CIO magazine recently published a great review of laptop technologies titled “Meet the Laptop You’l Use in 2015″ (available here: article). With this post I’ll provide a review of that article and insert some thoughts from a technology early adopter and disruptive IT analyst. First some concepts from the CIO Magazine article:
Much like a sliding cellphone, this laptop is two OLED (organic light emitting diode) displays that slide one into the other. The sleeve acting as the monitor, and the lower as a keyboard and a mousepad/drawing surface.
Dual Touch Screen Clamshell
This device is two touchscreens in your typical clamshell. It is a transforming device – looking like a laptop, a piano, a sketch pad, or even a book. All of these applications sound good – but I am not sold we will still be in this state.
Seeing Impaired Device
There was one device that used “Magneclay, an oil-based synthetic material that instantly forms shapes in response to electrical fields.” I guess it would basically be a re-writable braille tablet, which sounds great, and will hopefully be available sooner than 2015, but I am sure it won’t be the norm.
Carrying/multi-purpose hinged screens
The Cario a hinged, touchscreen device is interesting. It has a mini-projector to create a HUD on your windshield (but definitely looks a little dangerous for the other drivers on the road). It links with your car and can provide useful points of interest.
CIO Magazine continues to discuss some of the technologies these laptops will possess (six or eight cores, shapeable batteries, flash memory, and OLED screens), but in my opinion, falls short of what our portable computing sources will provide to the user.
In my opinion, computing power is not going to be even a question. As Intel is readying their launch of the Nehalem processor for mobile computing, it will provide a substantive boost over all but the most powerful desktop replacements. However, these chips won’t be limited to 17″, 15 lb, battery draining behemoths, but will be utilized in everything from netbooks, to “ultraportables” (whatever that means anymore), and standard laptops.
I’ll point to a few things that make be believe that all of these images are no where near ‘cool’ enough, nor accurate depictions.
The first is Kingston’s 256GB Data Traveler flash drive due out by the end of the year. It is simply inconceivable to me that 1TB flash memory will not be the standard come 2015 (maybe even multiple terabytes). The cost of flash memory is skyrocketing down – Intel’s newest SSD drive offers 80GB for around $200USD.
The second is iKey’s AK-39 wearable keyboard. Of course, this is a little tongue in cheek, but I can’t believe in 6 years I’m going to be alright without computing on the go. Already I am completely tied to my WinMo Motorola Q9h (yes I know it’s probably possessed), but being able to compute in motion is what the next generation laptop is all about. This keyboard might be almost as dorky as the “Wolf Shirt” or Comic-Con, but it shows that we are realizing our need to access data (and networks) anytime, and anywhere.
This is almost completely ignored in Nadel’s article, but I hope, believe, demand that we will have gigabit wireless in 2015. We will minimally be around the 100Mb world – which brings to mind – do we even need localized storage? If I have 100Mb connection, why would I ever move anything out of the Cloud? Currently AT&T offers 7.2Mb service. If AT&T can figure out 7.2Mb service in 2009, it’s hard to believe we won’t have 1Gb or 100Mb figured out in 2015.
Most of the design in CIO magazine focused on touchscreens and prototypical qwerty setups. After watching this video (MIT’s wearable projecting computer) I can’t imagine we’d ever do anything different. It utilizes teaching the computer 4 fingers as control devices, and interacting with what is projected onto any surface. Extrapolate 4 to 10 (yes all of your digits), and project a keyboard ANYWHERE. In fact, project whatever you want ANYWHERE. Obviously there would have to be some sort of privacy filter, so what about a nice little heads up display (HUD) that is just a tiny wearable monocle.
So if you’re hooked up to the Cloud, you have 100Mb connection, and it is all being streamed to your right (or left) eye, what is left? I’d say power supply, and interconnectivity to other devices. The HDMI 1.4 standard sounds enticing, with HD video, HD sound, and Ethernet, you could plug in and share anything you travel with. In terms of battery power – we see that processors are more powerful and use less energy than ever before (see Intel’s Core i7). I presume at some point battery power will keep up, but to be honest, I’d be willing to carry a 40lb ruck with a car battery in it for these features. I might see my twitter and facebook fanbase decimated, but I’d be happily connected to anyone still willing to connect with me. Most likely you won’t even need to chance pariah status, with kinetic power making a rise (here) it would be possible to power your phone just by walking.
In the long run, I see that the laptop of 2015 (better yet, portable personal computing device) will integrate a phone (Skype or Google Voice), connection to the Cloud, and easy to operate control devices. The rest will be up to the consumer – “ask and ye shall receive” might be the rule of thumb here. It will most likely be a highly customizable, wearable, and maybe even self-powered device.