Mobile tech 2010: Five trends that will change our lives
The next two years will bring a slew of advances for mobile workers. Here are five that will make life on the road more productive.
Computerworld - The past two years have been exciting ones for mobility, with the dawn of netbooks, 4G communications and the first smartphones without keypads. The next two should be just as attention-grabbing, if not more so, as a slew of new technologies make workers more productive on the road.
Last year, for the first time, notebooks outsold desktop computers, according to iSuppli Corp., a tech analyst firm, showing that the move to a mobile lifestyle is under way. "It's just the start," observes Steve Kleynhans, a research vice president at Gartner Inc. "2009 and 2010 will be big years for mobility, with major advances coming that will affect what we carry and how we work and play."
I went in search of what the face of mobility might look like in 2010 and came away optimistic that the world will be a better and easier place for mobile workers to get their jobs done. After talking to a dozen analysts, engineers and marketing types - sorry, no fortune tellers - and sifting through a mountain of technical material, it became clear that these advances are just the beginning of what could be the start of a golden age of mobility, where work gets done wherever you might be.
On top of more powerful small notebooks with better batteries and faster data access, there will be high-powered smartphones, as well as two high-speed wireless networks to choose from that will deliver broadband speeds on demand. Here are five areas that may quickly change the face of mobility.
The big story in 2008 was the rise of the netbook from a marketing idea to sales of 14 million units, according to Austin-based DisplaySearch's estimate of year-end sales. But while these tiny notebooks work well as a second or third computer, they lack the performance needed for a primary work system.
That will change quickly later this year, when netbooks start shipping with Intel's dual-core Atom processor. The Model 330 Atom processor has a pair of computational cores -- like the Core 2 Duo chips -- for churning through heavy-duty work. Right now, computer makers are sampling the chip and integrating it into a new generation of netbooks and other products.
"2009 will be the year of the netbook," explains Kleynhans. "They will be small and light enough to take everywhere and just powerful enough for most workers." Adding a second computational core, says Kleynhans, won't double the system's abilities, but the new Atom chip will likely boost overall performance of these small wonders by about 50% and bring them to about the level of mainstream systems. Look for them sometime this summer or fall.
Netbook graphics will be improved as well. Nvidia has packaged its capable GeForce 9400M graphics accelerator (the same being used on Apple's new MacBook Pro notebooks) with Intel's Atom CPUs. The chip combo will take netbooks beyond Web browsing, e-mail and simple applications to handle complex graphics and high-definition video.
Intel will not be alone in boosting netbook performance. Later this year, AMD plans to focus on ultraportable computing with its Athlon Neo family of single- and double-core processors. According to the company, Neo will be packaged with ATI Radeon Avivo video to make quick work of decoding and displaying HD video.
Further out on the technological horizon, Via, the maker of the C7 processor that Hewlett-Packard uses in its Mini-Note 2133 netbook, is redesigning the C7 as a dual-core processor. Called the Via Nano, the processor will likely be available late this year or in early 2010 (a single-core version shipped earlier this year). Its design will likely have something that Intel and AMD aren't offering in this class of processors: full hardware encryption of data for the security-conscious among us.
There's a dark side to this generation of more powerful small notebooks: The new processors will use between 6 and 8 watts of power, about double the level of today's systems. "That cuts into battery life," says Gartner's Kleynhans. "The juice has to come from somewhere."
More aggressive power management could compensate for some of this power shortfall, but it could also require bigger (and heavier) batteries or shorter battery life, potentially defeating the whole idea of a netbook.
Rather than producing cookie-cutter designs that look and act alike, each manufacturer will be forced to make its own decisions and compromises on power, producing a wide variety of netbooks over the next two years. Look for the first high-powered netbooks this summer.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- 3 Steps to Content Sharing and Collaboration ft. Forrester Research Consumer sync and share tools help people access and send personal files, but smart IT leaders know that businesses require more than just...
- Empowering Your Mobile Workers A modern mobile IT strategy is no longer an option, it is an absolute necessity. Here's how some of the nation's most progressive...
- Omnichannel: From Buzzword to Strategy Customers demand a seamless experience across channels, especially mobile. Read this whitepaper for a research-based framework for using omnichannel for higher customer engagement.
- The 5 Big Lies About Going Mobile You've heard about the power of mobile to change your business. But have you realized your mobile potential? It's about much more than...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more