It was not long ago, nor was it in a galaxy far, far away, that computers were rare. Few people had them in their homes and those who did pay extremely high prices for them. This started changing in the mid-1980s when Microsoft first released Windows. Sure, computers were still expensive, but they started making inroads into both businesses and homes. By the mid-1990s, computer prices were coming down, and they are becoming too pretty common, but still had limited functions in the home. People played games on them, some joined bulletin boards, and others were even beginning to get connected using the “internet” using tools like America Online and Compuserve. While all this was great, there were still some drawbacks.
First, they did not do a whole lot to help foster better communication, and you could not use them outside of the home; they were stationary islands of information. Today, as you are well aware, most people in the United States have their own computer and access to the internet. We send email and documents, create blogs and websites and chat with others on the internet using instant messaging. Computers themselves have also gone mobile, with self-contained power, monitors and components all wrapped up in a small package, often called a laptop or notebook computer.
The funny thing about this is, while computers have become more communication devices, phones have had a similar, yet very opposite evolution. As you probably well remember, it was not too long ago, that phones were all very local devices. I will not go into the history of phones, as that is pretty well documented. However, in the same time frame as the short history of computers, phones have gone from corded to cordless, to “cellular”, and now they have become “Smart”. Smartphones are basically small computers, designed to sit in your pocket and be an all-around communication device for you. You can send email, post on blogs, read websites, listen to music, chat with friends, and even do basic computing functions previously the sole responsibility of computers.
Today’s smartphones have more processing power, speed and memory than full desktop computers did just a decade ago, making them very functional computers in their own right. They are cheaper than computers, and help you stay connected wherever you are, and even help you find where you are going!
Today, smartphones complete computers, acting as our computer while we are away and syncing with it when we return. How long will it take, for those phones to become our computers, and turn computers as we know them today into some forgotten technology used a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away?