Analysts have long predicted that converged devices like smartphones will replace PDAs, cell phones, and laptops. That prediction was repeated last week by yet another study describing a hockey-stick-like growth curve for smartphones.
As attractive as smartphones and other converged devices are, they are unlikely to become the sole device carried by many mobile workers. That's because there inevitably are sacrifices when you shrink the size of devices and increase the number of things they can do. It isn't to be writing a long e-mail message on a small communicator or pda.
As a result, many, if not most, road warriors will still need a laptop, even as converged devices replace cell phones and PDAs. That's why it might be more accurate to think of smartphones and the like as the devices that PDAs and cell phones should have been all along, instead of replacements for all other mobile devices. As such, they deserve to sell like hotcakes, particularly when prices come down and new capabilities, such as Wi-Fi and wireline access, are added.
More important, these new-generation devices push us closer to the dream of ubiquitous access to information. That dream may never be fully realized, but the closer we get, the more efficient and productive we become. That is the true value of converged devices, and it's why enterprises should take an increasingly close look at them.