2009’s Laptops = 2013’s Smartphones

Specs don’t tell the whole story about a device, but it’s important to note that the gap between the things we think of when we say “computer” and “smartphone” is getting smaller and smaller. It’s a bit of an “apples and oranges” comparison, but the specs of one of the pricier 2013 smartphones aren’t all that different from those of one of the pricer 2009 laptops:

2009 laptop vs 2013 smartphone

2009 Laptop
(HP Envy 13)
2013 Smartphone
(Samsung Galaxy S4)
Processors 1.6 GHz dual-core CPU
(Intel Core 2 Duo SU9600)
and DirectX 10-capable 16-core GPU
(ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330)
1.6 GHz quad-core CPU
(ARM Cortex-A15)
and DirectX 9_3-capable 3-core GPU
(PowerVR SGX544)
Active Memory 2GB DDR2 RAM 2GB LPDDR3 RAM
Storage 250GB 4500 RPM hard drive 16, 32 or 64GB solid state storage
Display 1600 * 900 1080 * 1920
  • Bluetooth
  • Ethernet
  • Wifi
  • Bluetooth
  • Cellular
  • Wifi
Powerful enough to run a proper and complete port of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City? Yes Yes

cubicles and computers

2009-era computers are the machines of choice for producing TPS reports.

We all know that a lot of today’s work is still done on computers with specs similar to the 2009-era laptop shown above. They’re used in offices, banks, airports, retail stores, factories, schools, and any place that has to produce TPS reports every day. Now imagine that computing power, but with these qualities:

  • One-tenth of the weight
  • One-third of the price, unsubsidized; one-sixth of the price when subsidized
  • Always connected to a network unless you’re out of the country or somewhere really remote
  • Functions as a decent still and video camera
  • Has built-in GPS
  • Fits in your pocket
  • Also functions as a phone

Whether you write apps for mobile devices or administer them for an organization, don’t think of them as just phones that happen to be able to run applications. That was the mistake made by Motorola, Nokia, RIM, and Palm — the top mobile vendors in 2006 and now the subject of “Where are they now?” conversations.


Think of them as computers that fit in your pocket and just happen to make phone calls.

5 replies on “2009’s Laptops = 2013’s Smartphones”

No, those failed vendors did not make that mistake. Palm started with the PalmPilot and only later added phone capability. And RIM started with email-only device and only later added phone capability. They failed for reasons specific to each.

Every time I got into an argument with my friends at Apple about how retarded it is to buy a computer where you can only get software from one store they would go on about how “It’s not a computer, it’s a phone, [that’s why you must be protected from dangerous porn and remote controls for your torrent client].”

This is why I think devices like the Ubuntu Edge will be the real technology game-changers in the next 2-3 years. I think if Android and iOS were able to do something like “when connected to an external screen larger than x offer a desktop environment.”

Imagine coming into work and plugging your “smartphone” into a monitor and working away. The cost savings on energy alone could be huge.

Is everybody forgetting ergonomics here? Are you saying that a workforce of 200 should sit at there desk working on a smartphone or tablet? The claims for eye, neck, back and brain injuries would go through the roof!

Don’t get me wrong I see the need and use for a mobile device but my god people have lost there minds over the situation!

Bicycles are lighter, cheaper, more versatile and better for then environment but that doesn’t mean we should replace all the trains, buses and planes with them!

I really believe desktop computing should move away from the x86 platforms and onto ARM powered boxes. Linux is already there, ports can be done in no time or are already done. How much electricity can be saved using something like this:—-Black-312807.html ?

The same monitors can be used, they same keyboard and mouse would be used. How hard can the switch from MS Office to Open Office really be?

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