Technology continues to zoom along developing new products. Three months ago I pondered Netbook or Smartphone, and now the news comes they'll have the same CPU, according to Computerworld's article “Maker: First Android netbook to cost about $250.”
I don't blame you for getting excited at the price of $250. After all, you can't buy a decent smartphone for that money unless you subjugate yourself to one of the carriers to get their discount on hardware. But I like the notes deeper in the article that various ARM CPUs will be powering various new smaller and cheaper netbooks. Over a billion (with a B) mobile phones have ARM chips, and your next portable computing device may have one as well.
Think of this as the local side of the entire “cloud” phenomenon. After all, if your applications are in the cloud, like Google Apps or Zoho or GoEverywhere, and your data is in the cloud, like Box.Net or HyperOffice.com, and you run all your applications in your browser, how powerful a computer do you need? According to the netbook lobby, not much of one at all. Thank SaaS for your smaller computer.
Don't be surprised if the first wave of ARM-equipped netbooks are really too small to be useful for anything. ComputerWorld references netbooks small enough for a purse or shoulder bag. Those of us with older eyes will never be able to manage one of those. We can barely manage our cell phone now with all the small type and blurry icons.
Just be grateful the trend toward smaller and cheaper remains alive. The more technology we can get the better we can manage all the hassles technology has created for us. Think of this as cyclical karma, and be glad karma's getting smaller and cheaper.