The pace of development in the smartphone industry is astounding. Right now it seems like any phone you buy will be rendered obsolete within 3 months. I recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S II with a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and within about a month it will pale into comparison with some phones fitted with 1.5 GHz dual-core processors.
Smartphones are not cheap, you can buy basic level laptops for less, but when you consider their size, power consumption, additional functionality like GSM/GPS/Cameras/etc. you can understand why. However ‘bang for your buck’ is improving dramatically. Next year Samsung will be releasing a 2Ghz dual-core processor for smarthpones and this will give your phone the same processing power as an average home computer. It will probably have the same amount of RAM as well. Who knows what will happen in 2013!
I can’t help but feeling that the traditional PC is about to die. If smartphones become the norm for Western consumers, they won’t need a PC. Surely smartphone manufacturers will start selling docking stations to allow their phones to be connected to a screen and keyboard. CDs/DVDs are being replaced with online marketplaces so there doesn’t appear to be any real need for a desktop computer. Laptops won’t be quite as easy to replace, however I am sure they will produce something along the lines of the Asus Transformer that will let you plug your phone into a larger screen & keyboard that you can carry like a netbook.
So the smartphone could become peoples’ sole ‘computer’ with various add-ons for additional usability in different circumstances. I am sure eventually you won’t even need a docking station … the phone will detect devices around it and ask you which you want to use with it (TV/Audio, Desktop screen & keyboard … maybe even your car?!).
The catch? There’s always one … battery life. Possibly overheating problems too. We’d need to see a lot of progress in induction charging to make the above happen.
NOTE: I am comparing Smartphones to standard PCs and not the advanced top-spec PCs as these are not mainstream.