Friday, March 10, 2017

Cellphone and laptops

A breathless story suggests that new phone company unlimited plans may make WiFi obsolete, and mean that coffee-shops may quit offering WiFi to customers. You've seen people turning a table into an office--will that be no more?

(If the headline is a question, the answer is no.) But never mind that, what are the tools used for?

When I look at what people around me are doing, the laptops are often used for "productivity:" emails, composing documents, looking at spreadsheets. Most of the phones and tablets are used for reading emails/facebook, playing games, and taking pictures/movies. It isn't easy to use the tiny screen to type on, and there's not much screen real estate for side-by-side comparison or cut and paste.

I've seen people watching movies on laptops (done it myself) and reading books on laptops (done it myself) and gotten work-related emails from somebody's cellphone, so there are plenty of exceptions, but by and large it looks like laptops in the coffee-shop are for production and cell phones are for consumption.

I suspect that there will still be enough people wanting to do something more than just read emails to keep the laptop and WiFi businesses afloat.

At least until somebody comes up with a robust folding screen and keyboard, and starts selling pocket-sized phones that unfold to give laptop-size screens.

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