I gave my 13 year old nephew an iPod Touch for Christmas. It's the perfect gift for a young man, it does almost everything on the Internet he wants to do. Email, Facebook, Youtube, web browsing, SMS (via WiFi), maps, games. And while it's not a phone (at least, without Skype), it's also not a device requiring a $90/month service plan for AT&T cell phone service that doesn't work anyway. Really the only thing it's missing is a camera, which if rumour is to be believed was a last minute omission.

Here's the thing: thanks to the iPhone and the iPod touch we are now in the post-laptop era. There's no need for a big awkward computer anymore for being an Internet citizen. Yes, the screen is tiny. And yes, the keyboard isn't great for long text entry. But those are remarkably minor tradeoffs considering what you get in a pocket size device. I wanted my nephew to become more active on the Internet, more involved, and I think with the Touch in his pocket he's pretty well along the way.

My one caveat about this post-laptop world is that so far it's dominated by a single manufacturer, Apple. Blackberries aren't complete enough, Palm is irrelevant, and Android isn't quite ready yet. Apple is doing a very good job with the platform so far, but I'll feel better when there's more competition. I have high hopes for Google and Android chipping away at market, and at this point I can't help but wonder if tablet and hiptop computers are more relevant than cell phones.

  2009-12-31 18:45 Z