Human beings tend to get hung up on looks. Whether it’s cars, buildings or other people, homo sapiens have a habit of associating form with function. But every now and then, through evolutionary and revolutionary steps, the shape and size of things change.
Some of the most obvious examples of drastic changes are found in the area of electronics. Radios, for example have shrunk over the last 75 years from the size of a small farm animal to a device that can be substantially smaller than a wristwatch. Computers, too, have become tinier. The ENIAC of the 1940s filled an entire room and sucked down massive amounts of electricity while today’s desktop and notebook models pack as much punch as their bulky predecessor at a fraction of its size or power consumption. According to George Gilder, editor of the Gilder Technology Report, the personal computer is getting even smaller and more portable–and much more feature-rich.
Cell phones that take pictures and crude video are no longer shocking, nor are handheld e-mail and computing devices like the BlackBerry from Research in Motion. But tying all of these functions together into one unit with the computing power of your desktop PC is still cutting-edge stuff. But Gilder says all of the components and companies are now in place to make the revolutionary step into the age of the “teleputer,” or a handheld device that’s a fully functioning personal computer, digital video camera, telephone, MP3 player and video player.
As more and more people begin to rely on these devices as their primary means of personal computing, Gilder believes there will be a vast realignment among makers of hardware, software and peripheral devices. We recently spoke with Gilder in New York City where he shared his vision and talked about the companies who stand to benefit.