It’s not a SuperPhone, it’s a PocketComputer

by David on January 27, 2010

What electronics are you carrying in your pocket? I have an Android G1 and a dumb phone. I’m not sure what to call it. Then again, these days I’m not sure what to call an Android or iPhone.

They used to be called smart phones. Then some marketing guy decided we should call them app phones because they ran applications that we could buy at app stores. Then Google released the Nexus One and declared it a Super Phone. No, it is not a super phone… it’s a pocket computer.

Think about it

Think about it… If you have an Android or iPhone, why did you get it? Did you want your phone to do more? Not really. You wanted to be able to carry a computer in your pocket. Don’t you wish that even with all that your phone can do that it did more of the things that your computer does? Of course you do.

Why do you love your phone? Because it makes calls? Not if you have an Android or iPhone. It seems like every day I hear someone complaining about how bad a phone they are.

Do you have a Blackberry? Now that is a super phone. It doesn’t really act like a computer, does it? It seems to be a phone that is trying really hard to have computer functionality. In truth, it works well as a phone (well, except that microphone issue) but having to make two separate clicks to use a Web link?!? It’s really not computer-like. It uses e-mail and chat like SMS.

What’s a pocket computer?

The iPhone and Androids are computers that had phone technology added in. It makes sense. I can use it with WiFi. It has most of the apps I use on my computer. It also makes sense to connect over the available network… that used by cell phones. Now, you’re going to argue that that fact alone makes it a cell phone and not a computer. But you won’t argue that WiFi is a computer technology that my pocket computer uses, or was it a super phone?

The Arrowhead trucks have been delivering water for years. A couple of years ago, they started delivering coffee too. Does that make Arrowhead a coffee company? Of course not.

Does it matter?

You think I am just playing semantics here. Why does it matter what we call these devices? Who cares whether it’s a phone or a computer as long as it does what I want?

Regular davidlew.is readers have been sensing (no, not my love of words) that I am trying to figure out what’s really going on with a few things. Google Chrome and Android for instance (I still don’t get why Google has both). Google Energy maybe being an ISP. Using Twitter and Foursquare and other mobile apps. There is a theme. But wait… there’s more!

I think eBook readers are way cool. I’d get one except that it would just gather dust. I don’t have time right now to read enough or play with another device to get full enjoyment out of it. That and the Kindle and its ilk are obsolete.

Behold Slate Computers!

“The Kindle is new and cool. Go…” Yeah, some of you want to tell me that. But the truth is, the Kindle is about as cool as the dumb phone I carry. It isn’t a computer.

You’ve heard rumors about Apple’s iSlate (also call isLate). And Dell and Microsoft are calling their competitors to it Slates. That is exactly why it is important to make the distinction of my “phone” being a pocket computer.

We thought the iSlate was going to be a tablet computer. Do these look anything alike?

The old tablet PC looks like a laptop with a touchscreen on a swivel. A slate computer looks like a book reader or like an iPhone or Android… those seem to be the OS bases that are being used. Wouldn’t that make them phones by the outdated logic? No, they are slate computers.

That means that there will now be 4 main sizes of computers from desktops (the biggest and I am including the iMac style in this), notebooks/laptops, slate computers and pocket computers. I expect to have at least one of each in my house and probably a few of at least 2 sizes… my kids will be teenagers soon enough.

Not just semantics

It is important to recognize that these are computers. We need to do that so we get what can be done with them and so that users both understand what they can do and demand it!

In 1995, Alan Kaye told me that the computer revolution hadn’t happened. He said it would happen when computers disappeared. They are starting to disappear to such an extent that people are starting to call some computers phones. Maybe we should call them Super Phones and keep fooling ourselves. Nah, I’m going to call my G1 a Pocket Computer from now on. Hell, it has more power than all of the computers used to send men to the Moon six times… and it’s in my pocket!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

fortranosaur January 28, 2010 at 5:00 am

What's my iPod touch? A pocket abacus?

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