A vision of pervasive computing

By Sean M. Dugan, InfoWorld |  Hardware

Ditzel: Yes. The technology isn't quite there today neither in the hardware nor in the general software infrastructure. But I see no reason why the technology wouldn't go there; that's the obvious place to go. These other things in the short term are just intermediate steps. Things like WAP on your cell phone are just intermediate bridges to that new future where we have a single pervasive communication device that also happens to be a computer.

InfoWorld: You could almost call "now" the experimental phase where we're putting out different breeds of animals in order to see which ones survive in the long term.

Ditzel: Absolutely.

InfoWorld: What does this mean for companies? Does it change the strategy for a company that is on the Web and how they need to be thinking about these things?

Ditzel: I think the biggest change for companies is the pervasiveness of notebook computing. We have a lot of desktop computers, but the simple combination of a fairly powerful computer with long battery life coupled with, say, 802.11 wireless would be a tremendous change in culture for a company.

When you go to a meeting, you just bring your little notebook with you. You continue to get e-mail, you type in notes so that at the end of the meeting, you can hit Send and everybody immediately gets a copy of the meeting minutes. I think the reason why this hasn't happened in the past is that two key technologies have been missing. One was wireless, but the other was the absense of a notebook computer that has long battery life and is light enough that you'd be willing to carry it around. That second piece is what we're focusing on at Transmeta.

A lot of people have these little Sony PictureBook notebooks here with an 802.11 card stuck in. It's two pounds, it's light enough that you can carry it around to every meeting with you like a notepad. The battery will last all day, so you actually take it and use it for an entire work day. I think with a lot of the hotter processors that were in notebook PCs before, you only had one hour of battery life. You could go to one meeting, then your battery is dead. That just didn't cut it. I think just the very simple notion of making the battery last an entire day and having the machine only weigh two or three pounds and having wireeless communication hooked in are together going to drastically change the field for how we do computing in our work lives. That's yet to happen -- I think that's the next major change. Beyond that, I think there will be some new devices, but that's a few years out yet.

InfoWorld: It seems when you have a combination of things such as long battery life, portability, and rich functionality, and then you add an extra, such as a digital camera, there's a whole culture of computing that will rise out of this.

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