In an interesting post over at GigaOM, Stacey Higginbotham notes that at the SXSW conference this year, there were far fewer notebooks on display and, correspondingly, a much larger number of people were using smartphones to stay connected.
This certainly tallies with my experience since owning an iPhone, in that I’m far more likely to only tote my phone and not bring my laptop if all I need to do is keep an eye on emails and a few feeds. While at a conference, especially, I’d far rather not be lugging around a notebook when I can keep up to date via email, Twitter and RSS on my phone. Having to carry it around all day is one thing, but also the point of a conference, for me, is to get out and connect with people, something that’s much harder to do if I’m stuck behind my notebook screen, tapping away.
Unfortunately, I can’t use my iPhone as a general-purpose mobile device for doing “real” work: the screen is too small and the keyboard is inadequate for large amounts of typing. So I’m not ready to drop my notebook altogether just yet. But in situations where all I need to do is stay up to date, answer a few emails or maybe catch up on a little reading (via the excellent Instapaper app for the iPhone), say while on a train journey or at a conference, it’s great to be free of having to lug my notebook everywhere — something that I couldn’t have imagined just a couple of short years ago. Maybe in a few years smartphones will have gotten so good that I won’t need to bring a notebook with me at all.
Have you noticed that better smartphones mean that you don’t need to carry your notebook with you as much?