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A smartphone retrospective

This is what high-end smartphones looked like in 2007:

Smartphones were an established consumer-electronics market with devices that people thought were pretty cool, but often frustrating and with serious shortcomings and design flaws.

Then this happened:

Other manufacturers had neglected touchscreens for years, but Apple figured out how to do a touchscreen well, and did.

Fans of the former types of smartphones and much of the tech press declared this smartphone useless or not capable enough because of its lack of a keyboard, its non-removable battery, its lack of expansion slots or ports, and other hardware features in which Apple chose differently from what most other manufacturers were doing.

That ended up not mattering. Now, most high-end smartphones look like this:


In early 2010, subcompact, inexpensive computers (a.k.a. “netbooks”) looked like this:

Netbooks were an established consumer-electronics market with devices that people thought were pretty cool, but often frustrating and with serious shortcomings and design flaws.

Then this happened:

Other manufacturers had neglected tablets for years, but Apple figured out how to do a tablet well, and did.

Fans of netbooks and much of the tech press declared this subcompact, inexpensive computer useless or not capable enough because of its lack of a keyboard, its non-removable battery, its lack of expansion slots or ports, and other hardware features in which Apple chose differently from what most other manufacturers were doing.

That ended up not mattering. And now, other manufacturers are scrambling to build tablet products as quickly as possible.

How do you think the subcompact, inexpensive computer category will look in three years?

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