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Culture

Replacing the PC with a cell phone

It's a radical notion that we've probably all considered: Could we ever use our cell phone as our home computer? At least some people think the answer is yes.

cellreplace

This makes a lot of sense, given the current trends and convergence in computing and telecommunication. The notion of such a computing "appliance" is hardly new; Oracle's Larry Ellison and others crusaded for an affordable, bare-bones machine called a "network computer" nearly a decade ago and even tried to recruit telephone companies to subsidize them as far back as 1996.

The idea didn't fly at the time, when the cost of a basic PC was still around $3,000, not accounting for inflation. Today, PC prices have fallen so much that some companies are vying to produce the first $100 computer--far lower than the retail price of many phones that aren't subsidized by carriers.

Blog community response:

"The smart phones don't run full versions of operating systems and may not have quite the same storage capacity, but it certainly looks like they're getting closer all the time. While the miniPC crowd was focused on shrinking down a PC, it appears they didn't realize that the handset makers would be focusing on cramming more computing goodness into mobile phones."
--Techdirt

"Will the average selling price of a PC continue to meander south? Yes. Will it go to free, like handsets? Absolutely. In exchange, consumers will sign up for network plans, DSL, cable, you name it."
--Jonathan's Blog

"As prices keep going down, value chain issues will come to the fore and remaining PC vendors will be forced to use bundling and service packaging as telcos do. All those chasing $100 PC based market would be well advised to explore the high-end cell phone based computing platform."
--Brij Singh's Random Musings