i am a long-time avid technologist. i began my tech career in the Apple world but moved to Enterprise Solutions later.
The future is always coming
As promised in my second futurist posting, I will try to do this monthly, if not bi-monthly. It takes longer to produce one of these articles than to produce my blogs. Today we are going to take a look at how things get started. Once upon a time, there was a need in the world for a box, but there were no boxes. If you think about it, someone looked at the problem: how do I move things safely from one location to another and decide if the blocks or course then they had to sit at their kitchen table and say what a box is? I'm sure it was an interesting conversation between themselves and family members. What is it you are doing? I've invented a six-sided object with a hollow interior designed to carry or move something—the bigger the object you are shipping or carrying, the bigger the box.
The authors note; that it is illegal to ship cinderblocks in a box across the state of Utah.
After the prototype box appeared, I'm sure everybody made fun of the person that created the box. I can hear them say we don't need any stinking boxes. The reality is we all needed boxes of answers. When packages with a smile arrive at the front door, it means Amazon sent you something! But the reality of parcels isn't that you're getting something. Or that you're giving something, or that you're carrying something. The box is a ubiquitous storage system today. The lowly box dripped up many years ago by someone sitting at a kitchen table. Or possibly can, or maybe on top of a mountain, all who knows. The point is, at some point, somebody thought it up. But if we look at the box's evolution as a packing system, it is unique and interesting because you see the box produce a tracking number. And tracking numbers change shipping and delivery in the world forever, yes, and it's time the box was a mega invention. But an interesting reality is the market created by the box created another mega innovation, that tracking label.
So there is a rationale for the conversation about the box. That has to do with the conversation that will start pretty soon about the capacity of networks. I talked about 5G in my last futurist column today. I want to talk a little about not 5G as a game-changer but the change to your cellphone. When I started traveling the world in 1999, I carried a 12 pounds laptop with me everywhere I went. After about five years, it felt like the laptop fused to my shoulder. My shoulder still hurts to this day. The evolution from the box to the tracking label was fairly slow. The changes that will be 5g will be fast. The change will be people going to be from laptop tablets and desktop cell phones. I'm sure most people reading this will think I'd rather carry just a cell phone. But my cell phone can't do everything my laptop can do. In reality, that's true to a degree. It is also not true to a degree.
When a box is more than a box
I created the first draft of this article using Dragon Dictate. Dragon Dictate is a cellphone-based voice capture program. It is leveraging 5G; it automatically converts my voice into text. I used Dragon dictate before 5G appeared in my area and worked on 4G LTE. It allowed me to go out and walk and write my future blogs. You have to do a little more editing sometimes when you speak; I know about you, but I don't always speak in complete sentences; I have many shortcuts and things that I don't always say aloud. I probably should say them out loud, but I don't.
Not one of the things that I want to be crisp about in this article is that I'm not saying all laptops, desktops, and tablets are going away. Other than those specific social media, content creators and content creators normally require a little more special access to word, excel, and PowerPoint. So there will always be several people with laptops and desktop tablets. Several people will have a cell phone that they carry home and work. That cell phone will connect to a docking station at work. In a docking station at home, they will no longer have to have anything else. They won't be carrying 12-pound laptops through German customs. German customs back in early 2000 was the only customs group that made you start your laptop to prove to them it was a laptop. So will still have content creators with laptops and tablets and desktop units. But the number of content creators is less than you think. I know very few tick-tock creators that use the platform other than the cell phone. And while tick-tock is the hot property of the day, Instagram has been around for a while, and those two platforms are predominantly cell phone driven.
In returning to my original point, the evolution from laptop desktop tablet to cell phone only. But it's not going to happen overnight. But as I said, the capabilities in your hands with your cell phone are significantly greater than they were five years ago, and I cannot tell you how much greater they are than they were ten years ago. Honestly, believe that what you will find in the next 2 to 3 years is honestly more and more capability in that cell phone. If you look at the evolution of the Windows PC, from Windows 3.12 to Windows 10, I know there are a bunch of missing numbers between 3.1 and 10, but if you also look at the numeric system that they used in the past, it explains why there isn't a version 5 version 6 or version 9. But the reality isn't that. The reality is the features and functionality built into Windows. When I first loaded Windows 31 as an IT professional many years ago, I also had to load the hummingbird IP stack. Windows didn't come with an IP stack. The company where I worked used Novell, so we could get around not having an IP system, a DNS, etc., because we had Novell. That Windows 3 one box does 100 of a brand-new install of Windows 10 with nothing else added. Windows's capabilities have evolved rapidly in roughly 30 years, give or take between Windows 31 and Windows 10.
In the end fewer laptops and tablets as the cell phone takes over!
The cell phones are in the same boat; the cell phone exploded on the scene a little after the original Windows 31 PC, closer to the time of Windows 95 or Windows 98. Those original cell phones were CDMA packet-based and did not include data. The voice degradation between towers was incredible, and you knew when you were close to a tower because your signal strength increased. Shortly after those CDMA phones hit the market, the first digital phones, or what we now call 1G1G into G, allowed for digital voice clarity on a cell phone; it meant that your cell phone, given variables, could have the same signal quality as your home phone. 3G brought the concept of data, and suddenly you could be in an airplane landing at an airport, and when the flight attendant said, hey, you can turn on your cell phones, you be downloading your mail. And the rest of you know the rest of the story, right, there was a time when cell phones didn't have GPS, and there was a time when cell phones didn't have cameras. There was a time before the Apple iTunes Store when most cell phone applications cost the same as a desktop applications 1999 2999 and so on.
Here's where my analogy breaks down. It changed when the box 1st started having the tracking number assigned to it. Now you knew where your box was at all times. What it didn't do was it didn't reduce the number of boxes. As shipping reliability and speed increased, I suspect you'll find that the number of boxes shipped also increased. And that's as I said; my analogy breaks down the reality I believe of the cell phone market because cell phones will replace laptops and tablets for most people, not everyone. But for most people. The functionality of the things you can do and the cell phone's capabilities have grown exponentially. I have a very nice Polycom speakerphone in my office that I have not used in more than three years. Why? I don't need it anymore. If my cell phone speakers are good enough, I can connect to a Bluetooth speaker in my office and listen to my conference call easily. The phone's capabilities have slowly but surely begun to replace almost everything. Now I still do the predominance of my email on a laptop. And I still do the predominance of my blogging on PC. But more and more content I create is being created on my cell phone.
So when people ask me what's next, I television your hand. That doesn't, by the way, excuse the less than delightful behavior of using your cell phone as a clock when you reach in your pocket and take your phone out to look at the time half the room once to wag a finger at your infamous no-no gesture. As we look down the road for the next two to five years, the concept of what's next, I believe, revolves around the cell phone. In part, that's because the cell phone continues to evolve. People use their cell phones to connect to and interact with us, more and more driven by the cell phone itself. Tick-tock, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and many more function on the cell phone as a tablet or desktop. I would argue that the tick-tock functions better on a cell phone because you already have integration with the camera. I suspect the reality of the future will be more and more and more assets that are cell phones first. That is always the point when the market shifts. When you reach that point where more new things come out for one device and fewer for the other, the new device takes over. Oh, there's always going to be PC applications for content creators. An intricate CAD diagram is incredibly hard to do on a cell phone. Now, if you connect your cell phone to a bigger screen, it becomes easier. The reality is for some content creation, the size of the screen in front of you is critical. As I said, content creators will continue using PCs, desktops, and look tablets.
I'll end this piece way I started by talking about boxes but ending with the following statement. The big evolution that 5G will bring in the next three to five years is a decrease in the overall market for tablets, laptops, and other computers.
Authors note: The future is not guaranteed. Any guesses made by this author are guesses. Sadly, the same is true for all in the futurist world. Nobody knows for sure!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2021 DocAndersen