With long lines massing before the doors opened and strong sales throughout the weekend, there is no doubt that the iPad is changing the portable PC market. But as the old saying goes, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Research firm DisplaySearch now predicts that the total portable PC market will grow to 215 million units and reach sales of $117 billion this year.
What recession you might ask? But the truth is that notebooks, netbooks and slate PCs – also known as tablets – remain the fastest-growing segment of the portable PC market for 2010. DisplaySearch notes that this huge growth is due to the introduction of slates, but analysts are stressing the traditional clamshell style devices will continue to grow as well, while B2B spending should pick up in the second half of the year, bringing a 25.7 percent forecast for Y/Y growth.
So why is business suddenly adopting smaller computers? As someone who has been on the frontlines as a business traveler, my portable computer arsenal includes computers that are big and small. The bigger computers offer larger keyboards, bigger displays and until recently greater functionality. A larger keyboard is great for those times when I’ve needed to file stories on the go, work with Photoshop or other memory-hogging applications. But now some of those tasks can be handled in the clouds, and I’ve learned to adapt to the smaller devices.
Credit much of this to the smartphone, which has changed my need to even bring a computer on some short trips. If I don’t need to file a story, but need to check in with editors or other colleagues, a smartphone goes a long way and means a lot less stuff to carry. No doubt others are learning that even the thin and light category of laptops are all too big when offered the chance to bring a netbook instead.
Cost is another factor too. Netbooks are more affordable than the larger laptops. A few years ago a smaller form factor carried a premium, but now a small notebook or netbook can be quite affordable (at times actually costing less) than a larger portable. Smaller size means less weight, which is really important when you’re lugging a computer all over the country. More so for me, as I loves books over a Kindle and need to ensure that I’m able to carry as many books as possible without adding too much weight. Talk about adding back injury to self-inflicted insult.
Verizon Gets the iPhone, But When?
Another week, another iPhone rumor. For the past year it has been widely rumored that the iPhone would be heading to Verizon; and then last fall it looked like the iPhone would be heading to T-Mobile; and as the rumor mill kicked into high gear, it looked like Sprint would get the iPhone. As of last week, the rumors have gone full circle – and no this wasn’t some sort of April Fool’s joke – that Verizon is the carrier to get the iPhone. But when?
What we do know is that AT&T still has an exclusive agreement with Apple for the iPhone, but the details of the agreement have never been made public. What we also know is that AT&T doesn’t have an exclusive for perpetuity. That would have been crazy on Apple’s part to even think about it. Of course for anyone who doesn’t use AT&T as their mobile carrier, but wants an iPhone, it might seem like forever already.
So what’s the holdup with Verizon? Well, one part of the equation is the aforementioned agreement, but another part is that Verizon and AT&T use mutually exclusive technology for their respective wireless networks. With the iPhone running on AT&T’s GSM network it will take some digital hocus pocus to get it to work for Verizon’s CDMA network – at least that’s the common argument. Of course how hard can this be, given that BlackBerry has a world phone with the Tour, which can run on both types of networks. There are other multi-band handsets.
Some analysts think there could be another factor at work. It could also be that the first CDMA iPhone handsets could come out not in America but in China for China Telecom and KDDI later this year as a way to test the waters and sort out any bugs. In other words, Apple doesn’t know what to expect with CDMA and wants to avoid any major problems in America. Beyond just the network, there are many other factors to consider: there is the Wi-Fi functionality and the apps. Those were designed to run on a device supporting AT&T’s GSM network, so that could add yet another wrinkle to the mix.
Finally, we know the iPhone won’t always be on Verizon. But for now, it looks like the popular handset will see another summer as an AT&T exclusive in the United States.