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Global Conference 2008 | You <i>Can</i> Take It With You: Are Mobile Devices Replacing the PC?
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Panel Detail:

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

You Can Take It With You: Are Mobile Devices Replacing the PC?

Rama Shukla of Intel (left) and Mike Yuen of Qualcomm debate the future of mobile devices.

Ernest Wilson III, Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at USC and the moderator for the panel, opened the discussion reminding the audience of the "dinosaur age" when people had desktops, not yet laptops, and were essentially chained to their desks. The advent of laptops began the age of mobility, and the trend accelerated with the introduction of the modem and then wireless Internet. But today's generation of phones and mobile devices will usher us into yet another era.

The panel consisted of five gentlemen, each with a specific (and often adamant) view as to the superiority of certain products and approaches for taking the world mobile.

Rama Shukla of Intel helped to frame the discussion, referring to it as an "old debate" ("are we trying to shrink the PC into a phone or make the phone grow up into a PC?"). Most on the panel thought the mobile phone is growing up. Mike Yuen of Qualcomm pointed out that "the cell phone is the most ubiquitous electronic device in the world." Doug Britt of Helio added that when it came to entering the digital information age, "the starting point in Asia and Africa was the mobile device, not the PC."

Mark Collins of AT&T Mobility spoke of the "limitless" possibilities for handheld devices and said we are at the dawn of a new industry. However, Collins admitted "there are certain things you can't do on a device the size of a business card because of the size of human hands, battery life and screen size." But perhaps Americans are a little spoiled. David Steinberg of CAIVIS Acquisitions Corp. pointed out that "in America we grew with 15 inch monitors . . . in Asia, they didn't." While the handheld mobile device is a supplement to the personal computer for most Americans, the handheld is the primary device for many Asians. Because of this, the two markets are developing quite differently.

"Ubiquity" was the word of the day. Several panelists spoke of traveling to Asia and seeing people operate not just one but sometimes two or three mobile devices at the same time. Britt shared his personal experience of buying a $2 slushie from a vendor in Korea who was watching TV on one mobile phone and texting on another. Still, Shukla maintained that if given the option, a taxi driver in Asia would still prefer to pull over and use an Internet café, if one were available. But the rest of the panel disagreed — not surprising on a panel full of spirited debate.


Douglas Britt, Vice President, Content and Messaging, Helio

Mark Collins, Vice President, Consumer Data, AT&T Mobility

Rama Shukla, Vice President, Mobility Group and Director of Platform Program Office, Intel Corporation

David Steinberg, Founder and CEO, CAIVIS Acquisition Corp.

Mike Yuen, Senior Director, Gaming, Qualcomm


Ernest Wilson III, Dean, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California

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