IT Service Management

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These days the Wall Street Journal reads like a bad episode of Sesame Street. Turns out today's must-have gadget is brought to us by the letter 'G', as in T-Mobile's 'G1' gPhone. The perennial second-tier carrier ushered in the Android era with a device (manufactured by Taiwan's HTC) that is (gasp!) eerily similar to last year's iPhone and has all the features we've come to expect in a swiss army phone: WiFi, GPS, QWERTY keyboard, touch-screen, accelerometer, and, oh yeah - a phone.

What I found most notable had nothing to do with the features. It was the (carefully-scripted) way wunderkind Google co-founders Larry and Sergey introduced it (paraphrased here): "finally, a handheld device with the power to do the things we grew up doing on computers." The gPhone's geek-cred comes not from the fact that it's a cool smartphone but from the fact that it's a cool computer. Mark the date: data capabilities have officially trumped voice capabilities.

Twenty years ago Nintendo launched the age of wireless data with its brick of a handheld game console, the Gameboy. Ten years ago Motorola launched the age of mobile voice with its StarTAC. They finally converged. Chris O'Brien, columnist for the Mercury News, writes: "when I came to Silicon Valley in 1999, the refrain at mobile trade shows was always the same: "Next year is going to be the year when the mobile Internet becomes huge!" That next year never seemed to come. Until now. The mobile web is here, and it's huge." The incredible thing is it's "huge" and barely anyone's using it. Just imagine what happens when that changes.

In 1998, Interactive Home magazine coined the term "third screen" to refer to something other than your TV or PC. In recent years, the moniker has been co-opted by the mobile industry to refer to mobile devices. As we trek through the alphabet and creep ever-closer to the holy grail of handhelds that are *better* than PCs, the days of the first and second screens as we know them are numbered.

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It's amazing what I.T. was meant to be.