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BLOG: Smartphone sales boom -- Who needs a laptop?

Jeff Bertolucci | Feb. 7, 2012
Will your next laptop be a smartphone? The idea isn't as crazy as it sounds. 

Solving the Little Screen Problem

The smartphone's biggest weakness as a laptop-replacement PC is its tiny display. Even "gigantic" phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note, with its 5.3-inch, 1280-by-800-pixel display, are tiny by laptop standards.

One possible solution: Built-in pico projectors that solve two ergonomic problems: small keyboards and screens. As demonstrated by the Mozilla Seabird concept phone, a projector-equipped handset could project a virtual keyboard on a tabletop, as well as a high-resolution image on a nearby wall. Motion controls could detect the user's keyboard-and-mouse actions. 

Smartphones with projectors are reportedly under development at Apple and elsewhere, but shipping models are hard to find. One example is the Samsung i8520 Beam, an $800 Android phone with a Texas Instruments DLP Pico Projector. (Two Fujitsu Lifebook laptops, the S761 and P771, have slide-out projectors as well). 

Pico projectors aren't ideal, however. What if there's no table, tray, or blank wall to project an image onto? And privacy concerns come into play. A laptop screen affords some degree of privacy, but a projected image is, well, out there for everyone to enjoy.   

You may be asking: What about tablets? Couldn't they replace laptops just as easily? Perhaps, but the issue of size remains with a tablet (some of them about the same dimensions as the sleekest notebooks). Smartphones, with their slim-and-light, pocket-friendly dimensions, are better suited in the long run to replacing the personal computer as we know it.     


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