by Thomas Wailgum

Mobile Technology: Are the Laptop’s Days Numbered?

Dec 01, 20052 mins

IT analysts have predicted the end of the desktop, when laptops would become the computing standard for mobile workers and cube-dwellers alike. But with advancements in converged devices (which combine wireless phone, PDA and applications such as e-mail), it’s not a stretch to imagine the death of the laptop as well.

“In three years, more people are going to be using smart phone devices than laptops in some cases,” says Richard LeVine, an expert in mobile device security with Accenture.

In the 1990s, laptops were a status symbol for executives. But CIOs report they are replacing laptops for executives and salespeople with converged devices. While vacationing, Joe Kraus, senior VP and CIO of Intelsat, talks on his Treo 600. Kraus can also send and receive e-mail, and manage his calendar without needing a hardwired connection for a laptop.

But the small devices do have limitations. “Did you ever try to type a long message on one of these?!” Kraus writes in an e-mail. Many heavy-duty applications will always require a laptop’s functionality.

Laptop makers say they’re not worried. “Notebooks and handhelds are optimized to do different things,” says Carol Hess-Nickels, Hewlett-Packard’s director of business notebook marketing.

Meanwhile, technology marches on. To learn about how to manage mobile devices, turn to “Mastering Mobile Madness,” on Page 74.