Mark Cuban: Will Mobile Devices Replace Laptops?


imageIf you’ve read about Mark Cuban, chances are you know that he’s a poster guy for connectivity. (You know all the boilerplate, too: owner of the Dallas Mavericks; co-owner, 2929 Entertainment, HDNet, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres; co-founder of, etc.) Here’s Mark’s take on the potential for mobile devices replacing his laptop and desktop, reprinted with his permission from Blog Maverick. The punctuation is all his; the formatting is ours.

More after the jump

“I would love to be able to ditch my laptop and desktop and only have a single, pocket sized device. If I could carry my Sidekick or ITouch with me and when I set it on my desk, or even walk into a hotel room, it immediately makes a connection with my monitor or HDTV , my full size keyboard and either with a usb cable or wirelessly, lets me connect to a thumbdrive or some external hard drive. If by carrying this little device, a full computing environment could be recreated and I didnt feel like I was giving up something dumping my laptop and desktop, I would be its 1st lifetime customer. My digital and computing world would immediately be revolutionized.

With a 3G or 4G connection, I could dump my home internet connection. There would be no good reason to pay for wired broadband when wireless is doing the trick. No more desktop or laptop other than maybe to act as a fallback or backup to my mobile device. 90 pct of my applications are now web based and/or available to run on my Sidekick or ITouch already, so applications wouldn


Staci D. Kramer

@ Arthur Maybe you missed the part about being "immediately makes a connection with my monitor or HDTV , my full size keyboard and either with a usb cable or wirelessly, lets me connect to a thumbdrive or some external hard drive." I think that would answer your screen size and keyboard issues.


absolutely not

reasons why

screen size, too small for any graphic or visual / film editing

battery life, too short to maintain a server farm in your pocket

interface, inappropriate to use 2 thumbs when I have 10 fingers

CPU / Ram will always be more powerful and easier to cool in a desktop

again Cuban get's it WRONG

Mikko G.

The desired state is indeed appealing … however, I am not sure if I would want any of the current mobile operators to own the entire network for this to work.

I would pay the unsubsidized price for an open/unlocked phone with all the smarts to switch networks as necessary.

Point being, the eco-system and the rules of the game need to change to allow for this … perhaps, this should happen in advance of the technological advances.


I like James's vision of tablet-sized screen tethered to a smartphone. Ideally someone will be able to figure out how to make the screen variable sized for different situations and content (e.g. on a train versus in a hotel room). A mini projector could help with this.

There are already some interesting prototypes that have flexible displays that are rollable. See for example.

The other challenge is a keyboard. It will be hard to duplicate a good touch typing board that's portable. I've seen some keyboards that also depend on a projected image, but I can't imagine that they would be very easy to use. The tactile response of a keys needs to be mechanical.

Interesting stuff to imagine.


James Rodmell

Yes (and no). I think there will be a tablet-type “screen” (Netbook like) that will be tethered (or wirelessly) connected to your PDA/smartphone. The phone will be your gateway and data collector and the screen will be a smart screen (touch) that you can stick in a bag/pocket/case. It will be extremely durable and resistant.

We had a meeting last year with a guy on the board of SanDisk in Canada. He told us that they are looking to release a micro SD card that will hold 2 terabytes of data as soon as 2011. I don’t know how many full HD movies that is but with that size of storage available why would you use anything else (for you videos from Blockbuster, news reports etc.) But, who is going to want to watch Batman on a 5inx2in screen?

Combine that with distributed software/storage available with cloud technology and who need a laptop?

What we need is a portable viewing platform (that can project?) to tether to our phones and then our laptops will be for the cottage and the PC will only be around for your mum, when she’s over and wants to collect her email (email… what’s that?)

JMHO – James


Not asked, however a device that match all the features of G1-N8x0-Treo650-N82 at their best running Android and upgradable (like a pc/ram/cpu/etc) would both replace my laptop/desktop and walk all over the rest, at a reasonable price…

No one device currently "does it all" (wifi/bluetooth/3G/web/video/etc) yet each of these has almost everything and seems like one single device, NO larger No smaller screen than the N8x0 would not be very hard to make, however, the run away business model of selling new devices would stop and be replaced by "VALUE" and "SERVICE" lowering cost of CS as only one device not Hundreds yearly that CS can not keep up with. Yes, profit model would shift from "costly new devices, we have almost reached the "improvement" model needed to keep progress growing and might even improve under this model of "one device that does it all" much like the CPM to PC/Mac, different companies making the same platform not hundreds of different devices…"it is standardization…silly…."

A voice GPS (TomTom), tons of applications, 3G/4G/(5G-dreaming), Open, fast, easy to see in daylight, easy to use, easy to manage, ROOT, 2-12GB ROM, 4-32GB Main Memory, Slot for larges card – no 2GB, 4GB…64GB limit rather unlimited, 3.5mm (@HTC port speeds), FAST CPU, Video-webcam-music goes without saying, under $500 with a 2 yr = no bigger than the N8x0….

Tony Prylowski

This will definately be the way of the future, driven by higher screen resolutions primarily on Smartphones. It has become easy to view content such as Documents and Spreadsheets on these devices. We at ExSafe firmly believe that Office content should be available for viewing or modification anytime anywhere, this is one of the last pieces of the jigsaw in being able to dispense with carrying laptops to meetings, your office in your pocket




I wouldn't be surprised if it does.Technology is changing every second.I wouldn't mind buying some thing that is the size of my palm and can perform computations of my laptop back at home.

Jamie Poitra

It would be great to have something iPhone sized that could replace my need for a laptop. I do agree that that day is coming but we are a ways off from that as a complete solution I think.

That said, already I find I don't carry my laptop around nearly as much as I used to.

The browser and email on my iPhone are both good enough that I can stay fairly connected without the laptop which my shoulder appreciates a lot. For some of us though our work requires a powerful enough machine that something iPhone sized just isn't going to cut it for our real work.


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