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The Future Of The Very Personal Computer: Our Take

Market Analyst Horace Dediu from Asymco (opens in new tab) described this year's Consumer Electronic Show as the most exciting ever because it formally marked the end of the Wintel alliance, one that has defined the global consumer tech market for the last 20 years.

It also witnessed the first steps of the Very Personal Computer, or VPC, one which goes beyond the expectations of a personal computer by being customised and configured for one user only.

Smartphones are today's de facto VPC, although much will have to be done in order for them to become truly ubiquitous and finally kill off the traditional form factors like the desktop and laptop.

As we mentioned yesterday, ARM has been instrumental to this concept by allowing its partners to freely use its IP in whatever way they want - at least as long as they respect a few basic tenets. This is why ARM now has one of the richest tech ecosystems around with some of the biggest names in electronics on board.

So what's our vision for the VPC? It's one that hinges on life without wires. Syncing your phone, charging it or even docking it (like in the case of the Motorola Atrix 4G) still requires a defined physical interaction with your device, something that new wireless technologies will change over the next few years.

Wireless charging using coupled wireless power technologies that could one day be integrated on a phone's motherboard are already in the pipeline. Ultra low power wireless technologies like Bluetooth or Zigbee which can be used for handshaking and ultra fast no-wire ones like Wireless USB or Wi-Fi are ideal for data transfer.

One scenario could be that you leave your smartphone to charge on a docking station, equipped, for example, with Qualcomm's WiPower technology and syncing with your home network using Wi-Fi.

Jump on the train to work while commuting using a laptop "docking station", like the one used by the Atrix 4G, connected to the smartphone wirelessly with the latter also acting like a Mi-Fi base.

Once in the office, either charge your phone through the same wireless charging mat or furniture that is also powering your two large screen wireless USB monitors, your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

Science fiction? Well not really. USB monitors are widely available and more user friendly wireless technologies like Samsung's One Foot Connection and Intel's Wi-Di are about to break into the market.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.