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    Just what is a smartphone in 2016 and is that concept evolving? The word "phone" may carry with it a legacy that is becoming increasingly archaic. Will these devices be the next PC?
    I am a huge science-fiction fan. As such I have "seen" worlds where technology and humanity collide in such intricate ways that attempts to discern where one ends, and the other begins is often an exercise in futility. It is the realm of human imagination that brought us the worlds of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek, Dan Simmons Hyperion, Arthur C. Clark's 2001, Isaac Asimov's Foundations series or the infinite worlds of an exhaustive list of other visionaries. This realm of boundless imagination is the same place of human consciousness that has plucked elements from those worlds and planted them firmly in the concrete reality in which we live.
    Indeed, science fiction has often been the "prophetic" musings of individuals who, before their time, envisioned significant technological advances. They then took pen to paper and articulated how these advances would integrate within, alter and even direct social norms, culture, society, health care, politics, communication and even war. As such much of the technology we use today appeared years earlier in the annals of science fiction.
    Take cell phones for instance. The flip phones that we began discarding in 2007 for more advanced smartphones are a realization of the remarkably similar communicators from the 1960's Star Trek series. Moreover, those slate styled tablets that began filling the consumer space after the introduction of the iPad in 2010 were foreshadowed in the second installment, The Next Generation, of that same series in 1987.

    We are not quite at the cybernetic, forearm-implanted smart devices of Robert Sawyers Neanderthal Parallax that are persistently connected, know us, monitor our health and act proactively in our favor. But the "smartphones", as we call them, that do perform those functions (and more) are simply highly personal smaller versions of the "tablets" that were foreshadowed in Star Trek the Next Generation thirty years ago.

    We have grown quite comfortable in calling these particular slate computers that act as a portal and helm to our digital lives "phones." Given their origin and the fact that telephony is among the primary functions of these devices, this is understandable. But the truth of the matter is that the devices that we carry with us daily on which we perform a broad range of complex computing and which act as an extension of our physical selves into the digital world are no more phones than the Star Ship Enterprise is a yacht.

    Full story from the WindowsCentral blog...
    04-10-2016 10:30 AM

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