity. With even Joe Average wanting to Facebook while on the bus, high spec phones are no longer just for the nerdy.

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