Yesterday I was visited by one of the leading competitors to Intel in the processor chip field. We were discussing the iPad and its effect on computing and the future development of computers. He basically believes that chip technology is moving to the types of chips that we have in our cell phones, in other words ARM processors. These chips have powerful processing capabilities and very low energy consumption. Ten hour battery life in a portable computer will be common place in 1-2 years. Then my visitor pulled the rabbit out of his hat!
He showed me two tablet computers with a 7.9 inch touch screen, ARM processor, 1GB of RAM memory and 2 GB of Flash memory (i.e no hard drive). Just like the iPad, these computers are designed for cloud computing with all the storage on the web. All the applications were web-based. Current retail price in China US$ 100.00. If you improved screen resolution and increased Flash memory to 8 GB, the retail price would still be below $150.00. The most interesting thing about these tablet computers was the operating system--Android. Android is Google's operating system for cell phones. If you have not noticed, cell phones with Android are growing faster than the iPhone. Another feature of Android--it is completely open source.
I think Microsoft may be reaching the point where they need to call Lou Gerstner, the architect who developed a new strategy for IBM when mainframes became largely obsolete. Buying Google stock may also be a good bet.