Smartphones are getting smarter all the time. The newest ones not only have cameras, audio recorders and music players, but also WiFi, GPS mapping, and a full suite of office software. Add a foldable keyboard and you’re in business. But are smartphones really ready to replace laptop computers? Maybe for some people but not for journalists, writes Clyde Bently on MediaShift.
I found that to effectively replace a laptop with the current crop of smartphones, a journalist needs the eyes of a 20-year old, the fingertips of an elf and the tenderness of a surgeon. Tiny is tiny, no matter how you look at it. I couldn’t get the knack of quickly switching to audio recorder, photographing a poorly-lit subject on the go and texting the office while walking out of the meeting.
The biggest problem, he says, was that the smartphone he tested wasn’t rugged enough to stand up to the abuse journalists dish out. He tested a Nokia N95 by sticking it in his pocket and scrambling down a hill. When he got to the bottom, the phone’s screen was shattered. Bently says he’s still convinced that computing in the future will be pocket-sized. “But journalists will need fast, Hummer-tough units accessible to 50-something eyes and fingers. There is not much of a market for that yet.”