Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer said something in a presentation this week that I've been predicting all along, and that's the convergence of PCs and mobile devices. The logic is undeniable. Mobile devices are getting both smaller and smarter, and smartphones are replacing ordinary cell phones in record numbers. It's only a matter of time before the average cell phone starts to take on more characteristics of the smartphone, and the average smartphone starts to take on more characteristics of a full-featured PC. I don't think anybody's released one yet, but I look for a netbook to come out with integrated cell phone capabilities, and maybe even an attachable handset.
The netbook also fits into that continuum, and Ballmer said he expects netbooks running Windows 7 to be a big hit.
Ballmer said Microsoft doesn't have any plans to build its own smartphone, but will instead focus on the software end of the smartphone business. According to reports, Ballmer sees Android-based smartphones as being a bigger competitive threat than the iPhone, which makes sense--ultimately, Android will have a much wider reach than Apple. Ballmer also predicted an Android-based laptop in the future. Could that be the realization of my dream of a combination netbook/smartphone?