2015 tech prediction: A smartphone-PC marriage

In recent years, smartphones have become ever more capable, taking on new tasks and destroying whole markets for other single-purpose devices in the process.

The devices have already supplanted cell phones, music players, GPS devices, portable game machines and point-and-shoot cameras. Could PCs be next?

The idea isn’t as outlandish as you might think. The power of smartphone processors has advanced rapidly and steadily. Tablets, which typically have similar processors and operating systems, have been used as quasi-laptops for years. And over the last decade, companies such as Palm and Motorola have developed “dumb” laptops that are basically powered by connected smartphones.

Those experiments haven’t fared well in the market. But I don’t think that will stop companies from trying again. It just makes too much sense that the most personal device we own — which already has a powerful processor, built-in connectivity, a wide range of apps and can rely on the computers in the Cloud for heavy-duty processing tasks — will take on yet another function.

So I think this year we’ll see some renewed experimentation in smartphone-powered “PCs,” whether in the form of docks that would allow you to connect them to external monitors and keyboards in the office or in the form of new “dumb” laptops. If and when someone figures out how to make the hardware and software appealing, that will be one less device we have to own or carry around.

Photo: Motorola’s Atrix smartphone being plugged into its laptop-like dock. (Associated Press file photo.)


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  • Harold West

    Phablets are already here.