I am reading an interesting factoid today over on Alley Insider's, Business Insider. The chart talks about why Dell, Microsoft and others are making a push into the Smartphone market (see my July post on the 'bigger picture').
While the article is correct in pointing to the fact that the Smart phone market will eclipse PC sales in the next few years it misses a much bigger point in my opinion. Not only will Smart phones eclipse PCs (and Laptops) in sales, they will BECOME our next generation of PCs & Laptops.
That means that should Dell et al not be in the Smart phone market, they will be gone in 10 years. Be open minded here, as there is a convergence of technological trends that support this thesis. There is Moore's law (Think faster, cheaper but mostly smaller). There is the advent of 4G and 'Next Gen' wireless networks - eventually able to transport Terabytes of High Definition content wirelessly.
So within 10 years, I expect that as I enter (as examples) my car, or my living room - a dumb terminal or dock will 'talk' to my Smart phone, which will get its content via the Internet. This will be a very disruptive confluence with major implications. As all my content gets streamed via the Internet, it will no longer just be about CBS, NBC, ABC and cable stations such as CNBC - but it will also be about Stocktwits.TV. Since my new pipe will be the Internet itself, this will post a major threat to the Cable companies themselves. After all, if I have a wireless broadband pipe, why would I need to be tethered via Coax? For my home computer (or business), I simply need have my smartphone within range of a monitor, and keyboard - and I have everything I need that used to require a Desktop PC.
Skeptical? We're already starting to see the beginnings of disruptive technologies that a few years ago didn't even exist. Take for example an Apple Itouch (NOT the IPhone mind you, but the ITouch). By combining an ITouch with Skype software, and a wireless service such as MiFi, one no longer needs a cellular phone service, nor a cellphone.
Companies like TomTom recognize this disruption, and have already begun to 'eat there own lunch. It was just a few brief years ago that TomTom went public, and was a huge success selling GPS hardware. This year almost the entirety of their growth and future revenue will come from a software application that runs their GPS on an Iphone platform.
Keep your eyes open as technology moves forward, for every year it moves forward faster. The resulting convergences are ever increasingly revolutionary, not just evolutionary. If as a business (or investor that needs to watch this) you don't eat your own lunch, someone else will.
You can discuss this further with me here - I am @A_F on Twitter.