Page Two

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2003-05-05 Print this article Print

"The wow for me is primarily form factor and weight. I assume sufficient speed, resolution and things like wireless, etc. Battery life is a so-so issue since Im usually by a plug. If I get a couple of hours, Im happy. I also like automation for updates," said Robert Rosen, CIO at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, in Bethesda, Md.

"In the past, you moved en masse to your next standard. Now, I think youll need a mobile/light standard, a tablet standard and a power-user standard," said Fran Rabuck, president of Rabuck Associates, in Philadelphia.

And joining a complaint Ive long had ... "I dont see why laptop vendors dont implement what Targus is going to release soon," said Carl Ashkin, CEO of the Darby Group Companies, in Westbury, N.Y. "They are about to release a Universal power supply that will take input power of AC 120-240 volt, 50/60 cycles, as well as DC 12-15 volt. This would allow for me to use one single power adapter in hotels, cars, planes, etc."

And three quick items from Kevin Wilson, product line manager for desktop hardware at Duke Energy, in Charlotte, N.C.: Much better support for digital flat panels, USB keyboards and wireless controls on the keyboard.

While features alone wont build a market, having the right features can provide a reason to champion an upgrade. Just low-balling the competition wont get you there. It didnt surprise me to see Toshiba doing so well in the recent IDG PC rankings. After a period of confusion, Toshiba has focused on laptop and mobile users, leading to double-digit growth over the past year. The companys now in the United States top five.

When I asked Oscar Koenders, vice president of product marketing for Toshiba America, what the next step is in laptop and mobile evolution, he noted he was returning my phone call via voice over IP from a PDA. The convergence of mobile computing and voice over IP has both the return on investment and wow factor needed to spur technology spending in these uncertain times.

Among the long-shot bets Id keep an eye on are smaller-form-factor boxes for the desktop, the aforementioned blade computers, and, yes, Linux-based desktops and laptops may find some traction in the corporation. But that traction wont come from selling speed or even lower price but from vendors proving their systems are indeed more reliable, flexible, safer and more efficient at both an operating and service level.

Since 1996, Eric Lundquist has been Editor in Chief of eWEEK, which includes domestic, international and online editions. As eWEEK's EIC, Lundquist oversees a staff of nearly 40 editors, reporters and Labs analysts covering product, services and companies in the high-technology community. He is a frequent speaker at industry gatherings and user events and sits on numerous advisory boards. Eric writes the popular weekly column, 'Up Front,' and he is a confidant of eWEEK's Spencer F. Katt gossip columnist.

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