Last month, I attended a talk by Research In Motion's
1. The arrival of the real personal computer
Pundits have been pontificating about the rise of the personal computer since the late 80's -- but how personal can a desktop computer truly be? Even a laptop still needs a bag to lug it around. With the rise of smartphones, consumers can finally have a real, personal computer.
While mobile data infrastructure is fairly mature in the U.S., amid incumbents such as AT&T
2. The phone becomes a sensor platform
It seems like only yesterday when my phone replaced my alarm clock. We've come a long way since then. The Apple
But maps and GPS were only the beginning. Dvorak sees a world in which smartphones can be loaded with all types of sensors, detecting altitude, air pressure, weather, ambient light, and environmental and biological factors, among many other types of data. Already, companies are working to bring this technology beyond the realm of science fiction. Small developer Artificial Life's roster of mobile apps currently includes a diabetes monitor for cell phones, enabling patients to monitor their blood sugar, blood pressure, and even physical activities.
3. Balancing network vs. local intelligence
Over the past 20 years, disk density, processor speed, and RAM density have all grown exponentially, while wireless speed and battery power have increased linearly. Increasingly, cell phone manufacturers such as Motorola
4. The worsening power gap
New tools and uses for your phone have expanded rapidly over the years, fueling equally steep power demands. However, battery power and battery technology have grown at a much slower rate. Witness the problems iPhone users have had with low battery life.
Several companies are finally beginning to focus on this conundrum. This past September, A123 Systems debuted on the market, providing investors a pure play on lithium-ion battery technology. A much more diversified bet would be Berkshire Hathaway
The growing smartphone industry provides many opportunities for knowledgeable investors. With any luck, you now have a few more ideas for where to begin looking.