Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (55%)
The natural evolution of Post-PC
Jason Perlow: Whether you are an adherent to developing for or an evangelist for Apple, Google, Microsoft's or Canonical's mobile operating systems, I believe that the basic concepts Mark Shuttleworth is championing with his crowd-funded "Edge" smartphone are fundamentally universal to the future of computing.
Specifically, I am referring to the fact that Shuttleworth believes that the smartphone of the future will be the single device at the center of the end-user's universe. In summary, it will act as a "brain" for the tablet, laptop, and even TV sets, which will simply be just modular display and peripheral extensions of the handheld device.
In the future, smartphones will contain the CPU, storage, and wireless connectivity "core" of the user experience, running on a unified mobile operating system — and in the case of the "Edge" should it achieve its super-ambitious funding targets, Ubuntu running on the ARM architecture. But it could very well and just as easily end up running on an operating system created by the usual suspects, even if the Edge never sees the light of day.
Instead of carrying three devices — a smartphone, tablet, and laptop, all of which would have discrete storage and memory, and would have to be independently managed — the user would just carry the smartphone and have attachable modules, such as a tablet screen, a large high-definition display, a detachable keyboard and wireless human interface devices that the smartphone would plug into or communicate with. That, along with seamless integration with Cloud-based services, is where I see the future of personal computing truly heading.
No one needs a device like this
Matt Baxter-Reynolds: In his video introduction to Ubuntu Edge, Mark Shuttleworth says that "convergence is the future of computing". What Ubuntu Edge is trying to do is *converge* two worlds -- PC and post-PC -- into a single device. (Yes, although it runs Linux, it's still a PC. It's just not a PC that runs Windows.)
First problem here, PC and post-PC devices are used for, and are good at, very different things. PCs are very good at focused work activities. Post-PC devices, like smartphones, are very good at being in the background, always available, always connected, ready to connect you into your digital life on a whim.
What Shuttleworth is actual describing here is "hybridity". Hybridity just means "mixing things". Sometimes, hybridity experiments result in valuable convergence. A great example is the camera phone.
But in more cases than not in our industry, hybridity does not create convergence, it just creates weird mishmashes of technology solutions looking for problems to solve.
Ubuntu Edge is just one destined-for-failure hybridity experiment that will forever be a cool solution looking for a problem. No one needs a device like this -- there is no problem it solves.