I read this story about Paul Allen's mini computer Flipstart and instantly thought "that's really cool. I want one." I know tons of road warriors that want more than a Blackberry, but want it to both fit in their inside jacket pocket and connect easily to their keyboard and screen at the office. This device and others like it - namely the OQO -look to me like they will get serious traction.
Yes, I know, this is a design that's been tried before. But that that was before wifi and wireless broadband; before hard and flash drives that were tiny, capacious, and cheap; before they could be easily synced with cloud-based storage; before batteries that could run a 1ghz processor for more than a minute; and before 3-inch-square screens that you'd want to watch a movie on. Are cell phones and smart phones powerful enough to fill this gap? That's the prevailing view of gadget hounds. We'll have to see.
Either way, it made me think about the following: This must be what Google and Apple are working on together.
Everyone knows that Google and Apple have some kind of partnership up their sleeve beyond the iPhone. A mini computer - sans phone, with button keyboard - would be the perfect thing.
Apple would build the device and Google would handle everything else - email, online storage, online office software, feed reader etc. Apple has had .Mac for four years, but judging from its pricing, clearly doesn't see it as a core offering. Google on the other hand has already proven it can do a lot more than handle a zillions search queries a day with gmail, reader, picasa, earth, docs, spreadsheets and calendar.
I'd call it something like the iRocket and sell it for $399. Makes Allen's $2,000 Flipstart and the $1800 OQO look a little expensive - but then, watching that kind of competition is what makes writing about tech so much fun.
How about a sneak peak Eric? Steve?