Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The "iPod' Laptop?

Español | Deutsche | Français | Italiano | Português

Every once in a while, things pop up in the news, tehcie types of things, that makes the old crystal ball start glowing. This being the first of the year, the Computerist watches the news for innovations that gives birth to ideas of what the future holds for us.

We just read that Samsung has announced the development of 16 GB (GigaByte) Flash Chips. Flash chips are persistent memory devices that can take the place of hard drive components. The only limitation, up to now, is that the capacity has been 2 GB or less per chip. The Apple Nano iPod uses 16 of the 2 GB chips to store the songs and such instead of a mini hard drive like the older and bulkier iPods of the past.

Read Me

So, what does this mean? Plenty! Samsung went further to say that they are developing a laptop computer the will have no moving parts, other than the keyboard, but will have 40 GB of system storage. No hard drive! It means we will not have to be worried so much about knocking the laptop around and damaging the hard drive and that, since there are no moving parts to wear out, the laptop can be relied upon to work for a long time. They weigh less so the laptop will not drag your arm to the ground. .Plus, since the chips fit in a much smaller space, the physical size of the system will depend on the human interface things like the screen and keyboard. As far as battery life is concerned, a flash chip does not require as much power to operate as a hard drive so the operating time per battery charge should be much longer as well.

To take this a step further is not too difficult. What about the Desktop systems? The impact on the desktop arena is already being felt. Thumb Drives that plug in to the USB port of a computer system are already being used for a wide variety of purposes. Everything from a portable file system to actually having a bootable operating system installed. There has even been talk of some folks actually installing Windows on a Thumb drive and running a system with it.

The biggest change will be in physical size. Systems will be smaller, faster, and less expensive. All good things. The pricing may start out high, but if the past has shown us anything, it is that pricing drops significantly after time passes.

Some computer vendors have already unveiled their ideas of the future. One was to have a ‘component’ computer much like the stereo systems of the past. Each major component group would be in a book shaped container and would snap together like Lego blocks. Assembled, the computer would sit on a bookshelf and appear like a set of books.

I think this year is going to be interesting.