A vision of pervasive computing

By Sean M. Dugan, InfoWorld |  Hardware

Transmeta made its debut slightly more than a year ago, after being one of the better-kept secrets in Silicon Valley. Its most impressive product is the Crusoe chip, a low-cost computer processor designed to extend battery life and usher in a new era of handheld computing devices. Dave Ditzel, the founder of Transmeta, is a veteran of Sun Microsystems where, as CTO, he was instrumental in developing Sun's RISC computer chip architecture. InfoWorld Contributing Editor Sean Dugan caught up with Ditzel to discuss the future of personal computers, the limitations of today's handhelds, and what pervasive computing will look like in the future.

InfoWorld: What do you see in five years as the standard PC?

Ditzel: Very simply, that I can get my e-mail no matter where I am, as easily as I get a phone call today.

InfoWorld: How would you define mobile computing?

Ditzel: I actually have two different terms. There's mobile computing, and there is something else that we see as our vision of what we want to make happen, what we call mobile Internet computing. Mobile computing might be where you have a Palm Pilot, and you look up a set of phone numbers or addresses on a little handheld device. But that's maybe about all the computing it does other than functioning as a calculator.

I think our vision is one of extending the experience that people get from their desktop PC today to the mobile realm. And I believe this not only from a technological point of view, but from a sociological point of view. People have certain habits, one of which is how they communicate and get information. So for example, if you look back 10 years, it's all telephone and newspapers. But today when you come into your office, you sit down at your desktop PC, and it's now e-mail and Web sites. But when you walk out of your office, and you're at the store, or something else is going on, if somebody is trying to communicate with you. For example, if the power goes out in California in a certain section of town, and you've got to pick up your kids, how does that information get communicated to you. If they knew you were in your office, and they were at a computer, they'd send you e-mail. But when you're mobile, you don't get that same communication you get with a cellular phone today.

InfoWorld: Is mobile computing migrating the functionality that's now on the desktop onto something that you're carrying with you all the time?

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