iPhone apps, nanolaptops etc

Jobs said recently that the iPhone will support “some sort of third party apps”, hinting it’s going to be widgets instead of compiled native or java applications. The problem with this is that there are no real applications written so far for their widget platform. There are over 1000 widgets for Mac OS X and 99% of them are toys. I see no spreadsheets, word processors or gfx manipulation apps written for the widget platform, even if it’s possible to write such apps with Javascript. Now, someone would argue that “a phone is not a desktop”, but that would be very short-sighted.

As I wrote a few days ago, the world evolves toward miniaturized laptops that do almost as much as desktops do. That’s where the smartphone market goes to — the two markets will eventually merge. In 5-10 years from now “smartphones” would be evolved into these mini-laptops that run real operating systems in x86 (not ARM-based). VIA and Intel already announced such efforts, and if you put the Nokia N800 and the Palm Foleo into perspective, you can see where that market is going.

And this brings me to my next point. Desktop application developers must think small again so their apps work in these nanolaptops/phones. For example, there are a bunch of new apps released for Gnome that simply don’t fit in 800×600 anymore (e.g. the “About Me” pref panel). The cheaper bunch of these laptops won’t utilize higher resolutions or high CPU speeds, and so the current desktop apps must get well-optimized. Same goes for web sites too, of course: webmasters must stop thinking “too wide”.

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