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January 11, 2016

Yet Another 2016 Prediction

Filed under: Main — Tags: , — admin @ 12:01 am

Here’s another 2016 prediction, one that I should have thought of earlier, but it just occurred to me: Laptops will start coming with both GPS and mobile data network radios. The change makes sense, and it might already be happening.

In a way, I kind-of predicted this move: I still believe that tablets aren’t going to find a permanent spot in the high-tech firmament. Their functions and usefulness will be absorbed by cell phones and the now-popular 2-in-1 laptops. The next logical step for the 2-in-1 laptop is to borrow the technology that they’re currently missing.

Laptops haven’t traditionally come with a GPS. The “where the hell am I?” technology is pretty exclusive to cell phone and tablets. Even so, have you noticed how many websites now want to know your location? You see the prompt even if you’re using a desktop computer. I typically block the location, although I’m certain that based on my shopping habits and searches, that the Internet knows just about where my IP is located.

IP addresses are not handed out based on location, but instead based on who provides you Internet access. You can determine to some degree the location of an IP address, but the true location is interpolated based upon your actions and information monitored by advertisers and so on. This method is unreliable, however, because IP addresses used by consumers aren’t static; when you change provider or update your modem, the IP address changes.

Likewise, if you want to access the mobile data (cellular) network on your laptop, you would buy a cellular modem. Or you can tether your mobile data connection from your phone or tablet to the laptop. I discuss how in my Android For Dummies books.

With the proliferation of 2-in-1 tablets, however, I see a point in the near future when tossing in a GPS or cellular modem will be common for laptops. In fact, I remember back when a network adapter (NIC) was an add-on for a laptop. Eventually, like the dialup modem, the NIC became a standard part of a laptop’s hardware.

Like the original transition to wireless, it’s going to take some time for GPS and cellular modems to be built-in options for laptops. That date is rapidly approaching. When it comes, I think you’ll see a further dent in tablet sales. As I wrote in my predictions post, when Apple announces its 2-in-1 MacBook, that’s when you’ll really see movement in this direction.

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